UNLV football fell 20-14 after failing to complete a comeback in a dramatic fourth quarter against California Saturday afternoon in Berkeley.
“We let that one get away,” head coach Marcus Arroyo told reporters after the loss. “We have a locker room full of guys right now that are disappointed because they wanted to finish that game, but we’ve got to capitalize versus quality opponents.”
After allowing 14 points in the first quarter, the Rebels’ defense only allowed two more field goals from the Golden Bears. They gave their offense five straight drives with an opportunity to take the lead, but the Rebels could not convert.
After an unsuccessful first drive by the Rebels, the Golden Bears came out firing, scoring in only six plays over three minutes with a rushing touchdown by running back Jaydn Ott from two yards out to take the early lead.
The Rebels continued to struggle on offense early. Everything UNLV’s offense tried against Cal’s defense failed, punting for the second time with only 2:08 of total possession time.
Cal did not hesitate to extend the lead, scoring another touchdown in a convincing fashion with quarterback Jack Plummer finding Ott for his second touchdown of the game on a 12-yard pass.
After the first two drives UNLV started to show some life.
With a four minute possession from the end of the first quarter to the beginning of the second quarter, UNLV scored with a 11 yard passing touchdown from quarterback Doug Brumfield to wide receiver Kyle Williams to bring the Rebels within seven.
Again the Golden Bears drove down the field against the Rebels defense. But this time the defense came away with a massive interception on the goal line by Cornerback Jarrae Williams, giving UNLV some much needed momentum.
However UNLV couldn’t capitalize on the turnover, being forced to punt the ball on fourth-and-1 from UNLV’s 24-yard line.
The rest of the second quarter ended up being a battle of defense and special teams.
Cal was the only team to score again in the first half, kicking a field goal after a four and a half minute drive with around two minutes left in the first half, extending the lead by 10.
Both teams punted on short possessions leading UNLV to take a knee and end the first half, going into the locker room with Cal leading 17-7.
The defense for UNLV stepped up in the second half.
Cal received the ball coming into the third quarter and scored a field goal to extend the lead to 20-7. However this would be the last time the Golden Bears would score this game.
UNLV answered back in only four plays to score in a convincing manner. Running back Aidan Robbins scored on a 31-yard rushing touchdown to bring the game back into reach, only being down 20-14.
The Rebels continued to capitalize on their newfound momentum as kicker Daniel Gutierrez recovered a well executed onside kick down the middle of the field.
UNLV couldn’t capitalize on the onside kick, turning the ball over after a 4-yard scramble by Doug Brumfield on fourth-and-7.
The Rebels couldn’t seem to find the ability to score, turning the ball over and punting the ball, after the defense forced Cal to punt in back-to-back possessions.
The only downside from the defense at this point in the game was penalty discipline. The Rebels gave up eight penalties for 105 yards with a majority of the penalties coming from pass interference.
Cal had one last chance to extend the lead, after a solid 20-yard drive, kicker Dario Longhetto missed a 43 yard field goal, giving the Rebels the ball on their own 25-yard line with 8:06 left in the game.
The Rebels ended a 13 play, five-and-a-half minute drive by turning the ball over on downs on 4th-and-goal to try and tie the game with 2:46 left in the 4th quarter.
UNLV failed to convert on third down and fourth down chances. The offense only converted on 1 of 12 third down possessions.
The UNLV’s defense gave the offense another chance by forcing Cal to punt with a minute left on the clock.
The offense couldn’t find the endzone with the last three plays in the game, as two sacks by Henry Ikahihifo and Myles Williams for Cal put UNLV in a hail mary situation. Time expired as Brumfield’s pass was intercepted by Isaiah Young.
The Rebels (1-1) return to Allegiant Stadium against the North Texas Mean Green Saturday Sept. 17 at noon. The game will be broadcast on the Silver State Sports & Entertainment Network and the UNLV student radio station, The Rebel HD-2.