Gary Kazanjian / AP
Saturday 2 October 2021 | 2 a.m
Eight days after posting their best performance of the season in a 38-30 loss to Fresno State, the still winless UNLV football team is back on the road, venturing into the Lone Star State to face UTSA at the Alamodome (3 p.m.). , ESPN +).
Three keys to watch out for:
The carousel of quarters continues
The last time UNLV had a quarterback in every game of a full season – no, Max Gilliam’s six games last year don’t count – was in 1996, when Jon Denton took the first. shot in the 12 games. This long, long streak of instability will continue this season, as the Scarlet and Gray have already used three different starting QBs. But they kind of took the carousel to the next level, as head coach Marcus Arroyo can’t even find a quarterback to play an entire game.
UNLV have used at least two assistants in every game this season, either through injury or inefficiency, and four different quarterbacks have seen the pitch. The best option was sophomore Doug Brumfield (17 of 39, 320 yards, two touchdowns, one interception), but recurring injuries knocked him out of both starts, including a knee problem that left him forced out of the Fresno State game. .
Brumfield hasn’t trained this week, handing over first-team reps to rookie Cameron Friel. If Friel makes the start at UTSA as planned, Arroyo will need to carefully craft his attacking game plan to capitalize on Friel’s strengths and limit his weaknesses.
Last week, Friel took over from Brumfield and had 9 of 15 passes for 138 yards, but he took four sacks. Getting the ball out quickly – and perhaps getting Friel through throughout the game – will be the top priority.
Execute the results of the game
For the second time in three weeks, the Scarlet and Gray take on one of the country’s elite defenses. Iowa State is ranked sixth nationally, allowing 2.3 yards per carry, and UNLV was completely pissed off in that Week 2 contest as their running backs gained just 49 yards in 23 races.
UTSA are equally strong up front, allowing 2.5 yards per carry, but there’s reason to believe UNLV might have a chance to move the ball to the ground. They had some success last week against Fresno State (another strong defensive team at 3.4 yards per carry), particularly senior Charles Williams, who had 102 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
The UNLV’s pass protection has been a mess all season, but the run blocking looked good in spurts. If they can open a few holes against UTSA’s forehead, that will take a lot of pressure off Friel.
Ball carriers in parade
For the fourth week in a row, the UNLV’s defensive front will be challenged by one of the country’s elite running backs. And so far the Scarlet and Gray have done a decent job of withstanding this onslaught.
Not a great job, mind you, but decent considering the opponents. It is first the back of Arizona State Rachaad White, who was somewhat held in check (22 races, 90 yards, two touchdowns). Then it was Iowa State’s Breece Hall, who had 100 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Last week, Fresno State star Ronnie Rivers added just 48 yards on 14 carries. Arroyo will probably take those numbers.
Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [emailÂ protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.