The UNLV football team had two big question marks offensively heading into its opening game in Allegiant Stadium against Idaho State on Saturday, Aug. 27: who would start at quarterback and who would replace running back Charles Williams.
By halftime, both those questions were answered.
Doug Brumfield threw for 351 yards and four touchdown passes in the first half and Louisville transfer Aiden Robbins had two rushing touchdowns and another receiving as the Rebels jumped out to a 45-7 lead.
The final score was 52-21 as the Rebels opened their season 1-0 while the Bengals dropped to 0-1.
Rebels get off to fast start
UNLV opened the game at quarterback with Brumfield, who had been battling with Tennessee transfer Harrison Bailey for the starting spot. He led the team on an 11-play drive, capped by a 2-yard TD run from Robbins.
The Rebels extended the lead to 10-0 on a 39-yard Daniel Gutierrez field goal following a Tyler Vander Waal interception.
On the next series, however, the Bengals answered when Vander Waal connected with Jalen Johnson on a 55-yard touchdown pass to make the score 10-7 with 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
On their first drive in the second quarter, the Rebels drove 80 yards for another 2-yard touchdown run by Robbins to extend the UNLV lead to 17-7.
After an Idaho State punt, the Rebels extended their lead to 24-7 when Brumfield hit Michigan State transfer Ricky White from 72 yards.
The Rebels defense held the Bengals to a three-and-out and then blocked the Idaho State punt to take over at the 31-yard line. Two plays later the score was 31-7 after Brumfield hit Kyle Williams from 14 yards out.
Brumfield and White connected on their second TD pass of the game with 3:23 left in the first half to extend the lead to 38-7.
With 42 seconds left in the half, Robbins scored his third touchdown of the half on 7-yard reception from Brumfield. The Rebels led 45-7 going into halftime.
Second half sees changes
Bailey took over at quarterback for the Rebels in the second half, as did Courtney Reese for Robbins. Idaho State replaced its quarterback as well, switching from Vander Waal to sophomore Hunter Hays.
UNLV had scored on all seven of its first half possessions, but was forced to punt on its first two coming out of intermission.
After not gaining a first down through the entire second quarter, Idaho State drove its third possession of the second half 35 yards for a score, capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by Hays to cut the lead to 45-14 with 3:04 left in the third quarter.
UNLV didn’t score in the third quarter and turned the ball over on downs to end its first possession of the fourth quarter at the Idaho State 49. The Bengals cut the lead to 45-21 on a Hays 7-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Guillory with 10:54 left in the game.
Third-string quarterback Cameron Friel entered the game for the Rebels midway through the fourth quarter and led the team to a touchdown with 5:05 left in the game. The score came on a 14-yard pass to Zyell Griffin and stretched the lead to 52-21.