Fsm rebel vision
Graphic Credit: Mike Dancy II

UNLV Football Rebel Vision: UNLV vs. Hawaii- Week 7



This FSM series will follow the UNLV Football season from a coach’s perspective by FSM’s JaRon Turner. JaRon is an Arbor View High School alumni and former college football player who has coached high school football locally in Las Vegas for the past three seasons. This weekly segment will focus on crucial plays and factors of UNLV football games this season. This assessment will highlight plays that made a difference in the ball game, ranging from great individual effort plays, attitude runs, big hits, coaching adjustments, etc. Be sure to follow us for weekly film breakdowns throughout the 2020 season.

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With the college season winding down to a hectic conclusion, the 0-6 UNLV Rebels faced a 3-4 Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors team looking to find itself in a bowl game over the next coming weeks. With nothing but their pride and love for the game keeping them going, the Rebels suited up one last time this season. The outcome did not go in the Rebels’ favor, as the story of this season, losing 38-21. However, the Rebels showed a lot of grit and determination in defeat, playing hard and giving their all until the final whistle was blown. In this game, many saw only another disastrous loss, but looks can be deceiving.

It’s time for Rebel Vison!


Play No. 1: QB read and the run game during quarter one, 12:36 into the game.

Video Credit: Spectrum Sports

In the game against Wyoming two weeks ago, UNLV gave up just under 400 yards to the Wyoming offense, which lacked a true starting quarterback. Playing with their third-string Quarterback, the Cowboys focused on their rushing attack to try and make their way into the end zone. It worked and exposed a critical and unavoidable issue with the Rebel defense.

They cannot stop the run.

In almost any capacity, in other games: Nevada, San Jose, Fresno, UNLV found ways through the scheme to control the running game to stay in ball games. When they played Wyoming, and the Cowboys just gauged them on the run, a film like that spreads quickly. And for a team like Hawai’i, who is a notorious Air Raid team, who looks to throw the ball 40-50 times a game.

The UNR game shows them that trying to test the UNLV secondary will not ensure victory. Considering how well UNLV played late in the game and how close they kept the score. So Hawai’i would naturally look for more apparent weaknesses in the Rebel’s defense, input the film of UNLV versus Wyoming, and you get a winning recipe for the Rainbow Warriors.

In previous games, Hawai’i ran the ball 26, 36, and 35 times, so that was against San Jose State, Nevada, and Boise State, and the average yards per rush during that stretch was 3.7 yards a carry, which is a very average margin for a team to have in the run game. For a team that likes to pass a lot, that is very good because it keeps defenses honest and having to look out for the occasional run play.

Go to the game against UNLV; however, the Warriors average over six yards a carry and ran for season-high 278 yards as a team and for the only time this season ran for more yards than they threw for. This comes off the heels of play No. 1, which is the quarterback keeper. This is not a play by itself, but a play that works off another play. When the offense input zone reads, the quarterback is often given the option of keeping the ball. In Hawaii’s version of this, they create the playoff off the fly sweep.

In this play, a speedy receiver close to the formation runs fast or “flies” in front of the quarterback and is either given the ball, or the quarterback keeps it and runs behind blockers with open space in front of him to gain yards. Rainbow Warriors QB Chevan Cordeiro led the team with 12 carries and 88 yards in the running game; 54 yards of which came off of one play. This reinforced Hawaii’s coaching staff that UNLV could not stop their game plan and continued to run the ball—ending the game with 278 yards on 46 carries and scoring all five touchdowns on the ground.

Play No. 2: Playing four Quarters

Video Credit: Spectrum Sports

Hawai’i was up 21-0, essentially dominating most of the first half; the late touchdown by Max Gilliam to phenomenal freshman receiver Kyle Williams gave the rebels some kind of spark and kept them mentally in the game. But what stands out to me, as a coach, is that we know that our team isn’t playing the best. The opponent has found a weakness they will keep exploiting, and to top it all off, we are down 21-7. I’m going to go in the locker room and tell my team to keep fighting, we have nothing to lose, and maybe we can make something happened late in the game and pull it out. 

After that, it is about how the team responds, especially a team as young as UNLV who is playing mostly freshman (both redshirt and true) redshirt sophomores and juniors. In the second half, UNLV scored 14 points in the third quarter, matching a Rainbow Warrior touchdown drive with one of their own. They got an early interception and stalled a 14-play drive resulting in a missed field goal for Hawai’i and fought for the game’s duration.


Final Breakdown


Photo Credit: Marco Garcia/AP

The Hawai’i game in the final result was no different from any other game that UNLV has played this season. However, this has been repeated time and time about this young Rebel team. They have some fight in them, and they are scrappy, and they play hard and play until the last whistle is blown. There is something to say about that type of player passion, that even when the season is going down the drain, these players strap it up every week and go out there and play their butts off for their teammates.

This season fans have seen a lot of players dip in and out of the starting roster each week, which proves to the average fan that coach Arroyo is indeed trying to evaluate his team and see what he has in his program and what he need to get-acquire for his program to be successful in the future. 

UNLV is going to have to sure up what was supposed to be a very talented and respected offensive line, find more interior defensive linemen, and more explosive downhill linebackers to compliment Vic Viramontes and Ferrel Hester II, who may both return for next season. The Rebels have a future at quarterback, with Justin Rogers and Doug Brumfeld returning to play quarterback next season. There’s additionally a bright future at receiver with a player like Kyle Williams returning to dawn the scarlet and grey next season. Add on a recruiting class that is 64th in the nation and No. 2 in the Mountain West, UNLV has a legitimate chance to take the painful lessons of this winless season and start something special in 2021.UNLV Foo

Patience Las Vegas…patience


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