Photo Credit: Mountain West Conference

FSM Essential Recap – UNLV Rebels vs Fresno State Bulldogs

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UNLV faced off against Fresno State in a vital game in the Mountain West Conference that left the Rebels feeling upset after their 31-24 loss to the Bulldogs.

The UNLV Rebels took on the Fresno State Bulldogs on Saturday!

UNLV vs Fresno State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV Athletics

Saturday night, UNLV traveled to Fresno to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in a battle between two teams that had identical records of 6–1. If UNLV won, they would have a commanding lead in the Mountain West Conference. With a loss, they’d be tied and still looking up at Air Force Academy.

The Rebels are also riding a five-game winning streak heading into the game. Fresh off a last-minute come-from-behind victory last week over Colorado State to become bowl-eligible, the UNLV was looking for another monumental win. 

Fresno State, on the other hand, was coming off of a bye and a loss to Wyoming. They were looking to get back to winning way at the Rebels’ expense.

Fresno State also had added motivation with former UNLV offensive line coach and former Bulldogs head coaching legend Pat Hill being elected into the Fresno State Hall of Fame at halftime. The sellout crowd of over 41,000 Bulldogs fans were ready to welcome the Rebels to Valley Children’s Hospital Stadium and their former beloved head coach into the Hall of Fame. 

It was a must-see TV and a nationally televised game on FX1 with significant Mountain West Conference implications at stake.

UNLV lost to Fresno State on Saturday

UNLV had a third quarter that ws a house of horrors in Fresno, and still was in it until their final poossesion as the fell to the Bulldogs 31-24.

UNLV Rebels vs Fresno State was a close, tough game for both teams on Saturday.

UNLV vs Fresno State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV Athletics

The first quarter was a defensive battle. Fresno State seemed to have found an answer to the Go-Go Offense early on. The Bulldogs took a 7–0 lead when they scored on a 31-yard pass with 7:41 left in the first quarter.

Rebels answered back when Jayden Maiava hit Ricky White on a crossing route, and the star wide receiver did the rest. White took it 41 yards to pay dirt to tie the game at seven apiece with 2:20 left in the first quarter.

The reigning Mountain West Conference special teams player of the week, Jose Pizano, drilled a 30-yard field goal to give the Rebels a 10–7 lead early in the second quarter. Most of the to be a defensive battle, Rebels once again found payday when star freshman Jai’Den Thomas scored on the 4-yard rushing touchdown to give UNLV a 17–7 lead.

The Rebels led at the half, but the stadium was full of emotion when Pat Hill was shined in the Hall of Fame.

The third quarter was a house of horrors for UNLV. Any in everything that could go wrong did. There was an interception and missed opportunities, but what kicked it off was a fumble after the Rebel defense forced the Bulldogs to punt. 

Fresno State first capitalized on the Jacob De Jesus fumble with a touchdown to cut the Rebel lead to 17–14. Less than five minutes later, they took the lead on a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 21–17. After another Rebels turnover, Fresno State kicked the field goal to make it 24–17 with 2:23 left to go into the third quarter. 

Just before the start of the fourth quarter, Fresno State scored the 24th point of the quarter to take it 31–17 lead. The Rebels had some work to do to claw back in this game. And UNLV did that. Ricky White got his second touchdown pass of the day from Jayden Maiava to cut the weed to seven at 31–24. 

The score remained, but UNLV had one chance to tie the game with under one minute to go. The Rebels were unable to score and fell to Fresno State 31–24.

While there are no moral victories, Rebel fans can take solace in knowing that with that bad of a third quarter, where any and everything went wrong, they were still one touchdown away from tying the game.

UNLV was led by receiver Ricky White against Fresno State on Saturday.

UNLV outplayed Fresno State across the board, but the Rebels couldn’t overcome a slow start to the second half.

UNLV took on Fresno State at Valley Children’s Hospital Stadium on Saturday

UNLV vs Fresno State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV Athletics

Fresno State has now won six straight meetings against the Rebels. UNLV‘s defense did a great job against Fresno State’s running game, holding them to 56 net yards on the night. 

Once again, Ricky White had a stand-out performance. He caught ten balls for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Jayden Maiava threw for 268 yards on 21–35 passing. Jaxen Turner had his team-leading fourth interception, and Cam Oliver had a game-high 12 tackles and an interception to go along with a quarterback sack.

For Jai’Den Thomas, his eighth touchdown on the ground still leads the nation by a freshman and has now tied Armani Rogers for the most in school history by a freshman.

UNLV head coach Barry Odom was obviously frustrated after the loss. 

When he spoke to the media, he said, “We battled just enough to go have an opportunity to win it, and we came up short. It’s frustrating, obviously. Our team’s got to continue to learn from what we didn’t do well. Nobody feels sorry for us. We’ve got to get back to work. There will be a game in six-and-a-half short days, so we’ll make corrections and do everything we can to get our team back in the winner’s circle.”

The final score from Fresno was 31-24, Fresno State over UNLV.

UNLV will head to New Mexico to take on the New Mexico Lobos next Saturday. The kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m.

 

– Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on all social media: @JoeArrigoFSM

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