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FSM Recap: UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans – Game 14 – 2023

FSM UNLV Football Page

UNLV Rebels (9-3/6-2) | San Jose State Spartans (7-5/6-2)

 

The right to host Mountain West Conference title game was on the line in the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans game. The Rebels lost a tough one, 37-31 to the Spartans.

It was the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans on Saturday.

UNLV vs San Jose State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

On Saturday afternoon, it was the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans, and UNLV had an opportunity to secure hosting the Mountain West Conference championship game with a win against San Jose State. Could the Rebels cap off a magical regular season, or would they have to rely on a computer to tell them who they would be playing next week for the MWC title? 

With Boise State defeating Air Force on Friday, UNLV secured their spot in the title game. So the only question remaining was whether it would be Boise State or a rematch against San Jose State next week, and where would it be held?

It was senior day for UNLV, so the school honored 21 seniors on the roster in a pre-game ceremony. The Rebels welcomed back safety Jonathan Baldwin, who had been out for two weeks with a sprained MCL. 

Throughout the last few games, UNLV has had one quarter that has gotten away from them. It was the 3rd quarter against Fresno State and the 2nd quarter against Wyoming, but could they avoid that quarter of mistakes against the Spartans? Or if they did have it, told it cost them? 

With over 400 recruits and their families in attendance, the Rebels were ready to put on a show against the Spartans. 

UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans at Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas Sports news today from Las Vegas sports teams.

UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans – 1st Quarter:

It was the start of the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans first quarter. 

UNLV vs San Jose State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

San Jose State received the kickoff to start the game. Chevan Cordeiro hit Sam Olsen for a 56-yard touchdown pass on the Spartans’ opening drive. San Jose State had a 7–0 lead to a stunned crowd at Allegiant Stadium. 

The Spartans kicked off, and Jacob De Jesus, the Rebels’ outstanding kick returner, received the ball and started upfield, only to be hit and fumble the ball with San Jose State recovering. Seven plays later, the Spartans kicked a field goal to take an early 10-0 lead. 

After the Rebels punted the ball away, the Spartans went on an eight-play, 80-yard Drive that was capped off with a Kairee Robinson 25-yard touchdown run. The Spartans now let 17–0, and the crowd at the stadium was growing restless.

The Rebels got on the board for their first score of the day after Jai’Den Thomas capped off a six-play, 70-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. At the end of the first quarter, it was 17–7 San Jose State.

This was not the start UNLV had hoped for, and for the third straight week, they had a quarter of misery. This time, it put them in a hole, much like the Fresno State game 3rd quarter three weeks ago.

It was the end of the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans first quarter. 

UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans – 2nd Quarter:

The start of the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans second quarter. 

UNLV vs San Jose State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

Things settled in for UNLV in the second quarter. On the Spartans’ next possession, they drove 62 yards on 11 plays but were held to a 30-yard field goal to take a 20–7 lead.  

For the first time all season, or the first time in recent weeks, the Rebels offense struggled to move the ball. But the offense got going late in the second quarter, with three minutes and 33 seconds remaining. Rebels kicker Jose Pizano then kicked a 34-yard field goal to cut the lead at half to 20–10.

That’s what the score remained heading into halftime. UNLV had some work to do coming out of the half if they wanted a chance to host the conference championship game. 

UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans at Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas Sports news today from Las Vegas sports teams.

UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans – 3rd Quarter:

It was the start of the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans third quarter. 

UNLV vs SJSU | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels got the ball to start the second half and promptly drove four plays, 75 yards, and scored a touchdown, once again by Thomas; this time, it was from 3 yards out. That’s Thomas’ 11th touchdown of the season, adding to his UNLV freshman record. 

But the Spartans would answer right back with a six-play, 75-yard drive of their own. Cordeiro hit Isaac Jernagin for a 3-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 27–17. 

The Rebels defense, who was on the field a lot in the first half, adjusted nicely in the second half and started to force the Spartans into third and long situations. But SJSU found holes in the defense with Olsen, their tight end, on “banana routes” in the middle of the Rebels zone.

The Spartans would also add a field goal late in the third quarter to make it a 30–17 lead heading into the final frame.

It was the end of the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans third quarter. 

UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans – 4th Quarter:

The start of the UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans fourth quarter. 

UNLV vs San Jose State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Alon Sowell/Franchise Sports Media

Robinson scored another Spartans touchdown, this time from 40 yards out to make it a 37–17 lead. Some of the 25,544 fans in attendance decided they’d seen enough and started to leave. But if they knew anything about this Rebels team, they would know there’s no quit in them.

Thomas scored his third touchdown of the day for UNLV, this time from 2 yards out, capping off a 13-play, 70-yard drive to cut the lead to 37–24. 

The Rebels scored again; this time, they had to go 90 yards on eight plays, as Jayden Maiava hit Corey Thompson Jr. for his first-ever college touchdown, a 29-yard pass, to cut the Spartans’ lead to 37-31. 

UNLV got the ball with just under a minute left and got as close as midfield but could not convert on a fourth down and turn the ball over to San Jose State with six seconds left to seal their fate for the day. 

This is merely a bump in the road for UNLV, who still has shown they can compete with anyone. San Jose State was the hottest team in the conference entering the game, so this loss does not reflect UNLV choking because they didn’t. 

 

UNLV vs San Jose State | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels are still playing for the conference championship and will play in a bowl game. The program is trending in the right direction, and now UNLV fans can sit back, wait, and see who (Boise State or San Jose State) they will play next week.

All-America candidate receiver Ricky White III caught five passes for 111 yards to break a tie with Randy Gatewood (1993-94) and become the first Rebel player in history with five consecutive 100-yard receiving games.

After the game, Coach Odom talked to the media about the team and where they were mentally.

We haven’t been in this situation very many times this year, and that’s a good thing. Hate it for our team that we couldn’t get it done today and came up short. San Jose is a really good team; they are playing their best ball.

As a coaching staff, we hate it for our team that we didn’t get that win because of what was going into that game, and now we have to leave it to chance to see what happens. That’s not the way we want to live, but that’s what we’ve earned. As soon as they tell us, we’ll get back to work as soon as we know what our future is. We will rebound and regroup and find a way to go play winning football.

“We’ve got a locker room full of guys that are tired, they are hurt, they are upset, frustrated. They also understand; I hope, someday, they will be able to look back and know that they went 9-3 and had a chance to compete for (an outright regular-season) championship on the last weekend in November, which is a huge step for this program in the right direction.

I don’t want to minimize the fact of what this team has done for 12 weeks and I’m excited about what they’ve done and the progress that we’ve made. This one stings a lot, but we’ll use it motivationally and we’ll dust ourselves off and be ready to go.”

Since UNLV lost to San Jose State 37–31, they had to wait for the computer to decide who they would play and where for the Mountain West Conference Championship on December 2nd. On Sunday morning, the Moutain West Conference announced that UNLV would host Boise State for the conference championship. 

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Mountain West Championship game,” said UNLV head coach Barry Odom. “We have great respect for Boise State and the year they have had to get to the championship game. Our team has worked tirelessly to compete for a championship! To host the game in Las Vegas at Allegiant is just tremendous.

UNLV Rebels vs San Jose State Spartans at Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas Sports news today from Las Vegas sports teams.

The UNLV Rebels will host the Boise State Broncos on Saturday, December 2nd, at 12:00 pm PST and Fox. Thanks for visiting FranchiseSportsMedia.com for your Las Vegas Sports news today.

 

Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas sports news about Las Vegas Sports teams.

-Joe Arrigo   Franchise Sports Media

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