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Game Preview: UNLV vs Arizona State – Week 2


UNLV heads to Tempe, Arizona to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday night. Can UNLV pull off a huge upset (-34 underdogs) and give head coach Marcus Arroyo a signature win?


UNLV vs Arizona St. Preview
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UNLV will start Sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield when they take the field Saturday night. Brumfield came in midway through the third quarter during their Week 1 matchup against Eastern Washington to spark the Rebels offense. Brumfield has the type of arm strength and quick release that will take some pressure off the offensive line and get the offense playing at a pace that coach Arroyo would like to see. Running back Charles Williams is coming off a 172 yard, 2 touchdown game and is just over 600 yards away from setting the school rushing record. Williams heads into this week with the most career net rushing yards gained on the FBS level (3,117) among all current players. He will once again be the focal point of the Rebels offense, and the player ASU will be looking to stop.

For UNLV to have any shot at an upset, they will need the offensive line to have one hell of a game. The Rebels need to open running lanes and give Brumfield time to throw, something they did once the sophomore came in the game last week. If they can give Brumfield time, the Rebels wide receivers should find space to operate and get open. Kyle Williams will look to build off a solid Week 1 performance, where he once again led UNLV in receptions and yardage.


UNLV vs Arizona St. Preview
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites/Franchise Sports Media

On defense, the Rebels didn’t play badly last week; they were just gassed. What has to happen against the Sun Devils is UNLV has to pressure ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels. The Rebels’ lack of pass rush hurt the secondary last week. Adam Plant Jr., Kylan Wilborn, LaShaun Bell, and Conner Murphy will need to do a better job creating a muddy pocket and make Daniels uncomfortable. The secondary will benefit from having Nohl Williams back after he missed the second half of the opener after being ejected from a controversial targeting call. Williams could be the best cornerback in the Mountain West Conference and gives UNLV an elite pass defender and kick returner. Cornerbacks Aaron Lewis, Cam Oliver, and Davone Walden will also see significant time against ASU.

Jacoby Windmon will be the person ASU will try and stay away from. Now playing the JACK position, Windmon is free to roam and make plays all over the field. He did just that last week, leading the Rebels in tackles (10) while wreaking havoc all game long. The other starting inside linebacker, AJ Ajiake, also with 10 tackles last week, gives the linebacking core a player that goes sideline to sideline.


The Sun Devils have and NFL-type quarterback pulling the trigger and UNLV will need to stop him.


UNLV vs Arizona St. Preview
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Jayden Daniels has been everything the Sun Devils wanted and more when he chose ASU out of high school. Since his freshman year, he has been a leader on and off the field and a player ASU head coach Herman Edwards can trust and rely on. Unfortunately, Daniels played a sub-par game in his 2021 debut: 10-of-12 passing for 132 yards, 40 rushing yards, and no touchdowns. However, if Week 2 is Daniels‘ time to show off how his passing touch improved in the offseason, keep an eye on the tight end, Curtis Hodges. The 6-foot-8 monster is a nightmare matchup for a smaller UNLV secondary.

Chip Trayanum and Rachaad White handled scoring duties for ASU last week, rushing for a pair of touchdowns each. The two are among the best running back tandems in the nation and should establish the ground attack early. UNLV held Eastern Washington to just 2.9 yards per carry in Week 1, but EWU has long been more of a passing-focused offense. So it may be a more difficult task this week.

After accruing 13 flags for 135 yards in Week 1, expect a more disciplined Sun Devils bunch to come out and assert itself early in Week 2. ASU  did just enough wrong to make the coaches want to work everyone hard this week to be ready for what’s coming. That means we could see monster first half – they scored 28 against Southern Utah.

The Arizona State defense has been solid the last three years, and this year’s edition could be the best of the bunch. ASU allowed just 23.3 ppg, and they have all 11 starters back from that unit. The Sun Devils allowed just 224 yards of total offense against Southern Utah. The Rebels allowed three sacks against Eastern Washington. Arizona State’s pass rush was somewhat muted against Southern Utah, but the Sun Devils will have opportunities to apply pressure against the unproven UNLV passing attack.


3 Things to look for:


UNLV vs Arizona St. Preview
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1. We will see a different UNLV team tonight. I think the Rebels will come out fast and be more balanced on offense. Brumfield added a different type of energy when he came in for Justin Rogers last week. The offense seemed to get some pep in their step, and I expect that to continue. Brumfield’s ability to pass the ball and stretch the defense will force ASU to play honest and should allow Williams to see some daylight.

2. Jacoby Windmon will have a coming-out party. I expect Windmon to have a huge game and show why some think he will be playing on Sundays. He will be all over the field making plays and will have more than his career-high 10 tackles last week.

3. Freshman wide receiver Kilinahe Hokunui Mendiola-Jensen will get extensive playing time and make a few plays. Since converting from cornerback to receiver, he has been the talk of camp and is a player that has the coaching staff excited.


UNLV vs ASU will kickoff at 7:30 pm and can be seen on ESPN 2. You can also join Joe Arrigo and Tony Cardasco at Pinche’s Tacos on Russell Road for the FSM Watch Party.


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