FSM Essential Recap – UNLV vs Bryant College- Week 1 -2023



UNLV Football opened the Barry Odom era against the Bryant Bulldogs and came away with a decisive 44-14 victory.

UNLV Football is back!

UNLV vs Bryant | Franchise Sports Media
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The UNLV Rebels started the 2023 season with a bang and secured a resounding 44-14 win over Bryant College. It was the first win in the new era of Rebels football under their head coach, Barry Odom. The Rebels offense, the running game in particular, looked extremely good. Their defense flashed potential against a Bryant offense that was not conventional by any means.

But the highlight of the day for UNLV was the play of special teams, who seemed to set the tone for potentially an exciting UNLV football season.

It also was the highly anticipated debut for new Rebels Head Coach Barry Odom, and his team did not disappoint. Odom, who was hired as the Rebels’ 13th head coach in school history this offseason, has an impressive track record while he was the head coach at Missouri. His debut as the head coach had UNLV fans buzzing with anticipation.

It was a historic night for Odom as he claimed his first win as the head coach of the Rebels, which was done last by former Rebels head coach Tony Sanchez in 2016. It was also the biggest margin-of-victory in a first game by a Rebel head coach since Ron Meyer won his initial game in town by 32 points over what is now known as Arkansas State (38-6) in 1973, according to Mark Wallington, the football SID at UNLV.

Barry Odom got his first win as UNLV head coach

An emphasis was put on special teams, and it showed in Week 1

James Shibest’s special teams unit came up big for UNLV.

UNLV vs Bryant | Franchise Sports Media
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But back to the special teams unit, which was often overlooked in the past but is crucial to a team’s success. Coach Odom’s hire of Jame Shibest, regarded as one of the best special teams coaches in the country, paid dividends right away and showcased the Rebels’ new commitment to making special teams a priority this season.

The impact that his unit made was huge against Bryant. The Rebels’ special teams unit demonstrated excellent coverage skills and was highlighted by Jacob De Jesus’ 96-yard kick return to the Bryant 1-yard line that led to a quick touchdown, giving UNLV a 44-14 lead late in the 3rd quarter.

De Jesus’ return was the fourth-longest in school history and the longest-ever by a Rebel on a play that did not result in a touchdown. De Jesus also led the team with 50 receiving yards on four catches to finish with 208 all-purpose yards in his FBS debut.


UNLV vs Bryant | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

While the special teams performance was impressive, the stars of the game were the UNLV running backs. The Rebels’ running game proved to be dominant, consistently gaining yards and breaking tackles. Vincent Davis, the transfer from Pittsburgh, took the game’s opening play 69 yards to the endzone to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead.

On the Rebels’ next drive, the freshman Jai’DenJettThomas ran the ball in from 18 yards out. He also scored in the third quarter from 8 yards out. Donovan Lester added a 2-yard touchdown, and quarterback Doug Brumfield ran in a touchdown from 19 yards out.

The offensive line deserves credit as they created openings and running lanes that the running backs exploited all game. UNLV’s relentless ground attack led to multiple scoring drives and wore down the Bryant College defense. It was a true testament to the “Go-Go offense” the Rebels‘ are looking to establish and is undoubtedly a focal point for their offensive coordinator, Brennan Merion.

On the day, Davis finished with 79 yards rushing on three carries, while Lester carried the ball eight times for 29 yards. Thomas also had eight carries but gained 60 yards and had the two touchdowns, and Brumfield rushed for 78 yards on seven carries. In total, UNLV rushed for 263 yards on 25 carries. The Rebels also passed for 112 yards and had 390 total yards from scrimmage.

It’s time for some UNLV Football.

Even with the win, the Rebels aren not satisfied with their performence

UNLV took on Bryant College to open their college football season

UNLV vs Bryant | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

As the final whistle blew, and the scoreboard showed four zeros, it read 44-14 UNLV, which made Rebels fans happy. But the team and their head coach were not satisfied with the win.

A lot of work by a lot of people went into today’s opportunity for our student-athletes. To represent our team means a lot to me for us to be able to get to 1-0 today. I wanted it so bad for this group of players just to get started on the right foot. We have a long way to go. We understand that.Odom said. “We can play a lot cleaner in all three phases, but we are thrilled to be 1-0, and I look forward to getting back to work. Now, it is a sprint to see how good we can get between week one and week two.

I’m thankful for the fans that were here today. We can build this, and we will build this into an elite program and an elite college football team in the city of Las Vegas, and I’m honored to have the chance to do that.

The Rebels won their first game of the season, and if it is any indication, they have also laid a strong foundation for what promises to be an exciting year under the leadership of Barry Odom. With the play of the special teams unit and a dominant running game, UNLV fans may have plenty to look forward to as the Rebels continue their journey through the 2023 season, hoping to get to a postseason Bowl game.

But before then, it’s on to Michigan next week.

The final score from Allegiant Stadium was 44-14, UNLV over Bryant Colege.

UNLV will now travel to The Big House to take on the Michigan Wolverines next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and can be seen on CBS.


– Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on all social media: @JoeArrigoFSM

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