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New FSM Game Preview: UNLV vs Fresno State – Week 4

Franchise Sports Media

UNLV (0-3) | Fresno State (3-1)


UNLV takes on Fresno State this week on the road after a rough blowout loss to Iowa State in Week 3 of the young season.


UNLV vs Fresno State
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels are set for their second consecutive game against a nationally ranked opponent, but it’s their first Mountain West Conference game of the season. The current odds show the Bulldogs as the clear-cut favorite. They enter the game as -31 favorites, with the overall spread covering 58.5 points for the game. The Bulldogs are coming off of a huge win over UCLA in Week three’s matchup in Southern California, led by a 75-yard drive from quarterback Jake Haener that saw just six plays and lasted only 40 seconds, completing what would be the game-winning drive.

Momentum is definitely on the side of Fresno State entering this week’s matchup, and it isn’t just because they are playing at home or ranked 22nd in the nation. UNLV is currently dealing with quarterback instability and a stagnant offense. Rebels’ starting quarterback Doug Brumfield returned to practice this week, but his status for this week’s game remains uncertain. In Brumfield’s absence, the quarterback play was split between Cam Friel, who got the start, and former Ohio State and Miami quarterback, Tate Martell, who made his debut with UNLV against the Cyclones.

The Rebels are 7-16 all-time against Fresno State, with their most recent showdown being on November 7, 2020. Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against UNLV, the Rebels still have a chance to pull off an upset in their first Mountain West game of the season. The biggest thing the Rebels need for this Friday’s game is their main play-caller back at the helm.


A return-to-action from Doug Brumfield would help out the quarterback instability to some degree, but if Brumfield is not cleared to return this week, their next best option at the quarterback this week is freshman Cam Friel, last week’s starter.


UNLV vs Fresno State
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites/Franchise Sports Media

Tate Martell will be out for 2-3 weeks after suffering a left foot injury in practice last Friday. He tried to play on it against Iowa State but was fitted with a boot on Sunday. It was the first action since the 2019 season for the former Bishop Gorman star, and you could feel the electricity in Allegiant Stadium when he entered the game.

UNLV will also need to rely on strategic plays to fool the Bulldog’s defense. Facing a team that has scored 103 points in their last two games, the Rebels will need to get creative on offense.

Due to the quarterback situation, running back Charles Williams‘ stats have dropped in the past two games, resulting in just 2.4 yards per carry. The Bulldogs will bring the pressure but will also be looking for the long ball, which would make short screen passes to overrun the Bulldogs‘ routes a decent idea, especially early on.


In order to stay within reach of this game, the Rebels will also need to spice up the defense.


UNLV vs Fresno State
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites/Franchise Sports Media

The UNLV defense has struggled to create headaches for offenses so far this year, as they only have four sacks total and 11 tackles resulting in loss of yardage. This week, the Rebels will face a team that has shown comfort in their offense’s ability to score and control the football. The main way for any team to create discomfort for an offense is to bring the pressure to the quarterback, which makes added blitzes a must for the defense’s game plan.

The Rebels will need to utilize these strategies early and often in order to give themselves a chance later on in the contest. They will need to improve their passing defense, control the tempo of the game, and keep the ball out of Fresno State’s possession for as long as they can.

A quick flow of the game being controlled by UNLV will be a key in potentially shifting the momentum in their favor, as they search for that elusive first win of the season against their Mountain West foes in Central California.


UNLV takes on Fresno State from Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California this Friday at 7:00 pm. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network and the radio broadcast of the game can be heard live on ESPN 1100 AM and 100.9 FM.

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– Matt Dobbs

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