Video Credit: The Mountain West Conference

The FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs. San Jose State – Week 4

Week 3 – UNLV (0-4)  |  San Jose State (4-0)


UNLV finished the first half of this game trailing 24-10.



UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

The beginning of the game was in UNLV’s favor. San Jose State quarterback, Nick Starkel, was questionable due to an injury suffered last game, but he was able to start. UNLV’s defense managed to get a three and out to start the game when UNLV linebacker, Jacoby Windmon, forced a fumble pushing San Jose State back, leading to a punt. UNLV drove down the field thanks to running back Charles Williams, who put up his career-high in rushing yards against San Jose State last year. Despite that, they were only able to get a field goal as UNLV’s red-zone struggles continued. 

After that 3-0 lead, San Jose State quickly fired back, switching between Nick Nash and Starkel. Starkel threw a screen pass to wide receiver Bailey Gaither, who scanned the field well and ran 41 yards for the touchdown. UNLV could not get anything going on offense, and the ball went right back to San Jose State. Nash was put in again and saw more success but was stopped in the red-zone thanks to UNLV’s Malaki Salu, who pressured Nash on multiple occasions. SJSU managed to get a field goal, giving them a 10-7 lead. 

UNLV’s offensive struggles continued late in the first quarter because they had trouble getting Charles Williams the ball. They were oddly throwing more with Max Gilliam and had penalties pushing them back to a position where they could not run it.



In the second quarter, UNLV decided to put in backup quarterback, Justin Rodgers, who had some success handing it off to Charles Williams and throwing the ball to Kyle Williams.



UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: UNLV Football

After targeting Kyle Williams multiple times, Rodgers threw his first career touchdown to his new favorite target, making the score 10-17. San Jose State utilized Nash as a running quarterback, which caught UNLV’s defense off guard. 

After a Tre Cane interception, UNLV couldn’t capitalize, and the ball went back to San Jose State. They scored a touchdown with a pass from Starkel to Gaither after numerous Rebels’ defensive penalties. This made the score 24-10. UNLV’s 7 penalties are what led to San Jose States’ first-half success. 

UNLV fell apart in the second half.

The third quarter mainly consisted of a long UNLV drive that led to a Charles Williams touchdown. Rodgers was able to target more than just Kyle Williams as he had multiple completions to Zyell Griffin and Noah Bean. Kyle Williams did have his fair share of receptions, and Charles Williams was able to get some steam back into his running game, making this a one-possession game. 

Shortly after, San Jose State fired back as UNLV’s defense could not find an answer to Starkel’s constant passes to Gaither. They ended up scoring a touchdown to take a two-possession lead in less than two minutes. This ended with a Kairee Robinson touchdown as Gaither finished the third quarter with 5 receptions for 82 yards. 


In the fourth quarter, starting quarterback, Max Gilliam, came back in the game for UNLV but was sacked twice within the first 2 minutes of being back on the field.



UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: UNLV Football

He was not able to get the ball much or make a meaningful impact on the game afterward. San Jose State drove through a gassed UNLV defense in every way possible. They targeted more receivers as Gaither finished with 94 receiving yards, Isaiah Hamilton finished with 46, and Tre Walker finished with 50. 

Regardless of UNLV’s defense falling apart, there were some bright spots from this game. Charles Williams ran for 55 yards and 1 touchdown while Kyle Williams had 9 receptions for 110 yards and 1 touchdown. Justin Rodgers completed 12 passes out of his 18 with 162 yards and one touchdown. Utilizing both Gilliam and Rodgers may be a possibility for UNLV’s future.







  • Sophomore Jacoby Windmon recorded UNLV’s only QB sack of the game in the third quarter, which gave him a team-leading 4.5 on the season. Windmon also led the squad with eight total tackles and added a forced fumble vs. the Spartans.
  • This is the second game in a row in which UNLV’s offensive line has allowed at least 6 sacks. They allowed 7 this week.
  • UNLV finished the game with 8 penalties, 2 of which were costly and unnecessary late hits.
  • UNLV’s defensive struggles continued as they seemed overwhelmed by San Jose States’ back and forth strategy of running it with Nash then throwing with Starkel.
  • Despite being subbed out in the fourth quarter, Rodgers’ connections with Kyle Williams were stellar. Either way, Kyle Williams had an amazing game.
  • Tre Cane recorded UNLV’s first season interception.



UNLV hits the road next Saturday against the Colorado Rams at 2:30 PM on FS2. The Rebels’ next home game is Friday, Nov. 27 against Wyoming.



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