Video Credit: Mountain West Conference

The FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs UNR – Week 2

Week 2 – UNLV (0-2) vs UNR (2-0)


The UNLV football program led by their first-year head coach Marcus Arroyo opened a new era for the Rebels on Saturday night when they took on in-state rival Reno for the first time in program history at Allegiant Stadium.


The $2 billion stadium that has become the crown jewel of The Strip welcomed the Rebels home, nearly 4 years after the state approved its creation. Rocking their new matte black NIKE uniforms, the Rebels looked to keep The Fremont Cannon scarlet red for the third straight year.

Coming off a disappointing season-opening loss to SDSU, the Rebels wanted to open Allegiant Stadium in style against the Wolf Pack. The prior two seasons, there were incidents, both pre and post-game, that marred the Rebels’ victories, but that wasn’t the case this season.


The effects of last year’s game were still felt at the start of this one for the Rebels when senior tight end Giovanni Fauolo had to miss the first half of the game as part of a controversial suspension from last years post-game fight.


Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

Senior running back Charles Williams told me that it was a point of emphasis for the team to keep their composure and keep The Fremont Cannon red.

“It’s definitely something that we’ve talked about and something that we put an emphasis on. We can’t have anyone getting in trouble or hurting our team,” said Williams, who added, “We represent not only UNLV but also our families. We don’t want to disrespect our family names.”

Coach Arroyo somewhat downplayed the importance of the game to the media during his Monday press conference. But to his team, he stressed the importance of not only keeping the cannon home in Las Vegas, but also playing the type of game that makes UNLV fans, alum, and parents proud.

On Nevada Day, 2020, 156 years after it became the 36th state in the union, it was time to welcome Rebels’ fans to their new home. Welcome to Allegiant Stadium and the 2020 version of The Battle for the Fremont Cannon.


The first half was a lot like years past, the defenses took a while to get going, except UNR scored touchdowns and the Rebels settled for field goals.


Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

By air, and by more air, Carson Strong, Nevada’s sophomore quarterback, was dealing in the first-half throwing for 274 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was Romeo Doubs, caught five balls for 189 yards and a touchdown. UNLV quarterback Max Gilliam was also dealing, throwing for 141 yards and a touchdown.

Gilliam got his second straight start and looked a lot better than in the first half of his previous start. Chuck Williams ran the ball eight times for 50 yards and caught 2 passes for ten yards, and looked every bit the offensive weapon Arroyo envisioned he had when he took the Rebels’ job.

But the Rebels pass defense gave up big play after big play through the air. With two Freshmen starting at cornerback, it’s trial by fire, but it will only make the Rebels better in the long run. Dom Brown took over for Sir Oliver Everett, which helped, but the Wolf Pack offense looked like they were clicking on all cylinders. Some positives for UNLV were the Rebels’ three sacks and the play of Jacoby Windmon, the sophomore linebacker from Louisiana who had one of them, his second of the season.


At halftime, UNR led 24-12, but the Rebels got the ball to start the second half.


Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

The Rebels started the second half with a punt, but the Wolf Pack marched down the field for a field goal to make it a 27-12 lead. The Rebels have come back from similar deficits, most recently being down 23-0 after the first quarter two years ago. It was time to see if this UNLV team was going to mount that type of comeback. The defensive stand on the Wolf Packs’ first possession gave Rebel fans hope.

The Rebels answered the bell on their following drive with a touchdown. Stevie Jenkins caught a pass from Gilliam from 5 yards out to make it a one-score game. UNR followed the Rebels’ TD with a drive that culminated with a touchdown of their own on a Toa Taua 4 yard run. With 13:37 left in the game, it was 34-19 UNR. The Rebels drove down into the red zone, but after a bad snap that resulted in an incompletion on fourth down, UNR took over at their 19.

The Wolf Pack drove down the field and finished off the Rebels on a Brandon Talton 35 yard field goal to make it 37-19 with 2:27 left in the game. After the Rebels punted, UNR took two knees, and the Fremont Cannon went to Reno for a new blue paint job.


UNLV is back at home at Allegiant Stadium next Saturday. The Rebels will host the Fresno State Bulldogs with kick-off scheduled for 12:30 p.m. PT. The game that will be shown on CBS Sports Network.



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