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UNLV delivers ‘knockout blow’ in rout of North Texas

Updated September 17, 2022 - 6:43 pm

UNLV football coach Marcus Arroyo talked about his team delivering a “knockout blow” after the Rebels wasted scoring chances last week in a loss at California.

They did so with a thud Saturday against North Texas at Allegiant Stadium, so much so that it could have passed for an undercard bout on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin card a couple of miles away.

Sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield and junior running back Aidan Robbins accounted for seven touchdowns as UNLV turned a three-point game into a 58-27 knockout with 28 consecutive points.

“That sets a bar,” Arroyo said of his team’s play. “Everything else behind this is not good enough. These guys get it, and they are the driving force behind it.”

Brumfield completed 21 of 27 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns for the Rebels (2-1), and rushed for 100 yards and two TDs. Robbins, a transfer from Louisville, rushed for 229 yards and three TDs.

“We’re changing the culture here,” Robbins said. “We all bought in, and we are taking everything as it comes and playing our hardest.”

Arroyo wanted to see how his team would bounce back from the Cal loss and what its response would be if faced with adversity against North Texas (2-2).

That adversity came when North Texas cut into a 13-point deficit and trailed 23-20 at halftime. But the UNLV defense forced the Mean Green into a three-and-out on the first possession of the second half.

On the ensuing possession, Brumfield displayed the athleticism he brings to the offense by making plays with his legs. On third-and-9, he escaped pressure and ran for a 29-yard score.

The Rebels responded again after allowing a 54-yard touchdown pass from North Texas quarterback Austin Aune.

Again, it was Brumfield making a play on the ground. He fought his way through the defense and flipped into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown run after being hit at the goal line.

“It was very important to establish who we are,” Brumfield said, “and not letting opponents know that we aren’t going to be pushed around on the field. No matter what is ahead of us, we are ready to take advantage.”

UNLV’s defense held up on its end, stuffing North Texas on three fourth-down attempts. The last of the three stops came on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.

Brumfield and the offense responded with a 99-yard scoring drive, capped with a 9-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Ricky White. Robbins’ longest run came on the drive, a 59-yard dash that set up UNLV with first-and-goal.

Arroyo was pleased with how the Rebels played in all three phases. He said the turning points, such as a fourth-down stop or a long play from the offense, were beneficial to not letting North Texas back into the game.

“I like the style of ball we’re playing,” he said. “The connectedness, the team, togetherness, the three phases, taking care of the football. All of that is so pivotal.”

Arroyo said he’s noticing the standard raising. He said the Rebels’ understanding of what is expected of them helped turn the page from last week and is laying a foundation for the rest of the season.

“It’s a big deal to play that way,” Arroyo said. “A brand of football that we can be excited and confident about. We know we’re capable of playing that way.”

The Rebels open Mountain West play Saturday at Utah State.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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