Updated September 12, 2021 - 6:54 am
For two quarters against Arizona State on Saturday night, UNLV showcased some of the improvements that coach Marcus Arroyo had highlighted after the opener.
In the other two quarters, though, the Rebels didn’t showcase much of anything.
UNLV hung with the No. 23 Sun Devils in the first half before wilting in the second half and succumbing to a 37-10 loss to its Pac-12 foe at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.
Sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield made the first start of his college career and engineered two scoring drives, including one he capped with a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The drives helped the Rebels take two leads in the first half and maintain a 14-10 halftime deficit.
But the Sun Devils took the lead late in the second quarter and outscored UNLV 23-0 in the second half.
Brumfield left the game with an apparent injury late in the third quarter after taking a hit as he threw a pass. He was replaced by junior Justin Rogers, who started the opener against Eastern Washington. The Rebels (0-2) went three-and-out on all seven of their second-half possessions.
Brumfield sparked the offense in relief of Rogers in Week 1, showing enough to earn Arroyo’s blessing as the starter. He was poised in the pocket in early Saturday, converting three consecutive third downs to help the Rebels take a 3-0 lead after sophomore cornerback Nohl Williams intercepted Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels on the game’s first drive.
Brumfield also engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive midway through the second quarter, capping it with a diving score that helped the Rebels to a 10-7 lead. But the Sun Devils (2-0) eventually found their offensive rhythm behind their junior quarterback.
Daniels weaved his way in and around the pocket, bailing whenever he saw open space around him. He carried 13 times for 125 yards, using his legs to lead scoring drive after scoring drive. Senior running back Rachaad White complemented his quarterback with 22 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns, producing mostly in the second half against a tiring defense.
Rogers was sacked three times by Arizona State’s ravenous defensive front.
The Sun Devils also stacked the tackle box to limit Rebels senior running Charles Williams, who rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. He carried 13 times for 35 yards, averaging 2.7 yards per carry, against Arizona State.
Brumfield finished 6 of 14 for 63 yards, adding 43 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Rogers was 1 of 5 for 7 yards.
Daniels added 175 passing yards and two scores.
UNLV will host No. 9 Iowa State on Saturday at Allegiant Stadium.