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Steve Marcus

UNLV Rebels running back Charles Williams (8) holds up the Island Showdown Trophy after UNLV’s 27-13 win over the Hawaii Warriors at Allegiant Stadium Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Updated 5 hours, 20 minutes ago

The Rebel Room

UNLV basketball worse than Fresno State?

The UNLV basketball season starts this week as the Rebels look to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. That’s likely going to be a tough task considering the program was projected to finish seventh in the Mountain West. One spot ahead? Fresno State. Mike and Ray discuss the season, and Ray expresses confusion about how the preseason poll has the Bulldogs ahead of the Rebels.

The UNLV football program is officially on a winning streak.

The scarlet and gray played their best defensive game of the season, culminating in a critical fourth-down stop in the final minutes to seal a 27-13 win over Hawaii at Allegiant Stadium.

Hawaii faced a 4th-and-3 at its 45-yard line with two minutes to play, trailing 20-13, and handed the ball to Dedrick Parson. UNLV linebacker Kyle Beaudry, who also stopped Dae Dae Hunter for one yard on third down, came up with the tackle just short of the line to gain, forcing a turnover on downs.

UNLV needed one first down to clinch the game from there, and Charles Williams took care of that by bursting through the line for 47-yard touchdown. The run capped a monster 38-carry, 266-yard day for Williams, who also found the end zone three times.

After suffering through 14 straight losses after Marcus Arroyo took over as head coach, UNLV is suddenly red hot with two consecutive wins. The team is now 2-8 on the season with a home game against San Diego State next week and a trip to Air Force remaining on the schedule.

UNLV defense trying to protect late 20-13 lead

UNLV had a chance to seal this game, but Daniel Gutierrez had a 56-yard field goal attempt blocked. Now Hawaii will take over at its 38-yard line, trailing 20-13 with 3:48 to play.

It looked like UNLV had picked up a potential game-sealing first down on a Charles Williams run, but an offensive holding call negated the gain and put the scarlet and gray in a 3rd-and-long situation. Cameron Friel then threw incomplete, setting up Gutierrez’s long attempt.

It will be up to the UNLV defense to keep Hawaii out of the end zone, something they’ve done since allowing a 79-yard touchdown on the first play.

UNLV opens 20-10 lead over Hawaii

UNLV has scored twice to open the second half, building a 20-10 lead over Hawaii with 5:39 left in the third quarter.

After receiving the ball to start the half, Charles Williams ripped off a 64-yard run to put UNLV in scoring position. Three plays later Williams sliced into the end zone untouched to give the scarlet and gray a 17-10 lead.

The defense got a stop on Hawaii’s next possession and UNLV was able to get across midfield on a 47-yard catch-and-run by Kyle Williams, setting up a Daniel Gutierrez field goal to make it a 10-point margin.

UNLV’s defense has enjoyed an outstanding day, keeping Hawaii out of the end zone after allowing that 79-yard touchdown bomb to open the game. The D is probably two or three more stops away from putting this one away.

UNLV, Hawaii tied at half, 10-10

UNLV got stopped at the goal line in the waning seconds of the half, but Daniel Gutierrez knocked in a short field goal to tie the game, 10-10 at the break.

It was an ugly half of football for both teams. UNLV committed three turnovers and Hawaii turned it over twice. UNLV got stuffed on a 4th-and-short at the goal line. Hawaii missed a field goal and committed four penalties, two of which gave UNLV free first downs in long-distance situations. It was brutal.

But while Marcus Arroyo can’t be happy about what he’s seen from his team today, he has to be pleased that it’s a tie game with 30 minutes remaining. UNLV will receive the ball after halftime, so they’re one competent drive away from taking their first lead of the day.

Handing the ball to Charles Williams would probably help that cause. The senior running back has feasted today, running for 120 yards on 21 carries in the first half alone. Williams has UNLV’s lone touchdown.

Williams stopped on fourth down, Hawaii leads UNLV 10-7

UNLV just went for it on 4th-and-1 from the Hawaii 3-yard line and Charles Williams was stuffed at the line, handing the ball back to the Warriors. With 4:49 left in the half, Hawaii is still holding onto a 10-7 lead.

Williams has been quite effective today, racking up 119 yards on 20 carries already, so it was shocking to see him stopped short on fourth down (and on a 3rd-and-1 attempt on the prior play).

UNLV will receive the ball to start the second half, so if the defense holds here they could still get a chance at a score before the half and possession coming out of the locker room.

Hawaii leads UNLV 10-7

The good news for UNLV is that they answered Hawaii’s early score by driving 76 yards for a game-tying touchdown, courtesy of a 5-yard run by Charles Williams.

The bad news is that their other three possessions have ended in turnovers, and at the end of the first quarter Hawaii has a 10-7 lead.

After Williams tied the game with his TD, Hawaii drove to midfield before Jacoby Windmon sacked Chevan Cordeiro on third down to force a punt. UNLV took over at its 5; two plays later Cameron Friel scrambled right and tried to throw back across his body. The pass was intercepted by Khoury Bethley, and though the UNLV defense stepped up and got a stop, Hawaii was able to tack on a short field goal to make it 10-7.

UNLV’s next possession also ended with a Friel pick, this time as the freshman attempted to thread the needle on the run on 3rd-and-11. Hawaii defensive back Solo Turner hauled it in, and the Warriors now have the ball at midfield to start the second quarter.

Marcus Arroyo spent most of the week preaching that UNLV couldn’t afford to rest on its laurels and lose its focus. Three turnovers in four possessions says they’ve failed in that regard. Let’s see if they can clean it up.

Hawaii takes 7-0 lead over UNLV on first play

Well that was fast.

Hawaii received the opening kickoff, and the Warriors’ first snap was a 79-yard touchdown bomb from Chevan Cordeiro to Nick Marnder. Just 20 seconds into the game, Hawaii had a 7-0 lead.

It could be worse for the scarlet and gray. UNLV’s ensuing possession was hindered by a pre-snap penalty, and on 3rd-and-5 the ball was snapped before quarterback Cameron Friel was expecting it. It fell to the ground as a loose ball and Hawaii recovered, giving the visitors possession at the UNLV 29-yard line.

Cordeiro missed a wide, wide-open touchdown pass on third down, and Hawaii had to settle for a 44-yard field goal attempt. The kick missed wide, sparing UNLV an early double-digit deficit.

Either way, this is not the kind of start UNLV was hoping for after its win last week.

UNLV football looks for second straight win

After nearly two years wandering in a winless wasteland, UNLV football finally has a victory to its name courtesy of last week’s road triumph over New Mexico.

Can they make it two in a row against Hawaii today?

In addition to the rivalry element to Saturday’s game (1 p.m., Allegiant Stadium, Spectrum Sports), Hawaii is still playing for a bowl berth; the Warriors sport a 4-6 record (1-4 in Mountain West play) and are coming off a tough 17-10 loss to San Diego State last week, so this is not a team just playing out the string.

Three keys to watch as UNLV attempts to keep the momentum rolling:

Winning streak?

UNLV did its best to keep things on an even keel this week after their cathartic victory at New Mexico. That meant no special perks for players, no extended celebrations, nothing during the practice week that would indicate they have accomplished a goal.

That’s how head coach Marcus Arroyo wants it, with the focus entirely on the next opponent.

One win was necessary this season. Now the scarlet and gray have to keep adding more until it becomes a regular, expected occurrence within the program.

“Now we’ve got to stack ‘em,” Arroyo said. “We’ve got to make sure it’s not an anomaly. A lot of times in the infant stages of a program you get all juiced up about one win here and there, it happens at a lot of different places that haven’t done it in a long time. That’s not the intent [at UNLV]. The intent is to do it over and over and over.”

If UNLV comes out flat in the first half—like they did two weeks ago at UNR—that won’t speak very well of their ability to refocus. If they’re flying around and making plays, it’s a good sign that they’ve moved past the win and are intent on getting another one.

Secondary test

Hawaii will present an interesting matchup for the UNLV defense. Under head coach Todd Graham, Hawaii is throwing the ball on 56.8 percent of its snaps, the 12th-highest ratio in all of college football. It’s a short-throw offense at 6.4 yards per attempts (No. 102) and they protect the quarterback, ranking 94th in sack percentage.

The only other time UNLV faced a comparable high-volume short passing attack this season they defended it fairly well, holding San Jose State to 13 points through three quarters in an eventual 27-20 loss.

This game will put a lot of stress on UNLV’s thin secondary, as the defensive backs will have to play closer to the line of scrimmage in an attempt to tighten Hawaii’s short passing windows. The more UNLV can keep Hawaii in 3rd-and-long situations, the better chance they’ll have of getting stops.

Ground Chuck

Hawaii’s defense has been pretty effective at stopping the pass this season, as the Warriors rank 36th nationally in opposing passer rating (124.9) and 41st in yards per attempt allowed (6.9 yards), so this may not be a game in which Arroyo chooses to let freshman quarterback Cameron Friel throw a ton.

Instead, look for the scarlet and gray to lean on senior running back Charles Williams, who is coming off a workmanlike 74 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries last week. Williams shredded Hawaii in 2020, racking up 148 yards and two touchdowns, so it would make sense to ride the Chuck Wagon for 20-plus carries and put the offensive game plan on his shoulders.

What: UNLV (1-8, 1-4 MWC) vs. Hawaii (4-6, 1-4 MWC)

Where: Allegiant Stadium

When: 1 p.m.

TV: Spectrum Sports

Line: Hawaii -3.5

UNLV leaders

Passing

Cameron Friel: 63.8% (120-of-188), 1,369 yards, 6 TDs, 8 INTs

Rushing

Charles Williams: 183 carries, 818 yards, 4.5 yards per carry, 10 TDs

Receiving

Kyle Williams: 37 receptions, 521 yards, 2 TDs

Defense

Jacoby Windmon: 85 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks

Hawaii leaders

Passing

Chevan cordeiro: 55.4% (143-of-258), 1,881 yards, 11 TDs, 8 INTs

Rushing

Dae Dae Hunter: 78 carries, 558 yards, 7.2 yards per carry, 3 TD

Receiving

Calvin Turner: 58 receptions, 661 yards, 4 TD

Defense

Khoury Bethley: 74 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, 3 INTs

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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