Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-11-20 03:04:00 –
Chase Stevens / Associated Press
Saturday, November 20, 2021 | 12:04 AM
There is no doubt that the UNLV football team has improved.
Visiting San Diego on Friday and losing 28-20 didn’t necessarily highlight all of these upgrades, but if you look closely, the rebels may be on the right track. I have. And this isn’t looking for signs of positive play. These are the obvious components of a young roster who has just given a contested game to a nationally ranked team. You should have won, right?
Consider the following:
• UNLV defense, which has been a long-standing problem, is No. 22 Ended the game by forcing San Diego State (10-1) to punt 6 times. The rebels intercepted three bags and created a 98-yard rush yard. San Diego State University has entered at Mountain West. This is the highest 192.8 yards per game on the ground. Yes, it’s an impressive effort by the home team.
• UNLV’s attack wasn’t terrible with a pass over 300 yards, even though he was forced to play back-up Justin Rogers in the quarterback. Rogers, surprisingly, was throwing darts across the field against the best teams in the league, adjusting most of the upset.
• And most importantly: the team did not resign against the Aztecs. Despite winning two games in two seasons with Marcus Arroyo, the players seem to agree with his vision, which is a big step forward in the off-season. They played hard from start to finish, and it’s commendable given that it’s a two-win team. The season finale will be next week’s Air Force, and the rebels “can fight for another week,” Arroyo said.
Attacks are confusing at the beginning of the season, defenses are usually painful, and many two-win teams simply throw towels at this point in the season. But UNLV is different and that’s the optimistic reason for moving forward.
“We didn’t want to be,” Arroyo said. “We expect to win every game, especially against good opponents. After all, we have to find a way.”
The 2022 season will bring significantly different exceptions to the fan base and college athletics executives, no matter who the next athletic director is. Stopping close combat with eastern Washington, Utah, or tonight’s San Diego will have to be replaced by winning close combat, so there will be no morale victory this season.
Simply put, Arroyo needs to win in the third year. He should at least threaten to go to the bowl.
This era of UNLV football has unique advantages in the history of the program in recruiting players to play their entire career at the Allegiant Stadium, the shared NFL Stadium with the Raiders, and the Fertitta Football Complex on campus. Don’t forget. These are the best facilities in the Mountain West, and it’s time for the program to come up with similar claims.
The off-season is essential to advancing the program, especially when it comes to rebuilding offenses.
And that will be a big challenge.
Running back Charles Williams rushed to attack a total of nearly 100 yards on Friday, filling his program-the best career rush totaled 4,059 yards. It’s very difficult to replace him as he has become one of the greatest players in rebel history and occupies almost all of the team’s carry during the season. Backup Chad Magyar and Courtney Reese combined in just 25 trials. In short, UNLV launches an important 2022 campaign in an inexperienced running back group.
“Chuck Wagon” was the main reason UNLV won consecutive wins in New Mexico and Hawaii this season and finally entered the winning line, but not spreading the carry to other backs builds the program. Not ideal for doing.
Exacerbating the problem is the lack of a well-established quarterback entering the off-season. This is not an ideal scenario for a coach to enter his third season at work.
True freshman Cameron Friel started his fifth straight win on Friday, and although he was knocked out in the first half due to a leg injury, he is approaching a 1,500-yard pass this season. Doug Branfield looked like a future quarterback early in the season, but he can’t stay healthy.
And most importantly, is Friel or Brumfield the long-term answer?
In any case, don’t be surprised if Arroyo heads to the transfer portal to upgrade both running back and quarterback positions. He will certainly be willing to fill the blanks in the roster for an experienced college transfer. He also knows whether he will win or go bankrupt in the third year.
And, as we saw on Friday, this is a program on the verge of breaking through, so there’s nothing wrong with that pressure.
This is an improved bunch and shows that Arroyo and his staff have a strong blueprint for building a competitive program.
It will be interesting to see how that growth continues in spring and summer, as the standards are different in the third year. It’s time to win.
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