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UNLV Football loses to Hawaii; The rebel bowl drought continues

The UNLV football team just didn’t have a safety factor.

After losing close games to Fresno State and San Diego State over the past two weeks, UNLV needed a win on Saturday to keep their bowl dreams alive. It met Hawaii, a team that went into the game with a Mountain West win.

On paper, the Rebels – 11-point favorites – were in a good position.

However, paper does not account for the torrential rainstorms that arrive intermittently throughout the game. It does not account for key injuries to parts of the rebel secondary. It doesn’t account for the probability of the most accurate kicker in UNLV history hitting the post.

“I’ve been hard on the boys all week,” UNLV coach Marcus Arroyo told reporters after the game. “I warned them that this is the way these types of games are built, but that has to fall on my shoulders first.”

UNLV’s losing streak extended to six games on Saturday when they lost to Hawaii 31-25 at the Clarence TC Ching Complex in Honolulu. UNLV started the season 4-1, but the loss officially eliminated the Rebels from bowl competition.

“Frustration is an understatement,” Arroyo said.

The Rebels also gave the Island Showdown Trophy to the Rainbow Warriors. Hawaii have now won four of the last six meetings between the teams since the trophy was introduced as part of the Ninth Island Rivalry in 2017.

UNLV’s offense never looked entirely comfortable on Saturday. Sophomore quarterback Doug Brumfield completed 23 of 37 pass attempts for 288 yards and a touchdown, but the running game was not established.

Junior running back Aidan Robbins had 72 yards on 17 carries while Brumfield added 55 yards on 18 carries. UNLV’s offense also struggled to convert third downs, going only 4-for-14.

“It’s a tough dressing room at the moment,” said Arroyo. “We have to do a better job.”

The offensive also came to a standstill in the red area. The Rebels (4-7, 2-5 Mountain West) settled for five field goal attempts. Sixth-year kicker Daniel Gutierrez made four of those, tying him with Nick Garritano for the first time in program history with 53 field goals scored. However, Gutierrez also kicked one off the post early in the fourth quarter.

UNLV led 13-7 at halftime, but Hawaii (3-9, 2-5) rose to 24-16 in the fourth quarter.

UNLV’s defense tried to close the gap and adjusted offense with a lone touchdown. Senior defensive end Adam Plant Jr. pulled out Hawaiian quarterback Brayden Schager, and linebacker Elijah Shelton captured the ball and ran it into the end zone to reduce the deficit to 24-22 with an 8-13 lead.

The Rebels’ offense then failed to complete the two-point conversion in a game that left junior wide receiver Kyle Williams – whose five catches for 111 yards led the team – visibly frustrated.

Shelton forced another fumble to give the ball to UNLV with 7:25 left. However, the drive stalled near midfield, and Brumfield’s pass to fourth and fifth remained incomplete.

The Rainbow Warriors scored three games later on a 34-yard run by senior Dedrick Parson to play the win with a 31-22 lead by 2:51.

“We just got passed and that was atypical,” said Arroyo. “This is what happens when you lose focus.”

UNLV will end its season by hosting UNR in the Battle of the Fremont Gun on November 26th at 15:00.

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at [email protected] consequences @ANYamashita on twitter.

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