The second year of the Tony Sanchez era got off to an explosive start Thursday in Las Vegas, as the UNLV Rebels jumped on the Jackson State Tigers early and cruised to a 63-13 victory at Sam Boyd Stadium.
This one was over in the first 15 minutes. UNLV found the end zone four times in the first quarter and carried a 42-10 lead into the half. In his first career start Johnny Stanton tossed three first half scores and finished the night with 217 yards passing, completing 10 of his 12 pass attempts.
The rushing attack was equally as efficient and relentless. Charles WIlliams did the bulk of the work for the Rebels, carrying the ball 12 times and amassing 96 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Lexington Thomas chipped in 68 yards and a pair of scores.
The defense struggled to find it’s footing early, but after a couple of shaky early drives, the Rebels managed to shut down the Tigers for the rest of the game. Jackson State totaled 112 yards in the first half but managed just 140 yards the rest of the game. The defense put points on the board as well. We saw a scoop and score:
And on the very next drive we were treated to a pick six:
While there were impressive performances all over the field for the Scarlet and Gray Thursday night, the MVP in the season opener was wide receiver Devonte Boyd. Entering 2016 as arguably the top receiver in the Mountain West Conference, the preseason All-MWC First Team pick, padded his already gaudy career stats. Boyd pulled in four catches, three for touchdowns, and racked up 135 receiving yards. He topped the century mark in receiving yards for the ninth time in his UNLV career, just the third Rebel in school history to do so.
The 42 points UNLV scored in the first half on Thursday night is the second highest total the Rebels have ever scored in one half. Last season UNLV scored 52 points against Idaho State en route to an 80-8 victory.
Led by quarterback LaMontiez Ivy, the Tigers struggled most of the night. Ivy completed 14 of 34 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown for Jackson State.
Both schools are back in action next week. Jackson State has a September 10th date with Tennessee State in Memphis. On the same day UNLV gets the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Rebels kickoff is scheduled for 5pm PT.