Thursday night at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, the UNLV Rebels did what they should have done to an FCS team in a season opener. They scored early, often, and rolled to a 63-13 victory over the Jackson State Tigers.
There were plenty of reasons on display for UNLV fans to be excited about the 2016 season last night, but perhaps none more striking than the Johnny Stanton to Devonte Boyd passing attack.
The two hooked up four times Thursday, three of those for touchdowns, as Boyd tallied a game high 135 receiving yards. He logged his ninth career game with more than 100 receiving yards, becoming just the third Rebel in school history to do so.
It didn’t take long for these two to find one another. Boyd hit the end zone after a 56 yard pass from Stanton to get the Rebels on the board just over a minute into the game. 49 seconds later the two connected again, this time for 32 yards, to give the Rebels a 14-0 lead two minutes into the game. After the win, Stanton talked about his first Division 1 start under center.
“That first pass felt good. I was able to hit Devonte Boyd almost before he was even looking. It was a great catch by him and a great route. I was happy with a 30 yard completion and then he just ran away from everybody. He’s pretty fast and it’s pretty cool to see him in a game.”
UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez was impressed with what he saw.
“Offensively we came out really explosive. Johnny had a great game, along with Devonte. They did some great things. We had some good explosive plays. We came out a little slow after the half. We have to do a better job of being more focused coming out of the locker room in the second half offensively, but overall a good night. There are things we have to grow on and get better at but we are 1-0.”
That explosiveness will be put to the test in the Rebels next game. UNLV travels to Pasadena for a road matchup with the UCLA Bruins. Fans can get a first look at UNLV’s next opponent tomorrow, when UCLA meets Texas A&M in College Station. Boyd knows that after Friday, the UNLV focus turns from the Jackson State win to September 10th and the Rose Bowl.
“This game is done and it was great, but coach says 24 hour rule, win or lose, and it’s on to the next opponent. We all have to put in the same work and go even harder in practice and play the game next week.”