A reoccurring theme this year for UNLV has plagued them once again, offensive struggles. Much of the worry at the beginning of the season was if the defense would improve its play, it has, and the offense has taken steps back.There are plenty examples from the season of the defense playing well enough to keep UNLV in a game, but the offense would drop the ball.
On Saturday against Hawaii, the Rebel defense held its own against an explosive Hawaii offense, but the offense could only muster seven points in a 21-7 defeat.
There were plenty of chances for the Rebels to take control of the game, thanks to its defense. They stole the show in the first quarter with three turnovers. The Rebels forced three turnovers, a Javin White fumble recovery and two interceptions by Jericho Flowers.
UNLV capitalized on the fumble recovery, with a quick offensive drive into the endzone. Kenyon Oblad found Darren Woods across the middle of the field and Woods took it 31 yards for a touchdown.
Struggling on offense, Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich made a change at quarterback. He benched Chevan Cordeiro, who threw two interceptions, with Cole McDonald. It proved to be the turning point of the game.
The Rebels held a seven-point lead throughout a majority of the second quarter. Lead by McDonald, Hawaii put its first points on the scoreboard thanks to a one-yard McDonald rush, capping off a 10 play, 90-yard drive. The two teams went into the half tied at 7-7.
With points at a premium, Hawaii set up for a field goal attempt to try and break up a 7-7 tie. The kick was blocked by UNLV’s Montrice Johns and the game remained tied.
Late in the third quarter, Oblad badly overthrew Randall Grimes and it was intercepted. Cortez Davis returned it 43 yards for a touchdown, and Hawaii took its first lead of the game, 14-7.
UNLV had a chance to cut the deficit to one score, but Oblad gave it away again. He threw another interception, this time to Paul Scott.
Hawaii added another touchdown with another Cole McDonald rush in the fourth quarter to extend its lead to 21-7, which would be the final score.
It was another abysmal performance for the UNLV offense. The Rebels only had 235 yards of total offense. Oblad struggled once again, he only completed 45% of his passes (10/22), and he threw two interceptions.
The Rebel run game was not terrible, they just did not commit to it enough. Chad Magyar and Charles Williams combined for only 23 carries and 125 yards between the two of them. UNLV did not have the ball enough (a 13 minute difference in time of possession) and made too many mistakes.
This is the seventh game this season UNLV has failed to score at least 20 points.
The loss is UNLV’s fourth straight defeat. The Rebels are 2-8 and still winless, 0-6 in the Mountain West Conference.
Two games remain on the Rebels’ schedule. UNLV will play its final game at Sam Boyd Stadium next Saturday against San Jose State at 1pm. Then it’s a trip up north for a Battle of the Fremont Cannon against UNR.