After getting a much needed win against Fresno State last week, UNLV went into this week looking to get the upper hand against division leader San Diego State.
Unfortunately, after keeping the game close in the first half, the Rebels’ offense was unable to move the ball and San Diego State, with the help of their defense, held UNLV to only one touchdown as they cruised to a 26-7 victory.
Wasting little time getting on the board, San Diego State took only four plays to find paydirt as quarterback Christian Chapman connected with running back Rashaad Penny on a 41 yard pass to put the Aztecs up 7-0. Unfortunately for the Rebels, their first drive was not as productive.
On the first play, quarterback Dalton Sneed was intercepted by cornerback Derek Babiash, but the Aztecs were only able to fester up a field goal to extend their lead to 10-0.
From there, both offenses stalled as neither team was able to sustain a drive. As the game began to shift into a defensive battle, it was UNLV who stepped up first. With 10:35 left in the second quarter, UNLV’s Jeremiah Valoaga sacked Chapman for an 8 yard loss, forcing a fumble in the process.
The loose ball was recovered by Dominic Baldwin, who ran it back 20 yards for the touchdown, cutting the Aztec lead to only three points.
Despite the momentum boost from the defense, the Rebels offense continued to falter, but so did San Diego State. The Aztecs ended the first half with a field goal, extending their lead by six points at 13-7.
The second half started the same way the first half ended, with neither team doing much of anything. However, San Diego State finally broke through after star running back Donnel Pumphrey broke free for a 9 yard touchdown run, extending the team’s lead to 20-7. The team would go on to put the finishing touches on their victory with a 4 yard Rashaad Penny run late in the fourth.
With the loss, UNLV drops to 2-4 on the season, and 1-1 in conference play. They will take on Hawai’i next Saturday.