UNLV bounces back with dominant win at New Mexico

Lucas Peltier-UNLV Athletics
UNLV moves to 7-2 and keeps their Mountain West title hopes alive with dominant victory at New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM–UNLV rebounded from last week’s heartbreaking finish with a resounding 56-14 victory at New Mexico on Saturday afternoon. The Rebels dominated in all three phases on their way to a victory that keeps them in the Mountain West title picture.

Fast start

The Rebels jumped on New Mexico pretty much immediately. After New Mexico’s opening drive stalled, star return man Jacob De Jesus ripped off his first of three long punt returns, this one for 58-yards, to set UNLV up at New Mexico’s 30-yard line.

On the their first play from scrimmage, Jayden Maiava found his favorite target Ricky White for a 30-yard touchdown that began a dominant Saturday for the Rebels.

UNLV started their second possession on New Mexico’s 32-yard line after a bungled snap on the punt attempt. Five plays later, Vincent Davis Jr. found the end zone for his first of two touchdowns to stretch the Rebel lead to two touchdowns.

New Mexico offered their only response on their ensuing possession, capping off a 12-play drive with a short Andrew Henry touchdown run to open the second quarter.

First half onslaught

From this moment on, UNLV would go on a 42-0 run before a garbage time New Mexico touchdown in the dying minutes of the game. Between the midway point of the second quarter and the end of the third, UNLV outscored New Mexico 35-0.

UNLV went up 21-7 with nine minutes remaining in the first half, capping off a 10-play drive with Vincent Davis Jr.’s second touchdown run of the game from five yards out.

On New Mexico’s ensuing possession, the Rebel defense forced a fumble that was picked up by DB Jett Elad and returned 62-yards to New Mexico’s five-yard line. Donavyn Lester wasted no time, punching it in on one carry to stretch the Rebel lead to three touchdowns just past the midway point of the second quarter.

UNLV took advantage of De Jesus’ second long punt return of the game, this time needing just three plays to go 21-yards for the score. Courtney Reese got the touchdown honors from two-yards out as UNLV stretched their lead to 35-7, where it would remain at half.

Early daggers in the second half

With the Lobos backs already firmly placed against the wall to begin the second half, UNLV’s Go-Go offense wasted absolutely no time putting the final nails in their coffin.

On UNLV’s first drive of the third quarter, they went up 42-7 after Maiava found senior receiver Dominic Gicinito for Gicinto’s first touchdown since September 2021.

On their second possession of the third quarter, the game proverbially ended when Maiava hit none other than Ricky White for a 59-yard touchdown completion. Jose Pizano’s seventh successful extra point in as many attempts pushed UNLV’s lead to 49-7.

With just over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, the game officially shifted to garbage time as UNLV took their foot off the gas and eventually pulled starters.

Backup QB Cameron Friel added a late touchdown run for the Rebels, who also gave up an aforementioned garbage time touchdown.

Starter Jayden Maiava went 13/18 passing with 247 yards and three touchdowns. Ricky White caught eight passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns, while Dominic Jacinto added three catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Vincent Davis Jr. led UNLV in rushing, taking nine carries for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Star freshman Jai’den Thomas ran for 49 yards on 10 carries.

Next game

UNLV takes on Wyoming at home on Friday night. The game will be nationally televised, with a 7:45 p.m. local time kickoff at Allegiant Stadium.