Many felt that this matchup against UNLV would be a trap game for the Chippewas, who had a huge upset the previous week against a ranked Oklahoma State squad on the road. The chips also have a matchup against Power Five opponent Virgina next week, making today’s game a potential opportunity for the Rebs.
Early on, it looked like CMU felt that pressure, going three-and-out on their first drive and then giving up a blocked punt touchdown to UNLV’s Charles Williams, giving UNLV an early 7-0 advantage.
Cooper Rush and the Chippewas struck right back with 14 unanswered points on a 30-yard touchdown to Jesse Kroll and a 26-yard touchdown to Mark Chapman, both of which were daggers down the middle.
UNLV put on a show to start the second quarter, with an 85-yard rushing touchdown for the Rebs courtesy of Lexington Thomas and a 13-yard passing touchdown from Johnny Stanton to Darren Woods Jr.
That’s as close as the Rebs would get.
Rush would go on to finish 20-of-33 for 352 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. The six touchdowns were a single-game record at Kelly/Shorts Stadium and was the second-highest total for Rush in his career, behind his seven touchdown performance in the classic 2014 Bahamas Bowl.
Rush also surpassed the 10,000 career passing yards mark on the 30-yard Kroll TD.
Mark Chapman (6 rec., 108 yards and two touchdowns) and Corey Willis (two touchdowns) were the leading receivers on the day for CMU. Brandon Childress also scored his first career touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The CMU defense held UNLV to 313 total yards on the game, shutting out the Rebs in the second half after a shaky first half, even collecting a safety on a blocked punt towards the end of the game
The only negative for CMU was in the kicking game. Brian Eavey missed three field goals on the day, all from around 40 yards. Cooper Mojsiejenko also lost some reps to Jack Sheldon after his blocked punt. Coach John Bonamego, a 16-year NFL special teams coach, will probably have some issues with their performances this week.
Stanton struggled to get the passing game going all day, finishing 15-of-41 for 131 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Thomas was the leading rusher for the Rebels, going 113 yards on 17 carries, scoring once on the 85 yard run.
The teams were about even in time of possession, with CMU edging out UNLV 31:54 to 28:06, but CMU held considerable gaps in total yards (499 to 313) and first downs (23 to 15) and won the turnover battle (1 to 2), to secure the victory.
Next week, CMU travels to Charlottesville to play the Virginia Cavaliers at 12:30 EDT. The game can be viewed on Fox Sports South.