Knock off SEC opponent to improve to 2-1 on the season
The UNLV Rebels battled back after trailing 17-0 in the first quarter on a late field goal, 40-37. UNLV improves to 2-1 on the season.
Freshman QB Jayden Maiava comes off the bench to rally Rebels past Vanderbilt at Allegiant Stadium Photo credit Lucas Peltier/UNLV

UNLV came from 17 points down in the first quarter to defeat Southereastern Conference opponent Vanderbilt in a wild finish, 40-37.

The Rebels (2-1) got off to the slow start from its first series. Starting QB Doug Brumfield threw a pick six to the Commodores' Martel Height, who returned it for 37 yards. Brumfield was knocked out of the game early. It looked like he could have a lower back injury and freshman Jayden Maiava took over at QB. Maiava has shown poise in the two early season games, and he even led the Rebels on their lone TD drive in Ann Arbor the week before. Maiava stepped up on the big stage. He rushed for a 24-yard touchdown, completed 19 of 33 passes for 261 yards, and threw a touchdown too.

The Rebels scored 30 straight points as Vanderbilt kept giving UNLV gifts on fumbles and interceptions. But Vandy rallied themselves to tie the game at 30 with under five minutes to go.

Maiava found the speedy Jacob De Jesus for his first Rebel touchdown from 48 yards out. Then the Rebels blew coverage in the secondary and the games was tied again, this time at 37 apiece. It appeared as though the game was heading to overtime, following a Vandy interception of Maiava, but placekicker Jacob Borcila kicked a potential go-ahead field goal attempt just wide of the right upright.

After that, the poised freshman Maiava, from Liberty High School in nearby Henderson, NV. found Ricky White on a 48 yard pattern toward the far sideline. He smartly ran out of bounds. And, Jose Pizano calmly booted a 36-yard field goal with :04 to go to give UNLV the victory.

Vanderbilt (2-2) has made a lot of mistakes over the past two weeks. In Saturday's game, they fumbled five times and lost three of the miscues. One cost the Commodores on a Jerrae Williams scoop and score touchdown.

For UNLV it was the fifth biggest comeback in school history, after the Rebels trailed 17-0. But they came back to lead 20-17 at halftime. UNLV's Rickey White had 12 receptions for 165 yards. Fred Thompkins was the Rebels leading tackler with 10. Jerrae Williams had eight tackles, including a sack and he recovered the fumble before the half and ran in it from 41-yards to tie the game a 17.

UNLV travels to El Paso to play at 1-2 UTEP Saturday. Kickoff time is 6pm PT.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV