Cal striving for better start vs. improved UNLV

·2 min read

After Cal got off to a slow start last week against UC Davis, the Golden Bears sorted out their opening-game issues and rolled over their lower-division rival for a three-touchdown victory.

Now Cal faces a team that won just two games last season but showed last week it might be vastly improved.

UNLV can equal its win total from the previous two seasons combined Saturday when it visits Cal at Berkeley, Calif.

The Rebels, who went 2-10 last year after going 0-6 during a COVID-19-impacted season, jumped out to a 45-7 lead at the half against visiting Idaho State en route to a 55-21 win.

UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield went 21 of 25 for 356 yards and threw four first-half touchdowns.

Ricky White had two first-half receiving touchdowns for the Rebels and by halftime had 182 receiving yards. White had touchdown receptions of 72 and 19 yards in the second quarter before he and Brumfield and several other starters were able to root on their teammates from the sideline in the second half.

UNLV finished with 554 total yards, including 405 through the air. The Rebels' 45 first-half points were the second-most in school history, trailing only the 52 points scored against Idaho State in an 80-8 triumph in 2015.

"It was big for an offense to have that confidence and momentum," Brumfield said. "In a lot of games last year, we weren't able to do that. So to come out this year in our first game and execute is very big."

Cal wasn't nearly as dominant in its season opener. After being held to minus-1 yard in the first quarter while trailing 7-0, the Golden Bears scored the game's next 24 points and cruised to victory.

"It was like, 'Guys, it probably couldn't have gone too much worse,' " Cal coach Justin Wilcox said. "We got that out of us and then settled down and moved the ball down the field."

Cal QB Jack Plummer went 23 for 35 for 268 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for the Bears and Jaydn Ott ran for 104 yards on 15 carries in becoming the first Cal freshman to rush for more than 100 yards in his first college game since 2008, when Shane Vereen ran for 101 yards against Michigan State.

In the first minute of the second half, Craig Woodson picked off a UC Davis pass and returned it interception 39 yards for a touchdown, turning a 17-7 edge into a 24-7 lead.

--Field Level Media