LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Notre Dame used a dominant first quarter on its way to a 44-21 victory over visiting UNLV on Saturday, the first meeting between the two schools in football.
The Rebels did get an offensive push from Courtney Reese, replacing injured starter Aidan Robbins (knee). Reese had runs of 74 and 47 yards to set up a pair of touchdowns. But the Rebels couldn’t rev up their passing game without quarterback Doug Brumfield (concussion protocol).
The Rebels used Cameron Friel and Harrison Bailey in place of Brumfield. But the two combined for 153 yards passing. Friel was 8-for-15 for 80 yards, Bailey 9-for-18 for 73 yards.
The Rebels (4-4) also had no success converting on third down, going 0-for-12.
“Great opportunity for us to come out and be in a game like this,” Rebels coach Marcus Arroyo said of the matchup before 73,165 at Notre Dame Stadium. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to produce and execute a little better. But there was a lot of pride out there and a lot of fight. Our guys understand what our locker room is like these days, the determination, the will and all of the stuff that we’re trying to teach as a culture to continue to play hard.
“We’re in the middle round of a heavyweight fight (this season).”
The Irish (4-3) got a pair of blocked punts from Isaiah Foskey in the opening quarter that they converted into 10 points. Mike Mayer caught six passes for 115 yards for Notre Dame, including a 20-yarder for a touchdown.
Reese finished with 142 yards rushing on 11 carries. He entered the game with 299 career yards in four seasons with UNLV.
Reese’s long scampers set up touchdowns runs of 2 yards and 1 yard by Jordan Younge-Humphrey. Bailey also ran 2 yards in the third quarter for the Rebels’ other TD.
Nohl Williams had an interception and a fumble recovery for the Rebels.
UNLV is idle this week and returns to play a Mountain West game at San Diego State on Nov. 5. Kickoff is 4 p.m. (CBS Sports Network).