UNLV Football: Jacob De Jesus Named Jet Award Finalist

The Rebels return specialist broke out in a big way this season and is a finalist to be named the college football’s best.

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UNLV Football: Jacob De Jesus Named Jet Award Finalist


The Rebels return specialist broke out in a big way this season and is a finalist to be named the college football’s best.


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS and @MWCwire

Will a Vegas ace get his due?

The UNLV Rebels have received plenty of help from new contributors during one of the program’s best seasons ever, but few have stood out like Jose Pizano, who was named today as one of three finalists for the Jet Award, named after former Nebraska great Johnny Rodgers and given annually to college football’s top return specialist.

De Jesus joins USC’s Zacariah Branch and Marshall’s Jayden Harrison in the running for this award. He was brought to Las Vegas from Modesto Junior College in California, part of UNLV’s 2023 recruiting class, and didn’t need a lot of time to generate buzz in spring practice. In the fall, he served as UNLV’s top slot receiver and returned both punts and kicks for the Rebels, ranking fourth among all FBS players with 16.1 yards per punt return and 14th with 26.3 yards per kickoff return.

According to Mike’l Severe, the executive director of the Jet Award Foundation, the winner will be announced after bowl season and presented with the honor on April 4, 2024.

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UNLV Football: Jose Pizano Is MWwire’s 2023 Special Teams Player Of The Year

The Rebels kicker replaced a program great with ease and won the nod as Mountain West football’s best specialist.

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UNLV Football: Jose Pizano Is MWwire’s 2023 Special Teams Player Of The Year


The Rebels kicker replaced a program great with ease and won the nod as Mountain West football’s best specialist.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

A key leg up on the competition.

Mountain West Wire’s 2023 postseason honors:

All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the YearFreshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year

Mountain West football was once again flush with reliable special teams contributors in 2023, but UNLV kicker Jose Pizano comfortably thrived in what might have been a difficult situation and earned the right to be named as our staff’s pick as the conference’s top specialist.

Pizano transferred to the Rebels last off-season from Missouri State, where he’d twice earned all-Missouri Valley Conference honors before being tasked to replace Daniel Gutierrez in Las Vegas this season. Despite the big shoes to fill, the Lehi, Utah native thrived and connected on 23-of-25 field goals and 50-of-50 extra points, posting 119 points in all. For his efforts, he was also recently named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, though the scarlet and gray faithful may already claim him as the best kicker in the country.

Also received votes: Jack Browning, P/K, San Diego State; Jonah Dalmas, K, Boise State; James Ferguson-Reynolds, P, Boise State; Jacob De Jesus, KR/PR, UNLV; Tory Horton, PR, Colorado State; Marshall Nichols, P, UNLV

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UNLV Football: Jayden Maiava Is MWwire’s 2023 Freshman Of The Year

The Rebels quarterback answered the bell and then some when given a chance, making him the pick as Mountain West football’s top freshman.

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UNLV Football: Jayden Maiava Is MWwire’s 2023 Freshman Of The Year


The Rebels quarterback answered the bell and then some when given a chance, making him the runaway selection as Mountain West football’s top freshman.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

A Las Vegas product makes good at home.

Mountain West Wire’s 2023 postseason honors:

All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the YearFreshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year

Even in historic college football seasons, not everything goes according to plan. Thankfully for the UNLV Rebels, they had one of the nation’s best overall backup plans in quarterback Jayden Maiava, who earned our bid as the Mountain West’s best freshman in 2023.

Maiava began the year as the QB2 to incumbent starter Doug Brumfield, but when Brumfield was knocked out of commission against Vanderbilt in September, the Las Vegas native didn’t waste an opportunity to make a strong first impression, rallying the Rebels to a victory against the Commodores. He eventually settled into the starting job for good, finishing the regular season with a 64.1% completion rate, 2,626 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Also received votes: Pofele Ashlock, WR, Hawaii; Kage Casey, OT, Boise State; Devon Dampier, QB, New Mexico; Paul Fitzgerald, DE, Utah State; Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, QB, Colorado State; Derrick Moore, S, New Mexico; Jai’Den Thomas, RB, UNLV

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UNLV Football: Barry Odom Is MWwire’s 2023 Head Coach Of The Year

The Rebels reached nearly unprecedented heights this fall, which made Odom our unanimous pick as the Mountain West’s top leader.

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UNLV Football: Barry Odom Is MWwire’s 2023 Head Coach Of The Year


The Rebels reached nearly unprecedented heights this fall, which made Odom our unanimous pick as the Mountain West’s top leader.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

An off-Strip sensation this season.

Mountain West Wire’s 2023 postseason honors:

All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the YearFreshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year

For as long as the Mountain West has existed, “UNLV football head coach” has been one of the toughest jobs in the country… until this year.

Rebels head coach Barry Odom earned our vote as the conference’s top coach by doing what was considered seemingly impossible by many: Build a winner in the desert. Despite an unexpected quarterback switch and other injuries on both sides of the ball, Odom’s team displayed tenacity throughout the season and finished the regular season with a 9-3 record, appearing in the program’s first conference championship game ever.

It marked the first time in nearly 40 years that the program had won so many games in one season, and though the Rebels eventually came up short against Boise State, UNLV still finished 62nd nationally by FEI and 60th by SP+. Both represent high-water marks for the program’s time in the Mountain West. While it remains to be seen what he can do for an encore, 2023 will go down as a season for the ages in Las Vegas no matter what.

Also received votes: Blake Anderson, Utah State; Craig Bohl, Wyoming; Brent Brennan, San Jose State; Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Timmy Chang, Hawaii; Spencer Danielson, Boise State

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UNLV Football: Brennan Marion Is MWwire’s 2023 Coordinator Of The Year

The Rebels offensive coordinator was a key figure in the team’s rise and the overwhelming pick as Mountain West football’s top assistant.

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UNLV Football: Brennan Marion Is MWwire’s 2023 Coordinator Of The Year


The Rebels offensive coordinator was a key figure in the team’s rise and the overwhelming pick as Mountain West football’s top assistant.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

A worthwhile show in Las Vegas this season.

Mountain West Wire’s 2023 postseason honors:

All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the YearFreshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year

Coordinators don’t often generate the kind of excitement that Brennan Marion brought with him to UNLV, but the Rebels offensive coordinator proved once again to be the real deal and has been tabbed to be our choice as the Mountain West’s best assistant coach.

The raw numbers speak for themselves: Marion’s offense led the Mountain West by scoring 35.5 points per game and ranked fifth by averaging 6.11 yards per play, the latter of which marked UNLV’s highest per-play output since 2017. It generated the conference leader in receiving yards thanks to Ricky White (1,386) and featured a quartet of running backs who combined to score 31 rushing touchdowns, though in general they rarely missed an opportunity to put points on the board since the Rebels also led the conference by scoring on 94.3% of red zone opportunities.

While there’s always the chance Marion’s tenure in Las Vegas could be brief — he recently interviewed for the head coaching job at UTEP, for instance — he provided proof that the long-suffering UNLV football program can, in fact, develop a winner.

Also received votes: Kyle Cefalo, OC, Utah State; Spencer Danielson, DC, Boise State; Bush Hamdan, OC, Boise State; Brian Knorr, DC, Air Force Kurt Mattix, DC, San Diego State; Kevin McGiven, OC, San Jose State; Matt Mumme, OC, Colorado State; Bryant Vincent, OC, New Mexico

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Mountain West Wire’s 2023 Postseason All-Conference Football Team

Who did our staff pick as the best of the best in Mountain West football this season?

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Mountain West Wire Presents Its 2023 Postseason All-Mountain West Football Teams


Our staff has made its selections for the best of Mountain West football as we close out the 2023 season.


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

Only the best of the best make the cut.

Mountain West Wire’s 2023 postseason honors:

All-Conference Teams | Offensive Player of the Year | Defensive Player of the Year | Special Teams Player of the YearFreshman of the Year | Newcomer of the Year | Coach of the Year | Coordinator of the Year

With the Mountain West’s regular season in the books and the conference championship game just one day away, our staff here at Mountain West Wire has once again put its collective heads together to create our fifth annual postseason all-Mountain West football team.

If you’re interested in seeing how these selections stack up against our preseason picks, click here. Alternatively, you can click the following links to find our postseason honorees from 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018.

As always, our all-conference roster goes four deep and attempts to best reflect the variety of offenses and defenses we see week in and week out throughout the conference:

  • We vote for a Defensive Flex player to better reflect that some units — like Boise State, San Diego State, and Wyoming — often operate with five defensive backs or a nickelback/linebacker hybrid in their 3-3-5 or 4-2-5.
  • We split our linebacker selections into two, inside and outside, as we’d previously differentiated between centers, guards, and tackles on the offensive lines and between interior linemen and edge rushers on defense.
  • We vote for three wide receivers instead of two.

If you disagree with our choices, feel free to let us know what you’d have done differently on Twitter or Facebook.

First Team

Offense

QB – Chevan Cordeiro, San Jose State
RB – Ashton Jeanty, Boise State
RB – Jacory Croskey-Merritt, New Mexico
RB – Kairee Robinson, San Jose State
WR – Tory Horton, Colorado State
WR – Ricky White, UNLV
WR – Jalen Royals, Utah State
TE – Dallin Holker, Colorado State
C – Thor Paglialong, Air Force
G – Mark Hiestand, Air Force
G – Wesley Ndago, Air Force
T – Adam Karas, Air Force
T – Cade Beresford, Boise State

Defense

DT – Jordan Bertagnole, Wyoming
DT – Payton Zdroik, Air Force
DE – Mohamed Kamara, Colorado State
DE – Ahmed Hassanein, Boise State
OLB – Jackson Woodard, UNLV
OLB – Bo Richter, Air Force
ILB – Easton Gibbs, Wyoming
ILB – MJ Tafisi, Utah State
CB – Cameron Oliver, UNLV
CB – Jay’Vion Cole, San Jose State
CB – Carlton Johnson, Fresno State
S – Ike Larsen, Utah State
S – Wyatt Ekeler, Wyoming
FLEX – Morice Norris Jr., Fresno State

Special Teams

K – Jose Pizano, UNLV
P – James Ferguson-Reynolds, Boise State
KR – Jacob De Jesus, UNLV
PR – Jacob De Jesus, UNLV

Second Team

Offense

QB – Jayden Maiava, UNLV
RB – Malik Sherrod, Fresno State
RB – Emmanuel Michel, Air Force
WR – Steven McBride, Hawaii
WR – Terrell Vaughn, Utah State
WR – Pofele Ashlock, Hawaii
TE – Mark Redman, San Diego State
C – Jacob Gardner, Colorado State
G – Mose Vavao, Fresno State
G – Wes King, Wyoming
T – Frank Crum, Wyoming
T – Kage Casey, Boise State

Defense

DT – Soane Toia, San Jose State
DT – Cole Godbout, Wyoming
DE – P.J. Ramsey, Air Force
DE – Tre Smith, San Jose State
OLB – Levelle Bailey, Fresno State
OLB – Andrew Simpson, Boise State
ILB – Alec Mock, Air Force
ILB – Bryun Parham, San Jose State
CB – Noah Tumblin, San Diego State
CB – Donte Martin, New Mexico
S – Trey Taylor, Air Force
S – Jack Howell, Colorado State
FLEX – Seyi Oladipo, Boise State

Special Teams

K – Jonah Dalmas, Boise State
P – Marshall Nichols, UNLV
KR – Jaelen Gill, Fresno State
PR – Tory Horton, Colorado State

UNLV Rebels Fell to Boise State 44-20 in Mountain West Championship

The UNLV Rebels hosted the Boise State Broncos in the Mountain West Conference Championship

The UNLV Rebels hosted the Boise State Broncos in the Mountain West Conference Championship. There were 31,473 fans in attendance, but that did not matter to the Broncos as they beat the Rebels 44-20.

The early part of the game was a back-and-forth, and both teams scored 14 points in the first quarter. UNLV’s touchdowns came on a five-yard rush from Vincent Davis Jr. and then a thrilling 47-yard interception return by linebacker Fred Thompkins to even things up.

However, Boise State converted two Rebel turnovers into 10 points en route to taking a 31-17 halftime lead, limiting the hosts to three points after the break, and never looking back after that, outscoring UNLV 13-3 in the second half.

Unable to Stop the Run

The Rebels’ run defense could not stop the Broncos rushing attack, as they rushed for 301 yards. Ashton Jeanty led Boise State with 153 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. George Holani added 76 yards, along with quarterback Taylen Green rushing for 90 yards and two touchdowns. One of Green’s touchdowns was a 70-yard run. It is hard to win games, giving up 301 rushing yards and 5.9 yards per carry.

Turnovers

Rebels quarterback Jayden Maiava had a tough day at the office, turning the ball over three times (two interceptions and a loss fumble). He passed for 166 yards but threw no touchdowns.

Unable to Run the Ball

It was a tough day for the Rebels as the Broncos took away their rushing attack. UNLV rushed for 81 yards on 28 rush attempts, which is suitable for 2.9 yards per carry. Vincent Davis Jr. led the team in rushing with 55 yards and a touchdown.

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Ultimately, the Broncos had an old-school football mentality: run the ball and stop the run, and they executed it well. They also had efficient quarterback play, while Green only threw 15 times; he did complete 12 of those attempts. Green also threw two touchdown passes.

PODCAST: Mountain West Football Recap, Boise State Tops UNLV

PODCAST: Mountain West Football Recap, Boise State Tops UNLV Plus some coaching news Contact/Follow @MWCwire Broncos get the job done Jeremy and Josh are back to recap the 2023 Mountain West football championship which saw Boise State dominate UNLV, …

PODCAST: Mountain West Football Recap, Boise State Tops UNLV


Plus some coaching news


Contact/Follow @MWCwire

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Broncos get the job done

Jeremy and Josh are back to recap the 2023 Mountain West football championship which saw Boise State dominate UNLV, 44-20. They also get into the latest coaching news and if the Rebels will be keeping Barry Odom for another year in 2024.

Colorado State is not bowl eligible after its loss to Hawaii, there is a firing in New Mexico, and Fresno State keeps free falling.

The two also get into the latest on the coaching news in the Mountain West.

You can find the Mountain West Wire podcast below or subscribe to the show via TuneInSpotifyiTunes, and more. Listen in, subscribe and rate it and let us know what you think!

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UNLV Football: Rebels To Face Kansas In Guaranteed Rate Bowl

The Rebels fell short in their quest for a conference title, but they can end one of their best years ever with a win against the Jayhawks.

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UNLV Football: Rebels To Face Kansas In Guaranteed Rate Bowl


The Rebels came up short in their quest for a conference title, but they can still end one of their best seasons ever with a win against the Jayhawks.


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

The Rebels are bowling for the first time in a while.

Generally speaking, not much was expected of the UNLV Rebels this fall, but the program defied expectations and will head to their first bowl since 2013 when they square off with the Big 12’s Kansas Jayhawks in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

UNLV had high internal expectations for itself, however, dismissing former head coach Marcus Arroyo last off-season and bringing in Barry Odom to replace him. In Odom’s first year at the helm, the Rebels posted a 9-4 record, the first time the program had won that many games since winning 11 in 1984, and reached the Mountain West championship game for the first time. Though they fell short on Saturday against Boise State, UNLV still has a chance to reach double-digit wins for the first time in 40 years.

Kansas, meanwhile, continued their renaissance under head coach Lance Leipold and won eight games for the first time since 2008. The highwater mark came in defeating Oklahoma at home back in late October, though they’ll have the rare opportunity to defeat both teams from the Silver State having beaten Nevada on the road in non-conference play.

This year’s Guaranteed Rate Bowl is set for Tuesday, December 26. It will be broadcast on ESPN, kicking off at 6:00 PM Pacific/7:00 PM Mountain.

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Final Mountain West Bowl Projections

Final Mountain West Bowl Projections Seven teams in a bowl game Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire Two bowl teams know their destination The complete regular season is in the books and there will be seven Mountain West teams going bowling. The …

Final Mountain West Bowl Projections


Seven teams in a bowl game


Contact/Follow @JeremyMauss & @MWCwire

Two bowl teams know their destination

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The complete regular season is in the books and there will be seven Mountain West teams going bowling. The Hawaii Bowl is confirmed with San Jose State taking on Coastal Carolina and with Boise State’s win over UNLV in the Mountain West title game they are going to the newly named Gronk LA Bowl.

As for the rest, this info will trick out later on Sunday as bowl teams get to pick their teams as the Mountain West doesn’t go in order of finish but bowls pick in order.

While there are bowl lineups tied with the Mountain West, but with ESPN owning a lot of bowl games there likely will be some switching going on.

BOWL LINEUP

– Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs MAC
– Gronk LA Bowl vs Pac-12
– New Mexico Bowl vs Conference USA
– Barstool Arizona Bowl vs MAC
– EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl vs American Athletic

Mountain West has an affiliation to fill if needed …
– Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs Big Ten or Big 12

To be determined among the Group of Five conferences … as other options
– Duluth Trading Co. Cure Bowl Pool vs. Pool
– Frisco Bowl Pool vs. Pool
– RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl Pool vs. Pool
– SERVPRO First Responder Bowl AAC vs. Pool

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