Depending on the perspective, this is either the best time or the worst time for UNLV to travel to South Bend, Ind., to get its first chance to play Notre Dame.
On the plus side for the Rebels, the Fighting Irish (3-3) have lost two of their three home games this season, including last week’s 16-14 stunner to Stanford.
(To put those two home losses into context — and just how much of an outrage it has inspired — former head coach Brian Kelly won 30 of his last 31 games at Notre Dame Stadium dating back to September 2017.)
“It’s been a long 48 hours trying to figure out what the heck happened on Saturday, and why we didn’t execute the way we have been previously and what we have to do to fix it,” first-year Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said Monday.
“You’re evaluating everything. Why haven’t we played as well at home? Why haven’t we played as well, really, versus maybe opponents that haven’t been ranked as high? And it starts from the top-down and looking at everything we do. The way we prepare. The way we motivate. What we do on game days. What we do at home versus what we do away. There is not just one answer because if there was, we would fix it.”
On the minus side for UNLV (4-3, 2-2 Mountain West), the Irish have lost two of their three home games this season, and that has inspired them to dig in and try to grow throughout this week’s practices.
“It’s a lot easier to do that, maybe, when you’re down,” Freeman said. “Because nobody wants to lose.”
UNLV should have the same mindset because it heads to Indiana after suffering a 42-7 loss to Air Force and a 40-7 loss to San Jose State.
The Rebels didn’t have starting quarterback Doug Brumfield (68.4 completion percentage, 1,231 yards, eight touchdowns) last week against Air Force due to a concussion, then top running back Aidan Robbins (591 yards, eight touchdowns) went out early in the second quarter with a knee injury.
UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo announced Monday that Brumfield is day-to-day with his concussion. He did not offer an update on Robbins.
“We need to get healthy as a team, that’s obvious,” Arroyo said. “We’ve got a lot of new guys in starting, contributing roles that we need to get developed as quickly as we can.”
–Field Level Media