Las Vegas, Nev.----- For the second week in a row, opponent big plays in the second quarter was San Jose State University's downfall.
A 56-yard scoring burst by running back Lexington Thomas, a 44-yard pass from Armani Rogers to wide receiver Brandon Presley and a blocked punt for the second week in a row that led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Thomas in a 5:30 span propelled UNLV to a 41-13 win over the Spartans in a Mountain West football game.
Though the Spartans (1-5, 0-2 Mountain West) had their best offensive output with 462 yards since beating Cal Poly the second week of the season, San Jose State settled for a pair of Bryce Crawford field goals in the first half when drives stalled in the red zone and was on the wrong end of a pair of pass interceptions that stopped third quarter drives. After Crawford's second field goal, the Spartans trailed, 14-6, with 8:53 left in the second quarter.
UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers had a big night against the Spartans throwing for two touchdowns and scoring the Rebels' first two scores of the night on a pair of 7-yard runs for a 14-3 lead. Rogers completed 11-of-16 passes for 203 yards, but was 7-for-7 in the first half as the Rebels (2-2, 1-0 Mountain West) established control of the game. UNLV finished with 548 yards of total offense, 345 of them on the ground.
The Spartans had problems stopping Thomas when they needed. The #2-rusher in the country showed why with 146 yards on 18 carries and two scores. On his long scoring run, only one Spartan had a chance to tackle near the line of scrimmage. The rest of the way was Thomas showing off his football speed.
The Spartans closed out a disappointing first half with its only touchdown of the game on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Josh Love to JaQuan Blackwell to trim the deficit to 35-13. Love had career highs for number of completions with 30 and passing yards with 315 going 30-of-48 with two interceptions for 315 yards and a touchdown.
Blackwell and freshman Tre Walker, seeing the most playing time he's had in a game this season each caught eight passes. The Spartans also got a boost in the running game from another freshman, Tyler Nevens, who gained 94 yards on 17 carries.
San Jose State will look to break a four-game losing streak, Saturday, October 7, when it hosts Fresno State for Homecoming. Kickoff at CEFCU Stadium is at 4:30 p.m. and ESPN3 will broadcast the game.