It’s to be expected that a former-quarterback-turned coach would protect his QB regarding a key big play in a Mountain West game that UNLV won 31-20 against UNM on Friday.
Rebels coach Marcus Arroyo took it to another level, however, as he called UNM linebacker Cody Moon’s hit on UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield a “cheap shot,” according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Brumfield appeared to have one foot out of bounds just as Moon arrived with a big hit with just over 8 minutes left and UNLV leading 24-20.
Brumfield appeared to be unresponsive after the hit.
Arroyo, who played as a quarterback at San Jose State, said that medical protocols were followed, the Sun reported.
Arroyo said he liked the way the Rebels responded.
“I’m fine,” Brumfield said after the game. “It’s part of the game. You get hit.”
Moon was also flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct as he remained on the UNLV sideline and shouted at Rebels players while linebacker Dion Hunter also shouted. Arroyo got in front of Moon as Moon backed up.
UNM coach Danny Gonzales said he didn’t get an explanation from referees about what took place after Moon’s hit. The coach believed there was enough mayhem for there to be offsetting penalties.
“This is a crucial time in our program because this is about learning how to win,” Gonzales said. “This is about learning how to overcome adversity and handling your emotions and not letting big plays overtake the game. If they get a big play on either side of the ball you brush it off and move on. We’re still not very good at that. We need to continue to learn how to control that part of it. There’s going to be a bunch of ups and downs in a game. You just can’t overreact.”
Gonzales said on Friday night he wanted to watch the play again on video, but he thought Brumfield was in the field of play when Moon made the hit.
Gonzales will be available to the media on Tuesday. He’ll be on a radio show Monday morning.
“I don’t think it was a dirty play at all,” Gonzales said after the game. “The quarterback was trying to gain yards. If the quarterback was giving himself up then it’s another different scenario. But I don’t think he was giving himself up. I’ll have to watch it on tape.”
Gonzales added that because the hit was so vicious on a quarterback, that also caused the hit-out-of-bounds penalty to be called on Moon.
UNM senior safety Jerrick Reed II said as a leader on the team he should hold his defensive teammates to a higher standard. He said he was OK with the initial penalty because it could’ve gone both ways.
“It’s just after that, how far it went,” Reed said. “It’s a close game. We don’t need the stupid penalties. Cody hitting the quarterback, OK, we can get over that it’s 15 yards. But turning to the sideline doing what we did, we gotta be a better team. We’re young … that comes with it.”
SPEAKING OF QUARTERBACKS: Senior Miles Kendrick, who rushed for two touchdowns in the first quarter, will remain the starter, Gonzales said.
Kendrick threw two interceptions, one for a touchdown, but Gonzales said the fourth-quarter pick-six was out of desperation.
The Lobos alternated quarterbacks, mixing in redshirt freshman CJ Montes. That appeared to throw off the Rebels in the first quarter.
Gonzales said it gave the Lobos a bit of a spark and helped UNM to a 17-0 lead.
“We’ll have to watch the tape and continue to evaluate to see what gives us the best chance to continue to get better,” Gonzales said. “We’re going to have to identify when we have a 2nd-and-3 why we can’t get a first down. We’re doing some things to get in those positions. We were moving the chains quite often. We need to finish those off. Geordon Porter was explosive. We’ve got to find ways to get him the ball more.”
NO RAY: Junior middle linebacker Ray Leutele was out with a foot injury for the second straight game. Alec Marenco and Hunter both contributed greatly in his place against the Rebels.
Hunter, a former Cleveland High standout, recorded eight tackles, one sack and 1½ tackles for loss.
Marenco had six tackles. Leutele will be assessed after each game, Gonzales said last week.
BIG COMMIT: Matthew Toilolo, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound senior offensive lineman for Orem High in Utah, committed to play for the Lobos, he announced via Twitter on Sunday.
Toilolo visited UNM on Sept. 9, when the Lobos lost to Boise State, 31-14.
He also had an offer from Hawaii.