Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Armani Rogers was shaky in UNLV’s first preseason scrimmage last week. In Saturday’s second intrasquad go-round, it took all of three snaps for the junior quarterback to exceed that performance and assuage some concerns about the Rebels’ passing game as the season opener approaches.
After opening with a handoff and a short completion, Rogers dropped back and fired a strike on a deep crosser over the middle to junior receiver Jacob Gasser. The defensive back in coverage stumbled and fell at the point of the catch, allowing Gasser to break free and race 60 yards for a touchdown.
Though Rogers’ ball placement was perfect, he deflected credit on the play to Gasser.
“It felt great seeing Gasser out there running around,” Rogers said. “He made a great play himself, getting open in the middle of the field and I gave him a good ball and he was able to execute, catch it and take it to the house.”
Rogers barely slowed down from there, as he hit his next four passes — including back-to-back completions to Tyleek Collins and Randal Grimes for 14 and 20 yards, respectively — while guiding the Rebels to two touchdowns and a field goal in his five series at the helm.
It wasn’t a flawless performance, as Rogers’ final attempt was a deep ball that was intercepted by safety Greg Francis, but it was markedly better than last week’s showing. Rogers finished the day having completed 6-of-8 passes for 108 yards with one touchdown and the one interception.
Head coach Tony Sanchez was enthused with the command Rogers showed over the passing attack.
“The biggest thing tonight, we just wanted to come out tonight and see No. 1 throw the ball, make the easy throws, be on target,” Sanchez said. “He was more than on target. He did a good job. He floated one at the very end right there, but that was kind of a receiver that got his route picked. Other than that he was phenomenal.”
Rogers downplayed the turnaround from last week and said it was simply about correcting the things the offense got wrong in the first scrimmage.
“We fixed the mistakes after the last scrimmage and we executed the things we made mistakes on,” Rogers said.
Charles Williams had a short but productive day running the ball. The No. 1 RB carried four times and made the final attempt count, as he raced 75 yards for a touchdown. He finished with 94 yards on four carries.
Redshirt freshman Kenyon Oblad, who will enter the season as the Rebels’ backup quarterback while junior Max Gilliam heals from a foot injury, didn’t hit his targets consistently, but he did connect on several long attempts, including a 41-yard touchdown to freshman tight end Shelton Zeon. Oblad completed 6-of-17 passes for 130 yards on the day.
Sanchez opted to play his defensive starters sparingly, but senior linebacker Javin White made an impact despite limited snaps. On the second play of the game, White dropped Williams behind the line on an inside screen pass for a loss of one yard.
With the second scrimmage in the books, the Rebels are ostensibly finished with training camp and will now spend the next two weeks prepping for Week 1 opponent Southern Utah.