Johnny Stanton was UNLV’s starting quarterback for the first four games last season before going out with a knee injury.
He never got the job back, with Armani Rogers winning the position in the spring.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a spot for Stanton. He entered Saturday’s Mountain West game against San Jose State at Sam Boyd Stadium on the punt return team in the second quarter for his first play of the season.
Then later in the quarter, Stanton blocked a punt to set up a touchdown that put the Rebels ahead 35-6 en route to a 41-13 victory before a crowd of 15,009.
It was a night for special teams news.
UNLV’s Evan Pantels made the first three extra points before giving way to Daniel Gutierrez. Pantels had injured a leg in a 54-21 loss Sept. 23 at Ohio State.
On punts, UNLV coaches lifted the redshirt off freshman Riley Erickson, who launched a 49-yarder in the end zone on his first try. Pantels had handled punts in the first three games.
San Jose State is known for its special teams, with its kicker and punter on national watch lists. But kicker Bryce Crawford missed a 52-yard field goal with 1:19 left in the first quarter, ending his streak of 17 makes going back to last season. He had converted two from beyond 50 yards this season.
Spartans coach dances way onto “Ellen”
San Jose State running backs coach Alonzo Carter found himself on the ABC daytime talk show “Ellen” after a video of him dancing in front of the team went viral.
Show host Ellen DeGeneres interviewed Carter, with coach Brent Brennan and some Spartans players standing nearby, on Monday for the segment that aired Tuesday. She then surprised him with a check for $25,000 from show sponsor Cheerios to go to Carter’s program, Beyond Football.
Carter, a former backup dancer for MC Hammer, is in his first season at San Jose State. He was a junior college head coach the previous seven years.
Beyond Football is designed to help San Jose State players get more involved in the community and further their careers.
DeGeneres asked Carter why he became a college coach.
“Because I wanted to change lives,” he said. “I wanted to go back to my community and give back and let college football give an opportunity to get your education.”
Area schools benefit
Three local elementary schools with ties to UNLV players each received $2,500 during the first quarter through the College Football Playoff Foundation’s “Extra Yard for Teachers.”
The schools recognized were Robert Forbuss (alma mater of freshman defensive back Greg Francis), John Bass (junior defensive back Dalton Baker) and Mabel Hoggard (sophomore defensive lineman Jalil Briley).
UNLV and San Jose State coaches know one another pretty well.
Rebels special teams coordinator and safeties coach Andy LaRussa’s brother-in-law is Spartans offensive line coach Joe Bernardi.
San Jose State first-year defensive line coach Joe Seumalo served in the same position in 2015 at UNLV before heading to Arizona State for a year.
And Rebels defensive coordinator Kent Baer coached at San Jose State from 2008 to 2012. He was the defensive coordinator his final three seasons there, and was the Spartans’ interim coach in the Military Bowl his final year. The Spartans defeated Bowling Green 29-20.