Number 5: Dominique Dorsey—UNLV's tailback was far from a world beater, but he did gain 100 yards and did a very solid job helping to keep Wisconsin's offense off the field and run the clock in the second half. Dorsey displayed unforeseen durability Saturday, carrying 26 times in place of starter Larry Croom, who missed the game with a strained right thigh muscle.
Number 4: UNLV's linebackers—The Rebels were all over the field, mostly in the Badgers backfield. Adam Seward, Reggie Butler, John Andrews and Ryan Claridge played a fantastic game, swarming to the ball and providing an excellent pass rush. Butler had two sacks and six tackles, while Claridge had a sack, a forced fumble and six tackles. Andrews recorded a fumble recovery and three tackles. Seward, the Mountain West Conference's leading tackler last season, had nine tackles Saturday, two for loss.
Number 3: Earvin Johnson—Johnson can lay claim to the only offensive touchdowns scored Saturday. On the first touchdown, from six yards out, Wisconsin cornerback Levonne Rowan tipped the pass, but Johnson snagged it and showed terrific concentration, somehow securing the ball with a foot in bounds. Johnson also caught an eight-yard touchdown, this time out-muscling Rowan on a slant route. He finished with 41 yards on five receptions.
Number 2: UNLV's coaching staff—Rebels coach John Robinson and his staff had the Badgers number from the opening whistle, particularly when Wisconsin had the ball. UNLV's blitz and coverage packages stymied an offense that had appeared unstoppable prior to Saturday. Wisconsin's players and coaches said after the game that the Rebels did what they expected, but something in UNLV's blitz packages had the Badgers on their toes throughout the game. The Rebels were particularly well prepared to defend Wisconsin's receiver screens, zero routes and quick outs to Brandon Williams and Lee Evans, not allowing an aspect of the Badgers offense that had been quite successful in the first two games to get off the ground.
Offensively, UNLV kept things simple, limiting mistakes and taking advantage of Earvin Johnson's size and Dominique Dorsey's quickness. Despite a lackluster performance from Rebel quarterback Kurt Nantkes, UNLV was able to move the ball enough to win.
Robinson spent the week leading up to Saturday's game telling anyone who asked how bad his team was. The Rebels obviously were hearing a different pep talk from their coach. The Badgers, on the other hand, may have taken Robinson on his public word.
Number 1: UNLV strong safety Jamaal Brimmer—It was common knowledge prior to this game that Brimmer was one of the best defensive players in the country. In a big game for UNLV, on the road against a ranked opponent, Brimmer shined to a level barely imaginable, even for a player of his caliber. His 55-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first quarter set the tone for the day. Brimmer was far from finished, however. He intercepted two passes, returning them 65 yards, to set up the touchdown passes to Earvin Johnson. Brimmer also led all players with 11 tackles and recorded two sacks. He was the difference maker among difference makers on UNLV's defense Saturday.