🏈 Kansas Earns Ninth Win in 37th Annual Guaranteed Rate Bowl

PHOENIX – The Kansas Jayhawks defeated the UNLV Rebels, 49-36, in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl inside Chase Field in Phoenix Arizona on Tuesday night, highlighted by six touchdown passes from Jason Bean and three touchdown receptions apiece by Lawrence Arnold and Luke Grimm.

Bean tied the Kansas football record with six touchdown passes and this was the first time two players have had three touchdown receptions in the same game in school history. Bean was named the Guaranteed Rate Bowl offensive MVP, while Kenny Logan Jr. was named defensive MVP.

The Kansas win gives the Jayhawks its first bowl victory since 2008, while the Jayhawks finish the season at 9-4, Kansas’ first 9-win season since 2007. The victory makes Kansas 7-7 in all-time bowl appearances.

UNLV scored first on their first possession, marching down the field on an eight-play, 65-yard drive, which was capped off by a 3-yard rushing touchdown by running back Vincent Davis. 

The Jayhawks evened the score while still in the first quarter on a six-yard passing touchdown from Bean to Grimm. The touchdown came on the heels of a 98-yard drive, which was Kansas’ longest scoring drive since 2019. 

KU got possession at its own 30-yard line with 5:03 to play in the half and drove 70 yards in nine plays, including a 44-yard reception from Bean to Quintin Skinner which moved the ball down to the UNLV one-yard line. On the next play, Devin Neal plunged into the end zone, making it 28-7, before UNLV knocked in a 40-yard field goal attempt to cut down KU’s lead to 28-10 heading into the half.

Following the halftime break, UNLV stopped Kansas on its first drive and moved to an 11-point deficit at 28-17 with 12:15 remaining in the third quarter on a 5-yard pass from Maiava to Shelton Zeon III. UNLV would add another passing touchdown on a 37-yard strike to make the score 28-24 with 10:30 left in the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kansas struck back on a 40-yard throw from Bean to Arnold, which put Kansas back up 11 with 14:52 to play. The 40-yard touchdown reception capped off a 99-yard drive, Kansas’ second drive of 98 or more yards in the game to put the Jayhawks up 35-24.

After the long drive by the Jayhawks, UNLV responded with a seven-play, 88-yard yard drive to bring the score to 35-30. The Rebels failed to convert on the 2-point conversion.

With two receiving touchdowns already between the duo, Bean found Arnold a third time on a 56 yard screen play to put Kansas up further, 42-30 with 11:10 remaining in the game. The three touchdown receptions tied the Kansas bowl record for receiving touchdowns in a game, tying Dezmon Briscoe’s three receiving touchdowns set in the 2008 Insight Bowl vs. Minnesota. 

On the ensuing UNLV possession, Kansas cornerback Cobee Bryant recorded his fourth interception of the season on a pass by UNLV’s Jayden Maiava. Kansas would take advantage of the Bryant interception, as Grimm scored his second touchdown of the day on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Bean to put Kansas up, 14-7 with 11:37 remaining in the first half.

UNLV missed a 52-yard field goal on their next possession, setting the Jayhawks up with good field position for a five-play touchdown drive that covered 66 yards and was capped with a 15-yard touchdown strike from Bean to Arnold. At that point, Kansas led 21-7 with 7:57 to play in the half. 

On the first play of UNLV’s next drive, Maiava was picked off again, this time with KU linebacker Craig Young hauling in his second career interception. The Jayhawks gave the ball right back, however, two plays later as Bean was picked off in the end zone. Kansas then held the Rebels to a three and out on the next drive, setting the stage for another scoring drive. 

Grimm added another touchdown reception to his tally on a 43-yard strike from Bean in the fourth quarter to extend KU’s lead to 49-30. This was the first time in Kansas football history that two players recorded three touchdown receptions each. 

UNLV answered with a long touchdown of its own, completing a 50-yard touchdown reception before failing a two-point conversion. Kansas maintained a 13-point, 49-36 advantage with 6:25 left in the game. 

Kansas entered victory formation as it claimed its first bowl victory since 2008 with its 49-36 win over UNLV.