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UNLV suffers third straight loss, still winless in bowl games since 2000

A third straight loss draws the historical first season of head coach Barry Odom and the UNLV Rebels to a close as the team still searches for its first bowl win in more than 20 years.

UNLV came up short against a fiery Kansas squad, 49-36, in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona Tuesday, Dec. 26. It marked the first bowl game for the program in 10 years.

Coming into play, the Jayhawks had a near 73-percent chance of winning on the way to their first bowl win since 2008.

Despite securing the Mountain West Coach of the Year, Odom and company fell just short of earning the program’s second 10-win year in school history. As a result, the team closes this year’s campaign at 9-5.

Twenty-eight straight points in the first half for Kansas put UNLV behind the eight-ball, causing an eventual insurmountable hole. Those 28 points came after the Rebels scored the first touchdown of the game.

Proving to be just too big for its opponent at times, Jayhawks quarterback Jason Bean found receivers Luke Grimm and Lawrence Arnold time and time again over the top. Both receivers finished with at least four receptions and three touchdowns while accounting for 292 total yards through the air.

Bean and his receiving core pumped out nine receptions of at least 20 yards or more including six of 40 yards or more. On two separate occasions, Kansas produced scoring drives of 98 and 99 yards respectively.

En route to the win, Bean tossed six touchdown passes while racking up 449 yards on just 19 completions.

UNLV quarterback Jayden Maiava had a promising start to the game, completing his first six pass attempts of the game for 76 yards. His first incompletion came with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, he’d record his first mistake of the game via an interception. Later in the frame, he threw a second interception while trying to avoid a sack.

Over the last two games of the season, the reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year went 39-for-64 while throwing for 457 with three touchdowns and four interceptions.

In the second half, Maiava was given new life after his defense injected it directly into the sidelines on the heels of two third quarter interceptions. Both picks were snatched by defensive back Cameron Oliver while safety Jaxen Turner snagged one in the second quarter.

Before hurling three turnovers in this one, Bean had four interceptions on the year coming into play.

As a result of that stout defensive stretch, Maiava and the offense was able to reel off 17 straight points with touchdowns to receivers Jacob De Jesus and Ricky White III.

De Jesus finished with 195 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown, the program’s record-setting 39th of the season. White added 97 yards through the air on seven receptions, one shy of setting a new program record.

After closing the once 21-point deficit to just four, UNLV would never inch any closer than that. Kansas would eventually pull away behind a 21-point fourth quarter despite losing the second half 26-21 overall.

Even with the win, the Jayhawks did commit a bowl-game record 18 penalties which cost the team more than 200 yards. This included 10 flags for 140 yards in the first half.

Of those 18 penalties, seven were personal fouls as tempers continued to heighten throughout the contest. As the clock struck zero, both teams had to be separated by staff and personnel.


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