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Video Credit: ESPN College Football

FSM Recap: UNLV vs Kansas – 2023 Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Franchise Sports

UNLV Rebels (9-5/6-2) | Boise State Broncos (9-4/6-2)


It was UNLV vs Kansas in the 2023 Guaranteed Rate Bowl. The Rebels were looking for a Bowl win to cherry on top of their historic season, but fell to the Jayhawks 49-36.


UNLV vs Kansas | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

For the first time since 2013, UNLV was playing in a bowl game. The 9-4 Rebels took on the 8-5 Kansas Jayhawks at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Rebels were heading into the game with numerous injuries to key contributors on their team. Jayden Maiava had a knee injury and was technically questionable heading into the game. Sources I spoke to last week were doubtful he could play, but Maiava responded well to treatment heading into the game and started.

UNLV running back Jai’Den Thomas was out with an injury he suffered during the Mountain West Championship game. Also out was Donavyn Lester, who also was injured in that game.

UNLV also had several players hit the transfer portal, so they were undermanned heading into the game. It was also the first football game the team played since the tragic shooting that took place on the UNLV campus.

But all season long, there were no excuses given or made by UNLV Football head coach Barry Odom. It has been the next man up and masters of their own destiny all season long. Tuesday night, it was no different.

The Kansas Jayhawks came in as one of the most explosive offenses in college football. This, on paper, was looking to be a high-scoring affair since both teams were scoring machines all season. 

This was also a game that will see these two teams face off next season, as they are scheduled to play with UNLV heading to Lawrence, Kansas. 


UNLV vs Kansas – 1st Quarter:



UNLV vs Kansas | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

UNLV received the ball to start the game. And even without 2/3 of its starting backfield, UNLV was able to move the ball down the field at will against Kansas to start the game. The result was Vincent Davis Jr. taking into pay dirt from 3 yards out to give the Rebels a 7–0 lead.

After both teams punted the ball, Kansas went on a 9-play, 98-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown to tie the game at seven apiece. There was a questionable call on our play. A non-review of a 46-yard reception that looked like the Jayhawk receiver did not have possession of the ball when he went out of bounce. That play was vital as UNLV would have had the Jayhawks facing a 3rd and long deep in their own territory. 

On their next possession, UNLV QB Jayden Maiava was intercepted, and the Jayhawks took over just before the start of the 2nd quarter.


UNLV vs Kansas – 2nd Quarter:


UNLV vs Kansas | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

It took Kansas just four plays to score the next touchdown to take a 14–7 lead. UNLV then marched down the field only to attempt a 52-yard field goal, but All-American kicker Jose Pizano was short, and UNLV still trailed by a touchdown.

Kansas capitalized right after the missed field goal and scored a touchdown to extend their lead to 21–7. UNLV took over, but Maiava was intercepted for the second time in the game.

But the UNLV defense stepped up as Jaxen Turner picked off Kansas in the end zone, and the Rebels took over. UNLV could not move the ball, and they punted it back to the Jayhawks.

Kansas then went on an 8-play, 70-yard drive that resulted in the touchdown, giving them a 28–7 lead. But the Rebels just wouldn’t go away as Pizano made the 40-yard field goal. The score heading to halftime was 28-10 Kansas over UNLV.


UNLV vs Kansas – 3rd Quarter:


UNLV vs Kansas | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Mountain West Wire

UNLV came out on fire to start the second half. After the Rebels‘ defense forced Kansas on third and long, Cameron Oliver intercepted the ball, setting the Rebels up and scoring position. UNLV quickly capitalized when Jayden Maiava hit Shelton Zeon II for a touchdown to cut the Kansas lead to 28–17.

After the Rebels‘ defense, once again, forced a Jayhawks punt, Maiava hit Ricky White III for a 37-yard touchdown pass to make the score 28–24. White, who told me after the MWC Championship Game that he would be returning, had five receptions for 73 yards and that touchdown at that point in the game and was up to 1,459 yards on the season. 

The Rebels, defense once again, stepped up to the occasion and forced Kansas to punt. But UNLV couldn’t capitalize and had to punt themselves. Rebels special teams ace Davone Walden again did an excellent job falling on the ball at the yard line, pinning the Jayhawks deep in their territory.

UNLV was heading to the 4th quarter with Kansas facing a 4th and 1.


UNLV vs Kansas – 4th Quarter:


UNLV vs Kansas | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Kansas, on fourth and short, came out and scored on a 40-yard touchdown pass to Lawrence Arnold to extend their lead to 35–24 to start the fourth quarter. UNLV was once again looking for a miracle fourth-quarter comeback.

UNLV responded quickly as Jacob De Jesus scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 35–30. The Rebels decided to go for a two-point conversion, but the snap was mishandled by Maiava, who fell on the ball, and the Rebels trailed by five early in the fourth quarter.

Kansas responded with a 56-yard touchdown of their own, once again Arnold, who scored on the screenplay. The score was now 42–30.

After UNLV failed to convert on fourth down, Kansas once again took over. Three plays later, they scored another touchdown to extend their lead to 49–30.

Maiava hit Senika McKie for a 50-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 49-36 after the failed two-point conversion.

But the UNLV defense failed to stop Kansas, who was able to run the clock out and win the Guaranteed Rate Bowl—the Rebels’ season ended with a 49–36 defeat.

UNLV football’s magical season is now officially over. Thanks for visiting for your Las Vegas Sports news today.


Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas sports news about Las Vegas Sports teams.

-Joe Arrigo   Franchise Sports Media

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