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Kansas overcomes miscues, beats UNLV for bowl win

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PHOENIX — Kansas survived a second-half comeback by UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, overcoming three turnovers and 18 penalties for a 49-36 win on Tuesday.

Jason Bean threw three interceptions but also had a Kansas bowl-record six touchdown passes and 449 yards through the air. Lawrence Arnold (six receptions, 132 yards) and Luke Grimm (four receptions, 160 yards) each had three touchdown catches.

It was Kansas’ first bowl win — and second bowl appearance — since 2008.

The Jayhawks (9-4) led 28-7 late in the second quarter before UNLV scored 17 unanswered points.

Bean often found open receivers deep down the field for explosive plays. The crowd of mostly Jayhawks fans at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks saw Kansas rack up 333 yards of total offense in the first half, 591 for the game.

The Jayhawks’ defense also intercepted UNLV quarterback Jayden Maiava twice, but 210 yards in penalties hurt Kansas in what turned into a second-half shootout.

Down 7-0, Kansas drove 98 yards on its second possession of the game, with Bean’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Grimm set up by a 36-yard completion to Quentin Skinner.

Kansas made it 14-7 early in the second quarter when Bean found a wide-open Grimm down the field for a 60-yard touchdown. UNLV bit hard on a play-action fake on the play.

The Jayhawks got another explosive play downfield when Bean hit Grimm for 51 yards in one-on-one coverage, setting up another TD.

Skinner leaped over a defender for a 44-yard catch that set up a Devin Neal 1-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left in the first half, and Kansas took a 28-10 lead to halftime.

UNLV (9-5) scored a touchdown after one of Bean’s interceptions in the third quarter, with Maiava finding Shelton Zeon III for a 5-yard score. Then after the Rebels’ defense forced a punt, Maiava threw to Ricky White for a 37-yard touchdown to make it 28-24.

Kansas found its deep passing game again on the first play of the fourth quarter — Bean to Arnold for a 40-yard touchdown and a 35-24 lead. Jacob De Jesus answered with an 11-yard touchdown run for UNLV at the 12:06 mark to cut the lead to five points.

Two plays later, Bean’s short pass to Arnold turned into a 56-yard touchdown thanks to missed tackles. That gave Kansas a 42-30 lead with 11:10 to play, and both teams scored once more before the Jayhawks were able to run out the clock.

–Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media

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