KU football to face UNLV in Guaranteed Rate Bowl

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The Kansas Jayhawks are getting ready to play the UNLV Rebels in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, with kickoff set for 8 p.m. (central time) Tuesday, Dec. 26.

It will be the Jayhawks’ second bowl game in as many seasons, and it will close out coach Lance Leipold’s third season at the helm.

The Jayhawks under Leipold improved from a 2-10 record in the 2021 season to 6-7 in 2022 — the most wins the program had seen since 2008. The season ended with a 55-53 triple-overtime thriller loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Liberty Bowl. That was the team’s first bowl game appearance since 2008.

The Jayhawks are 8-4 this year — their first eight-win regular season since 2007. This bowl game will mark only the second time in school history that the Jayhawks have played in bowl games in back-to-back years.

“I think the key for us really was a group of young men that wanted to get this turned around. It was an opportunity. It was a unique hiring time,” Leipold said during a press conference Sunday, regarding turning the team around. “But a young group of players that wanted to embrace something new, and I think our style of doing it was a good fit at the right time.”

The UNLV Rebels, 9-4 on the season, are making their first bowl appearance since 2014, according to a news release from KU Athletics. They have an official bowl record of 2-3.

“The Rebels are led by 2023 Mountain West Coach of the Year Barry Odom, who is in his first season at the school and led the program to its most victories since 1984,” according to the release.

KU has been to 13 bowl games in program history, with a 6-7 record in all-time bowl game appearances.

The team’s 14th bowl appearance, on Tuesday, will be the second time the Jayhawks have played in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, formerly the Insight Bowl, according to the release. The Jayhawks won the Insight Bowl on Dec. 31, 2008, beating Minnesota 42-21; the season prior, KU topped Virginia Tech 24-21 in the Orange Bowl.

Guaranteed Rate Companies is a mortgage financing company based in Chicago.

Watch/listen to the game

The Guaranteed Rate Bowl will take place at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. central.

The National Weather Service as of Monday evening forecast clear skies with a high of 62° and a low of 41° with calm wind Tuesday (Dec. 26) in Phoenix.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN. Listen on Jayhawk Radio Network, online at kuathletics.leanplayer.com.

See a digital version of the bowl game program at this link.

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