Kansas football: Jayhawks make undesirable history with 216 penalty yards in bowl win

No team had ever recorded as many penalty yards in a bowl game as Kansas football accrued last night
Dec 26, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas Jayhawks wide receiver Lawrence Arnold (2) celebrates with
Dec 26, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas Jayhawks wide receiver Lawrence Arnold (2) celebrates with / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of laundry on the field last night in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. Although both the UNLV and Kansas football teams were penalized often, the Jayhawks got the short end of the stick. They were flagged for 18 penalties and 216 yards despite coming out on top 49-36.

During the game, Kansas was called for five offensive holdings, four unnecessary roughness calls, three defensive pass interferences, two 15-yard face masks, two unsportsmanlike conducts, one false start, one illegal substitution, and an illegal shift. Keep in mind Lance Leipold's group came into the contest as the 31st least penalized squad in college football.

Because of the excessive penalty-calling, fans might not be surprised to learn that the refs made history last night.

Kansas football sets record for most penalty yards in a bowl game

The previous record-holder for penalty yards in a bowl game was the Miami Hurricanes team in the 1991 Cotton Bowl. They were flagged for 16 penalties and 202 yards as opposed to KU's 18 and 216 yards.

It seemed that Kansas had a shot to break the all-time record in an NCAA game for a while. With 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Jayhawks had 176 penalty yards and looked well on their way to surpass Arizona State's 238 penalty yards, a record that was set in 1961 against UTEP. They were just six flags shy from tying the record of most penalties called on one team in a game (24 by San Jose State in 1986).

The officials did ease up in the second half, and a lot of the calls they made were correct. That didn't make it any less frustrating for Kansas football fans, especially considering the referee's microphone was malfunctioning for the first two quarters. Regardless, the Jayhawks were able to leave Chase Field with their first bowl victory in 15 years, so it didn't affect the final outcome.