|Las Vegas Bowl|
|SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl|
|Previous stadiums||Sam Boyd Stadium (1992–2019)|
|Previous locations||Whitney, Nevada (1992–2019)|
SEC (2022, 2024)
Big Ten (2023, 2025)
|Previous conference tie-ins||Big West, MAC (1992–96)|
|Payout||US$2.9 million (2019)|
|Boise State vs. Washington (Washington 38–7)|
|Arizona State vs. Wisconsin (Wisconsin 20–13)|
The Las Vegas Bowl is an NCAA Division I FBS annual post-season college football bowl game held in the Las Vegas area. First played in 1992, the bowl was originally held at the 40,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada before moving to the 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada in 2021. The bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events.
As the Las Vegas Bowl was effectively the replacement for the California Bowl, it inherited that bowl's tie-ins with the champions of the Big West Conference and the Mid-American Conference. These remained intact until 1996, after which the Big West's champion earned a berth in the Humanitarian Bowl while the MAC's champion was given a berth in the Motor City Bowl. 1997 through 1999 saw a team from the Western Athletic Conference face an at-large team, and the Mountain West Conference took over for the WAC for the 1999 and 2000 games (the 1999 game featured both WAC and Mountain West teams). Beginning in 2001, the Mountain West and Pac-12 Conferences (originally known as the Pacific-10 Conference) matched up in Las Vegas.
From 2001 until 2005, the second-place team in the Mountain West was chosen to face the Pac-12. Beginning in 2006, after its contract with the Liberty Bowl expired, the Mountain West agreed to send its champion to the Las Vegas Bowl to face the Pac-12's 5th or 6th-place team. From 2006 until 2013, the Mountain West would send a secondary team if the champion qualified for the Bowl Championship Series or, as per the rules of the Hawai'i Bowl, was Hawai'i. The 2016 game would have pitted the Pac-12's #6 team against the winner of the Mountain West Conference Football Championship Game, provided that the winner of the game does not automatically qualify for one of the College Football Playoff's six bowls as the highest-ranking member of the "Group of Five" (champions of the Mountain West, Sun Belt, American, or Mid-American Conferences, as well as the Conference USA champion comprise this group). However, since the Pac-12 only had six bowl-eligible teams and two of them qualified for New Years Six bowls, the bowl elected to invite the Houston Cougars of the American Athletic Conference instead of a Pac-12 team.
To heighten the profile of the game with its move to Allegiant Stadium, the Las Vegas Bowl announced a new, five-year, alternating tie-in between the SEC and Big Ten beginning 2020. An SEC team will play the Las Vegas Bowl in even-numbered years, while a Big Ten team will play in odd-numbered years. The conference not playing in the Las Vegas Bowl will play in the Duke's Mayo Bowl (formerly Belk Bowl). The Mountain West moved its top selection from the Las Vegas Bowl to the newly-established LA Bowl.
The game originated from the California Raisin Bowl, which was played in Fresno from 1981 to 1991. In 1992, Fresno State, formerly of the Big West, moved to the Western Athletic Conference. The Big West and MAC then pulled out of Fresno and sought a new home for their conference champions. They found it in Las Vegas, where organizers were looking for a way to boost hotel revenue. In those days, the Christmas season was a slow period for Las Vegas hotels and casinos. The first Las Vegas Bowl was played in 1992.
The NCAA adopted an overtime rule for the 1995 post-season and all games thereafter. In 1995, Toledo defeated Nevada, 40–37, in the first ever overtime game in Division I-A college football. The following season, the policy of overtime was adopted for regular season games to break ties.
In 2001, ESPN Regional Television purchased the Las Vegas Bowl from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
On December 25, 2002, UCLA interim coach Ed Kezirian was victorious in his only game as the UCLA head coach as UCLA won 27–13 over New Mexico. In that game, New Mexico sent Katie Hnida in to kick an extra point which was the first time a woman played in a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (née Division I-A) college football game. The kick was blocked.
The 2007 Las Vegas Bowl featured a rematch between Mountain West Champion BYU and UCLA who defeated BYU during the regular season. UCLA scored first on a field goal after a fumble by BYU quarterback Max Hall. BYU answered with a touchdown reception by Austin Collie. BYU went up 17–6 with Michael Reed catch for a touchdown. A fumble by BYU with 19 seconds left in the first half allowed UCLA to score and cut the lead to 17–13. UCLA cut the deficit to 17–16 on a 50-yard field goal. With two minutes left UCLA took over at their own two-yard line. They were able to drive down to the BYU 13-yard line with 3 seconds left. The 28-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked by BYU defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna and fell short giving BYU their second Vegas Bowl victory in three tries, also making the Cougars the first school to win back-to-back Las Vegas Bowls. The following year, though, the Arizona Wildcats denied BYU their third consecutive Las Vegas Bowl win by winning 31–21.
On September 25, 2013, Royal Purple was announced as the new title sponsor for the next three years. Following the expiration of Royal Purple's sponsorship of the title from 2013 to 2015, the game became officially known as the Las Vegas Bowl.
With the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium was constructed to replace Sam Boyd Stadium. The Las Vegas Bowl along with the other events held at Sam Boyd Stadium moved to the new stadium upon completion.
On December 2, 2020, the 2020 edition of the game was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its tie-ins (SEC and Pac-12) were transferred to the ESPN Events-owned Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas.
The bowl was known as the SEGA Sports Las Vegas Bowl from 2001 to 2002. From 2003 to 2008, the title sponsor was the Pioneer Corporation. From 2009 to 2012, the game was known as the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, as the sponsor was MAACO. From 2013 to 2015, the game was known as the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl as the sponsor was Royal Purple. For the 2016 edition, the game was known as the Las Vegas Bowl presented by GEICO as GEICO was the presenting sponsor. On July 12, 2018, it was announced that Mitsubishi would be the new title sponsor, with the game renamed as the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl as part of a two-year deal. On April 20, 2021, SRS Distribution signed a five-year agreement with ESPN to become the title sponsor, making the game the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl.
Rankings per AP Poll prior to the game being played.
|Date||Winning team||Score||Losing team||Attendance||Notes|
|December 18, 1992||Bowling Green||35–34||Nevada||15,476||notes|
|December 17, 1993||Utah State||42–33||Ball State||15,508||notes|
|December 15, 1994||UNLV||52–24||Central Michigan||17,562||notes|
|December 14, 1995||No. 25 Toledo||40–37 (OT)||Nevada||12,500||notes|
|December 18, 1996||Nevada||18–15||Ball State||10,118||notes|
|December 20, 1997||Oregon||41–13||No. 23 Air Force||21,514||notes|
|December 19, 1998||North Carolina||20–13||San Diego State||21,429||notes|
|December 18, 1999||Utah||17–16||Fresno State||28,227||notes|
|December 21, 2000||UNLV||31–14||Arkansas||29,113||notes|
|December 25, 2001||Utah||10–6||USC||30,894||notes|
|December 25, 2002||UCLA||27–13||New Mexico||30,324||notes|
|December 24, 2003||Oregon State||55–14||New Mexico||25,437||notes|
|December 23, 2004||Wyoming||24–21||UCLA||27,784||notes|
|December 22, 2005||California||35–28||BYU||40,053||notes|
|December 21, 2006||No. 19 BYU||38–8||Oregon||44,615||notes|
|December 22, 2007||No. 19 BYU||17–16||UCLA||40,712||notes|
|December 20, 2008||Arizona||31–21||No. 17 BYU||40,047||notes|
|December 22, 2009||No. 15 BYU||44–20||No. 16 Oregon State||40,018||notes|
|December 22, 2010||No. 10 Boise State||26–3||No. 20 Utah||41,923||notes|
|December 22, 2011||No. 8 Boise State||56–24||Arizona State||35,720||notes|
|December 22, 2012||No. 20 Boise State||28–26||Washington||33,217||notes|
|December 21, 2013||USC||45–20||No. 21 Fresno State||42,178||notes|
|December 20, 2014||No. 23 Utah||45–10||Colorado State||33,067||notes|
|December 19, 2015||No. 20 Utah||35–28||BYU||42,213||notes|
|December 17, 2016||San Diego State||34–10||Houston||29,286||notes|
|December 16, 2017||No. 25 Boise State||38–28||Oregon||36,432||notes|
|December 15, 2018||No. 19 Fresno State||31–20||Arizona State||37,146||notes|
|December 21, 2019||Washington||38–7||No. 18 Boise State||34,197||notes|
|2020||Canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic||—|||
|December 30, 2021||Wisconsin||20–13||Arizona State||32,515||notes|
|December 18, 1992||Erik White||Bowling Green||QB|
|December 17, 1993||Anthony Calvillo||Utah State||QB|
|December 15, 1994||Henry Bailey||UNLV||WR|
|December 14, 1995||Wasean Tait||Toledo||RB|
|December 18, 1996||Mike Crawford||Nevada||LB|
|December 20, 1997||Pat Johnson||Oregon||WR|
|December 19, 1998||Ronald Curry||North Carolina||QB|
|December 18, 1999||Mike Anderson||Utah||RB|
|December 21, 2000||Jason Thomas||UNLV||QB|
|December 25, 2001||Dameon Hunter||Utah||RB|
|December 25, 2002||Craig Bragg||UCLA||WR|
|December 24, 2003||Steven Jackson||Oregon State||RB|
|December 23, 2004||Corey Bramlet||Wyoming||QB|
|December 22, 2005||Marshawn Lynch||California||RB|
|December 21, 2006||Jonny Harline||BYU||TE|
|December 22, 2007||Austin Collie||BYU||WR|
|December 20, 2008||Willie Tuitama||Arizona||QB|
|December 22, 2009||Max Hall||BYU||QB|
|December 22, 2010||Kellen Moore||Boise State||QB|
|December 22, 2011||Doug Martin||Boise State||RB|
|December 22, 2012||Bishop Sankey||Washington||RB|
|December 21, 2013||Cody Kessler||USC||QB|
|December 20, 2014||Travis Wilson||Utah||QB|
|December 19, 2015||Tevin Carter||Utah||CB|
|December 17, 2016||Donnel Pumphrey||San Diego State||RB|
|December 16, 2017||Cedrick Wilson Jr.||Boise State||WR|
|December 15, 2018||Ronnie Rivers||Fresno State||RB|
|December 21, 2019||Elijah Molden||Washington||DB|
|December 30, 2021||Braelon Allen||Wisconsin||RB|
Updated through the December 2021 edition (29 games, 58 total appearances).
|San Diego State||2||1–1|
December 2021 participant
Won (8): Arizona, Bowling Green, California, North Carolina, Toledo, Utah State, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Lost (5): Air Force, Arkansas, Central Michigan, Colorado State, Houston
Updated through the December 2021 edition (29 games, 58 total appearances).
|Conference||Record||Appearances by season|
|Mountain West||20||12||8||.600||1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018||2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2019|
|Pac-12||19||9||10||.474||1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019||2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2021|
|Big West||5||3||2||.600||1993, 1994, 1996||1992, 1995|
|MAC||5||2||3||.400||1992, 1995||1993, 1994, 1996|
|WAC||4||1||3||.250||2010||1997, 1998, 1999|
|Team||Record, Team vs. Opponent||Year|
|Most points scored (one team)||56, Boise State vs. Arizona State||2011|
|Most points scored (losing team)||37, Nevada vs. Toledo (OT)
34, Nevada vs. Bowling Green (regulation)
|Most points scored (both teams)||80, Boise (56) vs. Arizona State (24)||2011|
|Fewest points allowed||3, Boise State vs. Utah||2010|
|Largest margin of victory||41, Oregon State (55) vs. New Mexico (14)||2003|
|Total yards||589, UNLV vs. Central Michigan||1994|
|Rushing yards||359, Utah vs. Colorado State||2014|
|Passing yards||395, Arizona State vs. Boise State||2011|
|First downs||33, Toledo vs. Nevada||1995|
|Fewest yards allowed||127, Oregon State vs. New Mexico||2003|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||–11, Boise State vs. Arizona State||2011|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||33, San Diego State vs. North Carolina||1998|
|Individual||Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent||Year|
|All-purpose yards||301, Doug Martin (Boise State)||2011|
|Touchdowns (all-purpose)||5, Steven Jackson (Oregon State)||2003|
|Rushing yards||254, Mike Anderson (Utah)||1999|
|Rushing touchdowns||4, shared by:
Wasean Tait, Toledo vs. Nevada
Steven Jackson (Oregon State)
|Passing yards||395, Brock Osweiler (Arizona State)||2011|
|Passing touchdowns||4, Cody Kessler (USC)||2013|
|Receiving yards||241, Gerell Robinson (Arizona State)||2011|
|Receiving touchdowns||2, by several players—most recent:
Marqise Lee (USC)
Nelson Agholor (USC)
|Tackles||20, Troy Polamalu (USC)||2001|
|Sacks||3, Mike Crawford (Nevada)||1996|
|Interceptions||2, by several players—most recent:
Kameron Kelly (San Diego State)
|Long Plays||Record, Player, Team vs. Opponent||Year|
|Touchdown run||84 yds., Doug Martin (Boise State)||2010|
|Touchdown pass||78 yds., Jason Mass to Pat Johnson (Oregon)||1997|
|Kickoff return||100 yds., Doug Martin, (Boise State)||2011|
|Punt return||74 yds., Craig Bragg (UCLA)||2002|
|Interception return||100 yds., Jamar Taylor (Boise State)||2011|
|Punt||69 yds., Garrett Swanson (Fresno State)||2013|
|Field goal||52 yds., Kai Forbath (UCLA)||2007|
Main article: List of Las Vegas Bowl broadcasters
The Las Vegas Bowl has been televised by ABC since 2013; ABC also televised the game in 2001. Other editions of the game were broadcast by ESPN or ESPN2.
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