RENO, Nev. (KUAthletics.com) — Devin Neal rushed for three touchdowns and Jalon Daniels threw for 298 yards as Kansas Football remained unbeaten on the year with a 31-24 victory at Nevada on Saturday night at Mackay Stadium.
The win marked the 600th in program history, and improved Kansas to 3-0 on the season for the second-straight year. Prior to last season, Kansas’ last 3-0 start was in 2009, while it is the first time since 1991-92 the Jayhawks have started 3-0 in back-to-back seasons.
Kansas opened with a nine-play, 75-yard drive to start the game that resulted in a three-yard rushing touchdown by Neal. Kansas has scored a touchdown on each of its opening possessions so far this season. The Jayhawks lead 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After each team traded field goals, Nevada responded with a 10-play, 78-yard scoring drive to even the score, 10-10 at the half.
Needing a score in the third quarter, Kansas found one on its second drive of the second half. Facing a second and four from the Nevada 30-yard line, Daniels dropped back and found tight end Mason Fairchild for a 29-yard gain, which set up a one-yard touchdown rush for Daniel Hishaw Jr., to make the score 17-10 with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Nevada responded with a score of its own on a six-yard touchdown rush by quarterback Brendan Lewis, which evened the score at 17-17 with 3:33 remaining in the third quarter.
On the first play of Kansas’ next drive, Daniels hit Neal on a 59-yard strike to set up the Jayhawks at the 1-yard line. Neal was rewarded on the very next play with a one-yard rushing touchdown, his second of the game.
In the fourth quarter, Nevada evened up the score at 24-24 with 10:37 remaining in the game, but Kansas again had an answer. The Jayhawks covered 75 yards in nine plays, including two Daniels completions to Quentin Skinner and a 16-yard pass to Fairchild which got KU into the red zone. Consecutive rushing attempts by Neal landed the Jayhawks in the end zone as Neal scored his third touchdown of the night to put KU up by its final margin, 31-24.
Kansas closed out the victory with back-to-back defensive stops. The Jayhawks forced a three-and-out immediately after scoring the go-ahead touchdown, then punted the ball back to Nevada with two minutes to play. After one Wolf Pack first down, KU forced a turnover on downs when Kenny Logan Jr. came flying up from his safety position to get a fourth-down stop behind the line of scrimmage.
Kansas will return home to Lawrence for a battle of unbeatens as they open league play against BYU on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. The game will be the conference opener for both teams, including BYU’s first against a Big 12 opponent as a member of the Big 12 Conference. BYU improved to 3-0 on Saturday with a 38-31 victory at Arkansas.
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