LAWRENCE, Kan. (KUAthletics.com) – Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw Jr. each rushed for over 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns to lead a powerful Kansas rushing attack that accumulated 399 yards en route to a 51-22 victory against UCF on Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
The win makes Kansas 5-1 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008-09. The Jayhawks are one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time since the same season.
In a meeting of first-time Big 12 Conference foes, Kansas (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) dominated UCF (3-3,0-3 Big 12) early by jumping out to a 24-0 halftime lead, behind 142 rushing yards. The 51 points scored by Kansas were its most in a Big 12 home game since Nov. 6, 2010 vs. Colorado when KU scored 52 points.
The Jayhawks opened the game with a methodical 13-play, 82-yard drive that resulted in a 25-yard field goal from senior Seth Keller. The drive was Kansas’ longest of the season and put the Jayhawks up 3-0 with 3:44 to go in the first quarter.
On Kansas’ second possession on offense, the Jayhawks marched down the field and reached the endzone on a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Bean to wide receiver Lawrence Arnold. The touchdown was Arnold’s first of the season and first since scoring against Oklahoma State on Nov. 5, 2022.
Kansas found its first rushing touchdown on a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Hishaw with 6:31 remaining in the second quarter.
Just before halftime, redshirt sophomore Austin Booker stripped UCF’s Timmy McClain, forcing a fumble recovery for Kansas. The strip-sack was Booker’s fifth of the season and gave Kansas a 24-0 lead at halftime, the Jayhawks’ largest lead against a conference opponent at halftime since 2008 (vs. Kansas State, 31-0).
The momentum carried into the second half for the Jayhawks, as Neal ripped off a 75-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the second half and gave Kansas a 31-0 lead. The run put Neal over 100 yards for the game, his eighth of his career. UCF would respond with a score of their own on a 13-yard passing touchdown. The Knights would fail to convert on the 2-point attempt.
Kansas’ third rushing touchdown came midway through the third quarter as senior Dylan McDuffie found the endzone on a 1-yard touchdown rush to make the score 37-8. The Jayhawks fumbled the extra-point attempt, which was returned 99-yards by UCF’s Demari Henderson.
UCF would add on to the scoreboard with a RJ Harvey 4-yard touchdown rush to make the score 37-14 with 13:55 to go.
Hishaw reached the end zone for the second time on the day on a 7-yard rush in the fourth quarter, giving him his 12th touchdown over his last 11 games. UCF responded with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Timmy McClain to Randy Pittman Jr. to make the score 44-22.
McDuffie would cap the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown rush with 0:53 seconds remaining. The game ended on a 13-yard sack by Patrick Joyner Jr.
Kansas will now travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma for a showdown with the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday, October 14 at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be Kansas’ fourth Big 12 Conference matchup and third road game this season.