Kansas football: Jayhawks pull away late in shaky win over Nevada

Nevada takes on Kansas at Mackay Stadium in Reno on Sept. 16, 2023.
Nevada takes on Kansas at Mackay Stadium in Reno on Sept. 16, 2023. /

Although it wasn’t the prettiest performance, the Kansas football team was still able to prevail over Nevada in a 31-24 victory.

The Kansas Jayhawks came into Reno tonight as 28-point favorites, yet the game went down to the wire. It took fighting and clawing until the game clock hit zero for Lance Leipold and Co. to pull out a victory.

Coming into the game, Nevada had not won in 378 days. That streak will live on for at least seven more, but KU’s chances of starting consecutive seasons off 3-0 were put into serious jeopardy. Let’s go over some key points in tonight’s contest.

Kansas Football vs. Nevada Game Recap

Everything seemed ordinary during KU’s first drive. Jalon Daniels was peppering his receivers with short passes on a 9-play, 75-yard drive that eventually led to a Devin Neal touchdown. That was one of the very few moments that the Jayhawks felt as though they were in control.

When Nevada’s offense took the field, they played how we expected them to. They looked sloppy, and Mello Dotson nearly came up with an interception. From here on out, however, things went downhill.

Kansas’ second drive featured multiple penalties that set the offense back dozens of yards. Daniels was attempting to find the big play, but even he was unable to make anything out of it.

The two teams eventually began exchanging blows of little field goals. Still, Kansas looked disoriented. They were committing unnecessary penalties and playing messy football.

With a stagnant offense and mistake-prone quarterback, they eventually punted the ball back to the Wolf Pack, who scored a touchdown with 26 seconds left in the first half.

Before you know it, it’s tied 10 apiece with less than a minute left in the first half. Things were looking dire for Kansas football at that point.

That continued in the second half when Jalon Daniels lost a fumble on the team’s first drive. He injured his arm and had to get it checked out by trainers before re-entering the game. Finally, the Jayhawks started turning on the jets a few minutes into the third quarter.

An 11-play drive in the early to mid-third quarter gave Kansas a lead. Daniel Hishaw Jr., who had coughed up a fumble that Jared Casey pounced on earlier in the drive, got the redzone carry for a 1-yard touchdown. It was 17-10, Kansas at that point.

The back and forth continued, with Nevada eventually tying it at 17. Without hesitation, Devin Neal broke off this incredible catch and run that he followed up with a short touchdown run — his second of the game.

Nevada then took more than 7 minutes to take care of its next offensive drive, which eventually resulted in a touchdown. At that point, things started to get scary for Kansas football fans. They were allowing third and fourth down conversions and getting tired out by the Wolf Pack.

Ultimately, Neal was the only reason Kansas was able to come out victorious in this game. He scored another touchdown after this drive that wound up being the final score of the game. His total stat line was 17/89/3 on the ground.

Did we expect more from Kansas? Absolutely. However, when you take into account just how bad the program was three years ago, it’s difficult to complain about a road win. The team enters league play undefeated and has plenty of film they can use to work on their errors.

Next. 5 key players for the Jayhawks against Nevada. dark