Matt Tait: Outlook for Kansas football season gets a lot brighter with wild OT win in Morgantown – KUsports

Matt Tait: Outlook for Kansas football season gets a lot brighter with wild OT win in Morgantown - KUsports

The road to an improbable 3-0 start to the season for the Kansas football team became very real thanks to a 55-42 overtime road win at West Virginia on Saturday night.

And if you want to get even more carried away, if you squint just a little, you might be able to see 4-0.


Yes. That just happened.

After falling behind 14-0 and looking pretty uninspired doing it, the Jayhawks (2-0) came roaring back and outscored the Mountaineers (0-2) 42-17 to go ahead 42-31 midway through the fourth quarter.

During that run, the West Virginia defense looked like it had no answer for the Kansas offense. And both teams knew it.

One of the most encouraging aspects of Saturday’s game was the play of Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels, who continues to look like the real deal.

He is confident, commanding, rarely gets upset and, perhaps most importantly, genuinely seems to enjoy playing the game and the position.

That kind of energy is so often contagious and can bring a similar confidence and joy to the entire offense. Daniels’ teammates like playing with him — and for him — because of the way he plays the game.

He is always positive, celebrates his teammates after good games and picks them up after not so good ones. Without fail Every time. Guys like that. And they know it’s true.

KU coach Lance Leipold summed it up perfectly in his postgame interview on ESPN+.

“He’s such a fierce competitor,” Leipold said of Daniels. “Nothing is going to knock him down and he is the leader of this football team.”

Daniels also has legitimate talent. And he knows how to use it.

Last week, he didn’t have to do much to find success. His physical tools and KU’s superior talent across the board made the game easy against Tennessee Tech.

On Saturday, things were much more even, and Daniels stood out anyway. In fact, he looked just as good as a runner as he did a passer, using his legs on several option runs early — and throughout the game — to help the Kansas offense settle and then thrive.

There is a small gun in Daniels, but it is of the modern variety. He carries himself with the swagger of a movie star and plays football like a prized fighter. Just keep slugging and slugging until something good happens.

Part of the reason for Daniels’ effectiveness so far this season is his quick decision-making. Daniels said last week, after a strong opening game against inferior competition, that he views his job in a very simple way: Get the ball to the open receiver, move the chains and put up points.

So now, Daniels, along with his confidence and a growing 2-0 team behind him, will head to Houston next weekend with a chance to move to 3-0.

That scenario was not entirely unpredictable before the season began. In fact, some of the most die-hard Kansas football fans I know said it would happen.

But now that it has — say that again just to make sure you fully understand it and believe it — the Jayhawks will head to Houston with a chance to go 3-0.

Houston will enter this one on the heels of back-to-back multiple overtime contests — a triple-overtime win over Texas-San Antonio in Week 1 and a double-overtime loss at Texas Tech on Saturday.

At this point, whether the Jayhawks win or lose next week, you’re looking at the potential for David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium to jump when Duke comes to town in two weeks.

At that point, it beats Duke and moves to 4-0 at best or 3-1 at worst.


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