Kansas defeated Texas 57-56 Saturday for its first Big 12 conference win since 2019.
In overtime, trailing by seven, Kansas had to score a touchdown in order to keep the game going, and for the Jayhawks' sake, they started half the distance to the goal following an unsportmanslike conduct penalty on Texas.
After a first down pick up from sophomore quarterback Jalon Daniels and a short series of plays capped off by a two-yard touchdown rush from freshman running back Devin Neal, Kansas was down one point [56-55], with the game on the line.
Generally speaking, when team's are on the road they go for the win, and that's exactly what coach Lance Leipold did – a two-point conversion.
"Motion [Jared] Casey over," said Brian Hanni, the voice of the Jayhawks. "Daniels in the gun, he looks right, he's flushed out of the pocket to the right, throwing on the run, it's caught, it's caught and Kansas will win. Jared Casey with the play of his life and the Jayhawks take down Texas. From Plainville, Kansas to Austin, Texas."
Time of possession, Neals' ability to find holes in the offensive line and the defenses skill to force four turnovers helped Kansas defeat Texas in its first victory in Austin, Texas ever. But a two-point conversion catch from redshirt freshman fullback Jared Casey ultimately gave the Jayhawks the win.
From the start, sophomore quarterback Jalon Daniels led the Jayhawks to a touchdown on the game’s first drive – 13 plays for 75 yards and a freshman running back Devin Neal three-yard rush.
Neal, the Lawrence native, was responsible for three other punch-ins on the evening, including the short run in overtime which set up Casey for the win.
But Kansas wasn’t just limited to one scoring drive in the first quarter. Following a forced fumble by the Jayhawk defense, Daniels connected with junior tight end Mason Fairchild with seconds remaining on an 11-yard reception.
Daniels’s ability to casually march down the field and pick up first downs consistently hasn’t been seen from a Kansas quarterback all season long. Against Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks failed to convert a first down during the entirety of the first half.
However, the momentum switched in the second quarter behind consecutive scoring drives by Texas. Junior quarterback Casey Thompson found junior wide receiver Marcus Washington and freshman wide receiver Xavier Worthy on 25 and 33-yard touchdown receptions respectively, to even the game at 14 all.
Kansas tallied 21 points in the second quarter, capped off by a 31-yard pick-six from freshman cornerback Jacobee Bryant. Daniels also got in on the scoring action with a nine-yard run as redshirt sophomore wide receiver Trevor Wilson helped carry Daniels past the goal line.
KU had not scored more than 33 points all season, but the Jayhawks registered 35 first-half points and took a 35-14 lead heading into the locker room.
Coming out of the break and in the second half as a whole, Texas retaliated with 21 points of its own in the third and then another 14 in the fourth. But Kansas showed resiliency as Leipold expressed postgame and Kansas was able to hang in the game.
The contest came down to the last five minutes where KU remained in front, but the Longhorns came knocking. Texas had an initial chance to tie things up at 49, but an interception in the endzone for freshman safety O.J. Burroughs gave Kansas possession with about two minutes remaining on the game clock.
Yet, the Longhorns stuffed KU on any chance of maneuvering the ball for positive yardage and regained possession with a minute and change remaining. With control, the Longhorns marched down the field and converted as the game clock read 22 seconds.
Following a Texas score in overtime, Kansas had to convert to keep the game alive -- and it did. Neal rushed for a two-yard touchdown and Daniels found Casey for a two-point conversion to walk it off.
Kansas is on the road again next Saturday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. against Texas Christian University.