Neal, Hishaw showcase Kansas run game, Jayhawks run over UCF, 51-22

Sat, Oct 7, 2023
NCAAF News (AP)

Neal, Hishaw showcase Kansas run game, Jayhawks run over UCF, 51-22

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Devin Neal rushed for 154 yards on just 12 carries and Daniel Hishaw ran for another 134 yards and two touchdowns as Kansas dominated UCF 51-22 in a Big 12 Conference battle on Saturday.

On the day Kansas inducted Tony Sands, the school's second all-time leading rusher, into the ring of honor, Neal passed four players to move into ninth on the all-time list as the Jayhawks (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) rushed for 399 yards.

"Tony was in the locker room after the game," Kansas coach Lance Leipold said. "I asked him what he thought of our offensive performance. Tony gave us a thumbs-up."

Neal, a Lawrence native who grew up watching Kansas football, was thrilled to be included on a list that features Gayle Sayers and John Riggins at sixth and seventh, respectively.

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"That's special to be part of a list like that," he said. "It's everything that I dreamed of.

"Who doesn't want to be a part of something so special, a part of history. But it wasn't my main focus (coming in). My main focus was turning this thing around."

UCF (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) welcomed back starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who missed three games with an undisclosed leg injury. He was just 3-of-7 for 33 yards. Backup Timmy McClain was 12-of-15 for 136 yards and two scores.

"This is a really good bounce-back for us," Leipold said. "I didn't know how we would handle it after last week (a 40-14 loss at Texas). (UCF has) a high-speed offense. You could see glimpses of how dangerous they are."

UCF head coach Gus Malzahn was not pleased.

"That was obviously a disappointing loss," he said. "The first half was embarrassing from an offensive standpoint. Defensively, not being able to stop the run was one of the stories of the game."

Kansas was without its starting quarterback, Jalon Daniels, for the second straight week and third time this season. Daniels, the preseason Big 12 offensive player of the year, missed the game with a back injury. Backup Jason Bean was 8-of-12 for 91 yards.

"Jason did what we asked him to do," Leipold said. "We told Jason and our receivers that this was going to be a run-emphasis game. They needed to do their jobs and accept that, and I thought they did."

Already up 24-0 at intermission, Neal took a handoff on the first play from scrimmage in the second half and raced 75 yards untouched for a 31-0 lead.

But Kansas is not satisfied with shutting down the Knights for a half.

"I don't think we demoralized them enough," defensive end Austin Booker said. "They came back in the second half. I feel like we should have done our job a little longer. We need to start finishing games."

The Knights finally reached the end zone on a four-play, 75-yard drive in the third quarter. McClain hit Alec Holler with a 13-yard touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion failed.

Kansas responded with a 75-yard drive to stretch the lead to 37-8. Dylan McDuffie punched in from the 1-yard line. The extra point attempt was botched and UCF returned it 91 yards for 2 points.

UCF cut it to 37-15 with a touchdown by RJ Harvey, but Hishaw's second touchdown gave the Jayhawks a 44-15 lead. UCF's final touchdown was a 23-yard pass from McClain to Randy Pittman.

Kansas got a 25-yard Seth Keller field goal on its first drive. Bean found Lawrence Arnold for a 5-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the second quarter to put Kansas up 10-0. Hishaw extended the lead with a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter and Trevor Wilson returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown and a 24-0 lead.

THE TAKEAWAY

UCF: the Knights are still stinging from blowing a 35-7 lead over Baylor late in the third quarter. UCF gave up 60 unanswered points over two games: 29 straight to lose 36-35 to Baylor and 31 straight to start this game.

Kansas: the Jayhawks didn't let a tough loss at Texas last week carry over. The Jayhawks dominated from the start.

UP NEXT

UCF: the Knights are off next weekend before traveling to play Oklahoma in Norman on Oct. 21.

Kansas: the Jayhawks will face Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., next Saturday.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

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