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Kansas tries to improve 1-10 record vs. West Virginia

Sportsnaut
Sep 2, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks running back Devin Neal (4) runs for a touchdown against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks and West Virginia Mountaineers have played each other in football every season since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012. They’ll renew the rivalry Saturday evening in Morgantown, W.Va.

If the Jayhawks (1-0) manage to knock off West Virginia (0-1), Kansas will start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2011. A victory would be the Jayhawks’ first in a conference opener since 2009.

But that’s a big “if.” KU is 1-10 all-time against West Virginia. They’ve never won (0-6) in Morgantown.

Even a 2-0 start doesn’t guarantee a successful season. In 2011, the Jayhawks opened with home wins over McNeese State (42-24) and Northern Illinois (45-42) and finished 2-10. But that’s getting ahead of things.

Head coach Lance Leipold would love to have to worry about overconfidence.

“There were things we were hoping to see,” he said after a season-opening 56-10 win over Tennessee Tech. “We handled our business in a game in which, all due respect, Tennessee Tech is in a building process themselves. That was a game we probably should have handled and didn’t let get away from us. In true coach fashion, we saw plenty of things we have to improve on.”

The Jayhawks were stellar on the ground. Devin Neal finished with 108 yards on four carries with two touchdowns, including an 80-yard burst.

Neal became the first player nationally to have over 105 yards and two touchdowns on four carries or less since Kendrick Foster accomplished the feat against Murray State back in 2016.

In total, Kansas rushed for 297 yards on 30 carries, nearly 10 yards per carry.

West Virginia will be trying to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1979. West Virginia opened on the road at Pitt last Friday, ultimately falling, 38-31.

JT Daniels has taken over starting quarterback duties for the Mountaineers after previous stops at Georgia and USC. Daniels completed 23 of 40 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns (one rushing) and an interception versus Pitt.

“I thought JT played really well,” West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said after the game. “He had some checks and threw the deep ball well. He gave our guys a chance.”

–Field Level Media