These Jayhawks are not an illusion. They aren't a dominant football team, but for once they are a solid, competitive football team. They proved that today by going on the road and taking down a Houston team that was favored by nine, and doing it in convincing fashion.
It's worth noting that in both the last two weeks, Kansas benefited from some lucky bounces. Still, that doesn't explain away the Jayhawks' offensive performances. After racking up 55 points and 419 yards in Morgantown, Kansas scored 48 with 440 yards in Houston, as the Jayhawks cruised past the Cougars 48-30.
This one, much like the West Virginia game, got off to a rough start. The defense was gashed on Houston's first two drives, while the Kansas offense sputtered, meaning KU once again fell down 14-0 early. However, much like last week, the Kansas offense picked it up, and benefited from a lucky break defensively. With the score 14-7, a tipped pass went directly into Kenny Logan's hands. He returned the pick into the red zone, and the Jayhawks took advantage of the opportunity, tying the game at 14. A lightning delay stopped the game with Kansas driving in the 2nd quarter, and once play resumed, they put the ball in the endzone to go up by seven. A Houston punt led to Kansas quickly moving 97 yards and make it 28-14 going into halftime, thanks to a 60 yard touchdown pass from Jalon Daniels to former backup quarterback Torry Locklin.
Houston moved the ball well in the second half, but didn't come up with the defensive stops needed to make it count. The score was 42-27 headed into the 4th, following a Cougar touchdown on the final play of the 3rd. Kansas couldn't go the full length of the field, but they hit a huge field goal that made it a three possession game.
Houston got the ball back with over 10 minutes left, but between the Kansas defense holding the Cougars to small chunks of yardage, and some bizarre playcalling by former West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, they ran the clock all the way down under five minutes and only came up with a field goal. From there, Houston was going to need some magic to have a real shot at the win, and they didn't get it. KU recovered the onside kick, ran the ball with authority, and drove down the field to answer with a field goal of their own. From there, Houston was too far behind with too little time, and as the clock expired, Kansas had come up with yet another solid road victory.
Jalon Daniels once again put on a show, and if all-conference voting were to take place today, he would have real argument for 1st team. 282 of KU's 440yards came on the ground, but Daniels was a huge part of that, leading all rushers with 123 yards on 12 carries with two scores. He also completed 14 of 23 pass attempts for 158 yards. His three passing TDs made him the first Kansas QB to both run and pass for multiple touchdowns in a game since, you guessed it, Todd Reesing.
The defense still gave up a lot of yards and allowed Houston too much open space for much of the game, but the bend-but-don't-break approach, in combination with two forced turnovers (while not committing any of their own), did enough to keep Houston from seriously threatening down the stretch on their home turf.
Kansas is now 3-0 on the season, and is likely to receive some top 25 votes (yes, I really said that) this week. Then they host an undefeated Duke squad next Saturday with a shot to set their highest win total in any season since 2009...before we even get to October. Big 12 play could potentially still be rough for Kansas, but they're showing they belong with respectable football teams, something we haven't consistently seen since the Mangino days. Your Jayhawks are 3-0, they have a QB, they have a smart coaching staff, and they have Kansas fans excited about football. It's a great day to be a Jayhawk.