Recap: KU football beats West Virginia in Big 12 opener

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kansas football’s 2022 regular season continued Saturday on the road against West Virginia.

The Jayhawks came in with the aim of capturing a win in their Big 12 Conference opener. They came in after a 1-0 start for the second time in head coach Lance Leipold’s tenure leading the program. And although it had been a while since Kansas has opened Big 12 play with a  victory, the team arrived with optimism in Leipold’s second season at the helm that the drought could end this year against the Mountaineers (0-1).

Did Jayhawks junior quarterback Jalon Daniels and the offense perform well after scoring nearly 60 points in the opener against Tennessee Tech? Did Kansas’ defense, and especially redshirt junior defensive end Lonnie Phelps Jr., play as well as they did a week ago? Or, did the Jayhawks suffer a letdown that may lend itself to making fans believe the rebuild still has some ways to go?

►RELATED:Here are 5 takeaways from Hawk Talk with Lance Leipold’s West Virginia game week episode

►RELATED:Kansas football’s West Virginia game isn’t ‘do-or-die,’ but still a valuable opportunity

Here’s what’s happened at Milan Puskar Stadium:

FINAL: Kansas 55, West Virginia 42

The Jayhawks scored a touchdown in the first overtime on a pass from Jalon Daniels to Quentin Skinner. Then Kansas saw one of its cornerbacks, Cobee Bryant, intercept a pass during West Virginia’s possession and return it for a score to win the game.

END 4Q: Kansas 42, West Virginia 42

West Virginia ties the score

West Virginia went 85 yards in 12 plays, while taking 1:42 off of the clock, and scored a touchdown with 0:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. CJ Donaldson rushed the ball in from one yard out for the Mountaineers to set up the potentially score-tying two-point conversion. And on a pass, West Virginia did just that to make the score 42-42.

West Virginia gets a field goal

Kansas’ lead is now 42-34 with 4:04 left in the game. West Virginia had 4th and goal at the 1 yard line, and then had both a false start penalty and delay of game penalty back them up. The 28-yard field goal attempt that connected ended a 14-play and 64-yard drive that took 6:55 off of the clock.

Kansas extends its lead

The Jayhawks are rolling now and are up two scores. After a 30-yard rushing touchdown by Daniel Hishaw Jr., the extra point with 10:59 left in the game made it a 42-31 lead for Kansas. The drive took 1:56 off of the clock and lasted four plays and 65 yards.

The Jayhawks clearly hold the momentum now, and it’s just a matter of what their defense is able to do late. This is the largest lead Kansas has had in this game. Another stop very well could end this considering how well the Jayhawks’ offense is doing.

West Virginia hits a field goal

West Virginia cut into Kansas’ lead with a field goal with 12:58 left in the fourth quarter. The field goal attempt was from 27 yards out and made the game 35-31, Kansas still leading. The drive lasted 13 plays and 65 yards, while taking 6:02 off of the clock.

END 3Q: Kansas 35, West Virginia 28

Kansas takes its first lead

The Jayhawks took advantage of a muffed punt by West Virginia and drove down to take their first lead of the night. Devin Neal ran the ball in from two yards out for a touchdown, and after the extra point Kansas is up 35-28 with 4:00 left in the third quarter. The drive lasted six plays and 24 yards and took three minutes off of the clock.

Earlier this half, the Jayhawks’ defense earned its first stop of the game. That, and the muffed punt, has allowed Kansas to take control as its offense continues to play well. The Jayhawks have scored touchdowns on five of their past six drives offensively.

Kansas ties the score

The score is tied at 28-28 now with 11:32 left in the third quarter. Kansas drove down on a 75-yard drive that lasted eight plays and took 3:28 off of the clock. Daniel Hishaw Jr. rushed in for the touchdown on a three-yard carry, and a good extra point followed.

Daniels has continued to have a great game for the Jayhawks. The drive included a 40-yard pass from him to Quentin Skinner. The team is in good hands if Daniels can continue to play this well.

HALFTIME: West Virginia 28, Kansas 21

Kansas takes advantage of key drive

As the clock ticked down in the second quarter, Kansas made the most of a late drive before the half and found the end zone. Jalon Daniels hit Devin Neal for a 17-yard touchdown pass to bring the game to within one score again with 29 seconds left in the second quarter. The drive went 10 plays and 75 yards and took 2:42 off of the clock.

Kansas gets the ball to start the second half. So, this was a huge drive for the Jayhawks to take advantage of. And they did.

West Virginia is back up two scores

JT Daniels found Bryce Ford-Wheaton for a touchdown for the second time today, and after the extra point West Virginia is up 28-14 with 3:11 left in the second quarter. The drive lasted 11 plays and 75 yards. It took 5:15 off of the clock.

Kansas’ penalty woes came up again on this drive, including multiple face mask flags. If Kansas’ defense is going to have a chance of stopping West Virginia, this can’t continue to happen. Overall, the Mountaineers are averaging 8.1 yards per play.

Kansas finds the end zone again

Devin Neal took a direct snap and ran it in for a touchdown from six yards out to give the Jayhawks another touchdown on the day. Neal initially bobbled the snap, but corralled it and had little trouble making his way to the end zone. After the extra point, on a 11-play and 75-yard drive that took 4:44 off the clock, Kansas now trails 21-14 with 8:26 left in the second quarter.

The Jayhawks are moving the ball well offensively. If this is going to be a shootout, they may be able to stay in it and even potentially win. But they could use some stops defensively to give them some room to work with, because right now there doesn’t seem to be much margin for error offensively.

West Virginia extends its lead

West Virginia responded to Kansas’ scoring drive with one of its own, and needed much less time to do it. A 67-yard touchdown pass from JT Daniels to Bryce Ford-Wheaton capped it off, and the extra point made it 21-7 with 13:15 left in the second quarter. All-in-all the drive went 75 yards in four plays and took 1:44 off of the clock.

One thing that helped make the touchdown possible, was missed tackles on that big play. There were multiple times the Jayhawks had the opportunity to bring the wide receiver down, at different levels of the defense. It didn’t happen.

Kansas scores for the first time

The Jayhawks are on the board, after a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jalon Daniels to Mason Fairchild. The drive lasted nine plays and 79 yards and took 5:01 off of the clock. After the extra point, West Virginia still leads 14-7 with 14:57 left in the second quarter.

Kansas needed a fourth-down conversion earlier in the drive to keep it alive, on 4th and 2 at the West Virginia 32 yard line. Daniels found Jared Casey for a short pass for three yards to make that happen. Time will tell if this provides the Jayhawks enough momentum to stay in it.

END 1Q: West Virginia 14, Kansas 0

Kansas is driving, and across midfield for the first time today as the first quarter comes to an end. West Virginia has been handily in control for most of the contest, though. A score for the Jayhawks would be huge at this point.

West Virginia makes it a two-score game

The Mountaineers are up 14-0 now, after a one-yard touchdown run by CJ Donaldson. The drive lasted 12 plays and 60 yards and took 5:45 off of the clock, before the extra point went through. There’s now 5:03 left in the first quarter.

Kansas had stopped West Virginia on third down earlier in the drive, but the Mountaineers elected to go for it on 4th-and-3 at the 25 yard line. A completed pass kept the drive going. And now the Jayhawks face a two-score deficit early.

Kansas’ opening drive ends with a punt

A once promising drive ended with a punt for Kansas. While the Jayhawks moved the ball well initially, after a penalty took away a significant first-down pass from Jalon Daniels to Lawrence Arnold the drive stalled. At one point, Daniels was lucky to get a pass off — that would go incomplete — to avoid a sack.

West Virginia opens the scoring

West Virginia didn’t waste much time before scoring the game’s first points. JT Daniels found Sam James on a 59-yard touchdown pass, and after the extra point it’s a 7-0 game with 13:19 left in the first quarter. The drive went 75 yards in four plays and took 1:41 off of the clock.

The coin toss

Kansas won the toss and chose to defer. West Virginia will receive to start this game.

Kansas appears to basically be at full strength

Kickoff is less than an hour away

West Virginia will be without a projected starter

Kickoff approaches

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

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