Kansas Jayhawks running back Devin Neal (4) scores a touch down during the NCAA college football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. This is the Bearcats    last game of the season, as well as their Senior Night Saturday.

Report: Star RB Devin Neal returning to Kansas in 2024

The Kansas Jayhawks got welcome news before playing UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Tuesday night in Phoenix, as star running back Devin Neal has told the coaching staff he will return to the team in 2024, ESPN reported.

An All-Big 12 second-team selection, the true junior (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) had been deliberating about declaring for the NFL draft.

In 12 games (10 starts) in the regular season, he has rushed for 1,209 yards and 15 touchdowns on 183 carries for an average of 6.6 yards per carry and 100.8 yards per game. He also caught 24 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown.

In 36 games (30 starts) over three seasons, Neal has rushed for 3,006 yards and 32 TDs on 521 carries. He ranks fifth in program history for career rushing yards and third in rushing TDs.

Neal, whose hometown is Lawrence, Kansas, would have a shot at becoming the Jayhawks’ all-time leader, surpassing June Henley’s 3,841 yards and 41 touchdowns.

The Jayhawks (8-4) were trying for their first bowl game victory since beating Minnesota 42-21 in the 2008 Insight Bowl. UNLV (9-4) has not won a bowl game since 2000.

–Field Level Media

Kansas Jayhawks running back Devin Neal (4) runs for a touchdown against Iowa State during the first quarter at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas builds big lead, holds on at Iowa State

Jason Bean was 14 of 23 for 287 yards as No. 21 Kansas hung on to defeat Iowa State 28-21 Saturday night in Ames, Iowa. Bean found Lawrence Arnold for an 80-yard score midway through the fourth quarter to ice the victory.

The Jayhawks (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) moved into a five-way tie for second place in the Big 12.

Rocco Becht was 20-for-26 with a key interception for Iowa State (5-4, 4-2).

Devin Neal scored a 1-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half to give Kansas a 21-3 lead, capping an 11-play, 75-yard drive.

Eli Sanders finally scored the Cyclones’ first touchdown with 3:26 left in the third quarter. He ran around the right corner from 6 yards out. He then ran almost the identical play for a 2-point conversion, trimming the deficit to 21-11.

Iowa State forced Kansas to punt and then went 90 yards in 12 plays. Becht ran it in from the KU 2-yard line with 8:09 remaining.

But on the first play of the ensuing drive, Bean found Arnold behind the ISU secondary for an 80-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 28-18.

Chase Contreraz trimmed it to 28-21 with a 29-yard field goal with 4:53 left, but Kansas did not give up the ball again.

After forcing a three-and-out on Iowa State’s first possession, Kansas marched 87 yards on nine plays to take a 7-0 lead. Bean found Arnold for a first down on fourth-and-10 to keep the drive alive. Neal punched it in from the 6-yard line for the score.

In the second quarter, Ra’Mello Dotson picked off Becht at the 50 and raced untouched to the end zone. It was Dotson’s second pick-6 in as many games, and it gave Kansas a 14-0 lead.

Contreraz hit a 35-yard field goal for Iowa State with three seconds left in the half to prevent the Cyclones from going scoreless in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State's Ollie Gordon II (0) runs the ball against Kansas Jayhawks s Kenny Logan Jr. (1) in the first quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan J. Fish-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State knocks off No. 23 Kansas, 39-32

Brennan Presley’s 6-yard touchdown run with 2:33 left lifted host Oklahoma State past No. 23 Kansas 39-32 on Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.

The Cowboys (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) defeated the Jayhawks for the seventh straight time in Stillwater.

Ollie Gordon became the first OSU player since 1989 to have 100 yards rushing (168) and receiving (116) in the same game.

Kansas (5-2, 2-2) again played without QB Jalon Daniels. Jason Bean started and threw for career highs in yards (410) and touchdowns (five), but he had two second-half turnovers that changed the momentum.

The game was a back-and-forth affair with five lead changes.

Bean found Quentin Skinner for his fifth touchdown pass early in the second half, a 42-yard strike to give KU a 32-24 lead.

A pair of short Alex Hale field goals cut the Kansas lead to 32-30 early in the fourth quarter, but a missed 43-yarder with just under 10 minutes left kept the Cowboys from retaking the lead. But after forcing a turnover on downs, the Cowboys marched 50 yards to take the lead on Presley’s touchdown. Hale connected from 42 yards for the final points.

Oklahoma State took the opening kickoff and went 77 yards in just five plays for a quick 7-0 lead. QB Alan Bowman found Gordon for a 17-yard touchdown pass in the right flat. The big play was a 50-yard screen to Gordon on the first play from scrimmage.

After the Cowboys forced a KU punt, OSU went 83 yards in nine plays. Bowman found Presley for a 20-yard touchdown on another screen and the Cowboys were up 14-0 halfway through the first quarter.

Kansas got on the board on its next drive. Bean found Trevor Wilson open deep for a 47-yard touchdown pass.

Hale’s 28-yard field goal pushed the lead to 17-7 for OSU.

Bean then found tight end Mason Fairchild wide open for a 30-yard touchdown to draw the Jayhawks to within 17-13, as the extra point was blocked. Following an OSU three-and-out, Bean found Fairchild uncovered again on a 44-yard score and a 19-17 Kansas lead.

Gordon’s second touchdown, a 42-yard run, gave the Cowboys a 24-19 lead with just under three minutes left in the half.

But Bean and the Jayhawks responded. Bean hit Skinner for a 49-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed and the Jayhawks led 25-24 at halftime.

Bowman threw for 336 yards and the two TDs.

–Field Level Media

Kansas junior quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) practices passes during Tuesday's outdoor practice.

Kansas QB Jalon Daniels (back) expected to start vs. Missouri State

Kansas standout quarterback Jalon Daniels is expected to start Friday night against Missouri State despite dealing with a back injury during fall camp.

The preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year hasn’t had a lot of practice work leading up to the season opener.

“We just released the two-deep, and that’s kind of where we’re at right now and where we’re going,” Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold said Monday. “He hasn’t practiced a lot, but he went through everything today, and yeah, we’re planning on playing everyone who is available.”

Jason Bean is listed as the backup quarterback on the depth chart.

Daniels passed for 2,014 yards, 18 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season. He also rushed for 425 yards and seven scores.

Leipold said he isn’t concerned about playing Daniels against an FCS program like Missouri State.

“That’s the balancing act we have to do here,” Leipold said. “We’re getting him as much work as we can, as many different ways as we can. He’s been getting work; he’s been doing things. To make it sound like he’s never practiced the last two weeks is not accurate, either. We’re confident.

“Unfortunately for him, it’s something he’s gone through before, getting little reps and where he is at, but I think we’re in a good spot with him.”

–Field Level Media

Kansas' head football coach Lance Leipold looks up during the Big 12 football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Jones AT&T Stadium.

Reports: Kansas extends coach Lance Leipold thru 2029

Amid the resurgence of its football program that saw the team ranked in the Top 25 for a spell earlier this year, Kansas signed coach Lance Leipold to a new contract with an extension through the 2029 season, multiple reports said Tuesday night.

Kansas (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) is bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. The Jayhawks spent two weeks in October ranked in the AP poll, which they hadn’t achieved since 2009.

Leipold, previously the coach at Buffalo, took over the Jayhawks in March 2021 after the school fired Les Miles amid allegations that he behaved inappropriately with female students.

After a 2-10 finish in 2021 highlighted by a 57-56 upset over Texas, Kansas opened this season 5-0 with conference wins over West Virginia and Iowa State. The Jayhawks went on to add a 37-16 beatdown of then-No. 18 Oklahoma State.

It’s already Leipold’s second extension in 19 months on the job. In September, Kansas announced a one-year extension that brought his contract at the time through the 2027 season.

Despite that, Leipold’s name was linked to vacancies at Nebraska and Arizona State earlier this season.

Under Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, interim coach Clint Bowen, David Beaty and Miles from 2010-20, Kansas football had gone a combined 21-108 with winless seasons in 2015 and 2020.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Garret Rangel (13) throws a pass against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half of the game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas powers past Oklahoma State to clinch first bowl game since 2008

Devin Neal ran for 224 yards and a touchdown as Kansas rolled past visiting No.18 Oklahoma State 37-16 Saturday afternoon in a key Big 12 Conference game in Lawrence, Kansas.

Kansas quarterback Jason Bean passed for two scores and ran 73 yards for another.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Kansas and assured that the Jayhawks (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) would play in a bowl for the first time since 2008.

Neal also caught six passes for 110 yards. Bean was 18 of 23 passing for 203 yards.

The Cowboys (6-3, 3-3 Big 12) were without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders, who was ruled out with an injury hours before the game. Garret Rangel got his first career start and passed for 304 yards and two touchdowns, but also uncorked three interceptions in the loss.

Oklahoma State has dropped two straight games and three of its past four.

The Jayhawks scored first on Neal’s 31-yard touchdown run at the 11:21 mark of the opening quarter. Jacob Borcila kicked a 21-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining in the first quarter to expand the Kansas lead to 10-0.

Oklahoma State finally got on track early in the second quarter, moving 75 yards in 15 plays to Rangel’s 8-yard scoring pass to Stephon Johnson Jr. with 9:59 to play. But the Jayhawks immediately responded as Bean dashed through the defense for his long scoring run that sent Kansas to a 17-7 advantage with 9:10 to play in the quarter.

The Jayhawks weren’t done in the half, moving 87 yards in only seven plays to an 8-yard Bean-to-Lawrence Arnold touchdown pass 22 seconds before halftime to carry a 24-7 lead into intermission. Neal ran for 146 yards and a score before halftime.

Kansas built on its advantage with a touchdown drive on its opening possession of the third quarter which covered 75 yards, chewed up almost eight minutes and ended with Bean’s 8-yard scoring toss to Jared Casey.

Oklahoma State’s Tanner Brown booted a 35-yard FG that was later countered by a 20-yarder by Borcila. The Cowboys cut into their deficit with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Rangel to Jaden Nixon that was soon answered by Borcila’s third field goal.

–Field Level Media

A formation of F-16 fighter jets fly over David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium before the start of Saturday's game against Iowa State.

Kansas reveals plans for $300M football facility overhaul

The University of Kansas unveiled plans Friday to renovate its football stadium and facilities beginning early next year.

The school is planning significant upgrades to David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the Anderson Family Football Complex.

The project will be financed mostly through private sources and premium seating sales. While Kansas officials didn’t disclose the cost, multiple reports said it will be more than $300 million.

Kansas said its leaders have sought paths “to generate revenue for academic programming and spur regional economic growth” in recent years. Support for the Jayhawks’ normally weak football program is currently high following a 5-0 start; ESPN is hosting this Saturday’s “College GameDay” broadcast from Lawrence for the first time.

“This project is unmatched in its vision to benefit a broad range of KU constituents while signaling a new era for Kansas Football,” athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement. “Once complete, this project will ensure our football program has the facilities it needs to compete at the highest level and provide the best-possible game day experience for student-athletes and fans. Moreover, we are thrilled this project goes beyond football to benefit the entire university and the regional economy.”

No. 19 Kansas hosts No. 17 TCU (4-0) on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall (4) runs the ball past Kansas Jayhawks linebacker Rich Miller (30) during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas gets off to fast start in rout of Tennessee Tech

Starting quarterback Jalon Daniels was nearly spotless as Kansas demolished Tennessee Tech 56-10 in the opening game for both teams. Daniels was 15-of-18 for 189 yards with a rushing and a passing touchdown.

Kansas dominated in all aspects of the game, outgaining the Golden Eagles 502-190. They averaged 10.2 yards per play, compared to 2.8 for Tennessee Tech.

Things started well for Kansas. After forcing a three-and-out on Tennessee Tech’s first drive, the Jayhawks got the ball on the Tech 40. Four plays later, Devin Neal raced almost untouched 19 yards into the end zone for the first touchdown of the season and a 7-0 lead.

After another three-and-out, it took only two plays to put another touchdown on the board. Daniels found Quentin Skinner for 56 yards over the middle on the first play. Daniel Hishaw took it the final nine yards on the next play.

The Golden Eagles finally got untracked on offense, going 42 yards on 10 plays. But a field-goal attempt was blocked and returned 61 yards by Cobee Bryant for the Jayhawks’ third touchdown with 4:42 left in the first quarter.

Tennessee Tech finally got on the board in the second quarter with a 28-yard Nicolas Bigelow field goal following a fumbled punt by Kansas on its own 34.

Kansas took advantage of a short field for its next touchdown, punched in by Daniels on an 11-yard run, capping a 22-yard drive. Right before halftime, Daniels led a 63-yard touchdown drive in seven plays in 1:29 to give Kansas a 35-3 lead.

Tennessee Tech finished the first half with 16 of 31 plays with either no yards gained or losing yardage. Daniels, meanwhile, was 14-of-15 for 182 yards, with a passing and a rushing touchdown in the first half.

Tech missed a chip-shot field goal in the third quarter, and Neal answered with an 80-yard touchdown run on the next play for a 42-3 lead.

The Jayhawks added two more rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, one by Sevion Morrison and the other by Jason Bean.

Tech scored a touchdown late in the fourth to reach double-digits.

–Field Level Media

Jul 13, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold is interviewed during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas gives Lance Leipold one-year extension

Kansas rewarded football coach Lance Leipold with a one-year extension that takes his contract through the 2027 season on Thursday.

Leipold left the same position at Buffalo and took over the Jayhawks in March 2021 after Kansas parted ways with Les Miles amid allegations that he behaved inappropriately with female students.

Kansas finished Leipold’s first season 2-10, highlighted by a 57-56 overtime victory over Texas for the Jayhawks’ first road win in the Big 12 since 2008.

“This is a statement about our exceptional confidence in Lance, his outstanding staff and the unlimited potential of Kansas Football,” athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement. “When you consider he and his staff did not arrive until May (2021), and therefore did not have a chance to coach our guys until August last year, the 2021 season could be considered ‘year zero.’

“Given the progress that’s been made both on and off the field in such short order, I could not feel more strongly about the trajectory of this program under Lance’s leadership, as well as our shared commitment to elevate Kansas Football to unprecedented heights.”

Kansas opens its season Friday against FCS opponent Tennessee Tech.

–Field Level Media

Kansas coach Lance Leipold surveys his players during Saturday's public practice at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium

Kansas optimistic entering season, opens vs. Tennessee Tech

Kansas is home to the reigning national champions in men’s basketball, an annual powerhouse, but fans are also looking forward to football season for a change.

The season gets started Friday night as the Jayhawks open against FCS opponent Tennessee Tech in Lawrence, Kan.

The Jayhawks should have an advantage in personnel. But that’s not the main reason for optimism.

Head coach Lance Leipold enters his second season in Lawrence having led the Jayhawks to their first road conference win since 2008 when Kansas defeated Texas 57-56 in overtime in Austin late last season. A gutsy two-point conversion call paid off when walk-on tight end Jared Casey caught a pass just across the goal line for the winning points.

The Jayhawks have hopes of winning more than two games for the first time since 2019. To say it’s been a long climb for Leipold is an understatement. Since Mark Mangino’s last winning season (8-5) in 2008, Kansas has gone 28-125 overall, including 8-106 in the Big 12 Conference, with no more than one conference win in any season.

Leipold believes his team is ready for more success.

“There’s so many things that are different for the better,” Leipold said earlier this summer. “We’ve said many times, players know the coaches, know what to expect. We still have a fair amount of new guys going through their first practice, and there’s uncertainty and wandering around … everyone is understanding and we’re in a much better spot.”

Tennessee Tech is coming off a 3-8 season, including 1-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Golden Eagles are not planning on rolling over. They brought in transfer quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall from Memphis, who’s going into his sixth season of college football. Running back David Gist and receiver Quinton Cross are among the best at their respective positions in the Ohio Valley.

“I was very pleased as far as the effort of the football team,” head coach Dewayne Alexander said after an intrasquad scrimmage Aug. 20. “It was very hard-hitting, very competitive. … Either your football team’s competitive and hard-nosed or they’re not. And our guys are. So that part is good. I know we’re going to show up and play hard.”

–Field Level Media