Oct 12, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; A general view of fireworks exploding prior to a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas to play 2024 home games at Chiefs, SKC venues

Kansas football will relocate from Lawrence, Kan., to the Kansas City metropolitan area for the 2024 season.

The Jayhawks will be unable to play on campus as David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium undergoes a massive renovation, so their first two home games will be played at Children’s Mercy Park — the home of MLS club Sporting Kansas City in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas’ four Big 12 home games will be played at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium, across the state line in Missouri.

“This is an exciting move for our team as these are two well respected and exciting venues to watch a sporting event,” Kansas head coach Lance Leipold said in a statement. “I’m confident our fans will be able to create a ‘home field’ that our players will be energized to play in.”

The Kansas City area is roughly 40 miles east of the university’s Lawrence campus.

Kansas will face FCS member Lindenwood on Aug. 29 and UNLV on Sept. 14 at Children’s Mercy Park. The home games at Arrowhead will feature TCU on Sept. 28, Houston on Oct. 19, Iowa State on Nov. 9 and Colorado on Nov. 23.

The Big 12 stuck with a nine-game conference schedule for the 2024 season despite expanding to 16 teams.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Jason Bean (9) throws a pass against UNLV Rebels linebacker Marsel McDuffie (38) during the first quarter in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas overcomes miscues, beats UNLV for bowl win

PHOENIX — Kansas survived a second-half comeback by UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, overcoming three turnovers and 18 penalties for a 49-36 win on Tuesday.

Jason Bean threw all three interceptions, but also had a Kansas bowl-record six touchdown passes and 449 yards through the air. Lawrence Arnold (six receptions, 132 yards) and Luke Grimm (four receptions, 160 yards) each had three touchdown catches.

It was Kansas’ first bowl win — and second bowl appearance — since 2008.

The Jayhawks (9-4) led 28-7 late in the second quarter before UNLV scored 17 unanswered points.

Bean often found open receivers deep down the field for explosive plays. The crowd of mostly Jayhawks fans at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks saw Kansas rack up 333 yards of total offense in the first half, 591 for the game.

The Jayhawks’ defense also intercepted UNLV quarterback Jayden Maiava twice, but 210 yards in penalties hurt Kansas in what turned into a second-half shootout.

Down 7-0, Kansas drove 98 yards with its second possession of the game, with Bean’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Grimm set up by a 36-yard completion to Quentin Skinner.

Kansas made it 14-7 early in the second quarter when Bean found a wide-open Grimm down the field for a 60-yard touchdown. UNLV bit hard on a play-action fake on the play.

The Jayhawks got another explosive play downfield when Bean hit Grimm for 51 yards in one-on-one coverage, setting up another TD.

Skinner leaped over a defender for a 44-yard catch that set up a Devin Neal 1-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left in the first half, and Kansas took a 28-10 lead to halftime.

UNLV (9-5) scored a touchdown after one of Bean’s interceptions in the third quarter, Maiava finding Shelton Zeon III for a 5-yard TD pass. Then after the Rebels’ defense forced a punt, Maiava threw to Ricky White for a 37-yard touchdown to make it 28-24.

Kansas found its deep passing game again on the first play of the fourth quarter, Bean to Arnold for a 40-yard touchdown and a 35-24 lead. Jacob De Jesus answered with an 11-yard touchdown run for UNLV at the 12:06 mark to cut the lead to five points.

Two plays later, Bean’s short pass to Arnold turned into a 56-yard touchdown thanks to missed tackles. That gave Kansas a 42-30 lead with 11:10 to play, and both teams scored once more before the Jayhawks were able to run out the clock.

–Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media

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

Nov 11, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold looks on during the first half against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas overcomes slow start to blow out Cincinnati

Jason Bean accounted for four touchdowns as Kansas started slowly but then blew out Cincinnati 49-16 on Saturday night in Cincinnati. It gave Kansas its first eight-win season since 2008.

The Jayhawks averaged just over 11 yards per play.

Bean was 13-of-17 for 250 yards and two touchdowns, plus rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas (8-4, 5-4 Big 12). Devin Neal rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Cincinnati finished its first season in the Big 12 at 3-9, 1-8 in the conference. Emory Jones was 15-of-27 for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Kansas scored its fourth straight touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter. Neal scored from 30 yards out to put the Jayhawks up 28-10. It was Neal’s 15th touchdown run of the season.

Cincinnati cut it to 28-16 with a 7-yard halfback option pass from Ryan Montgomery to Dee Wiggins early in the fourth quarter. The 2-point conversion failed.

Kansas put it out of reach on its next drive. Bean hit Quintin Skinner for a 32-yard gain, then ran 43 yards for a touchdown that put the Jayhawks up 35-16. On the next drive, Bean scored on a 50-yard run.

Dylan McDuffie scored a 6-yard touchdown to cap the Jayhawks’ scoring.

It took a little while for the Jayhawks to get traction, but once they did Kansas rolled.

Cincinnati took the opening kickoff and marched 44 yards before stalling on the Kansas 31 and settling for a 49-yard field goal by Carter Brown.

Neither team could get much going until Cobee Bryant picked off a Brady Lichtenberg pass deep in Kansas territory. That sparked the Jayhawks’ offense as they went on a five-play, 77-yard drive. Neal went around the left edge for a 13-yard touchdown run.

After a Cincinnati punt on the next series, Kansas went 66 yards on five plays for a 14-3 lead. Bean hit Jared Casey on a 15-yard touchdown pass. The big play on the drive was a 38-yard run by Neal.

Just before halftime, Jones found Montgomery alone in the left flat and Montgomery waltzed into the end zone, cutting the deficit to 14-10 with 26 seconds left.

But Kansas answered. Casey returned a squib kick to the Kansas 45. Bean found Lawrence Arnold on the first play for a 30-yard gain before finding Mason Fairchild on a 26-yard touchdown with five seconds left.

–Field Level Media

Nov 18, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks running back Devin Neal (4) runs the ball against Kansas State Wildcats safety Marques Sigle (21) during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Kansas State rallies to upend No. 25 Kansas

Will Howard accounted for three touchdowns as No. 21 Kansas State scored 15 unanswered points to defeat host Kansas, the 25th-ranked team in the country, 31-27 in Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas State (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) won its 15th straight game in the rivalry.

Howard was 13 of 24 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns, plus a rushing touchdown.

Freshman Cole Ballard, who was making his first career start for Kansas (7-4, 4-4), completed 11 of 16 passes for 162 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Devin Neal, a native of Lawrence, Kan., ran for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.

On the first play of the second half, Ballard found Mason Fairchild alone in the right flat, and Fairchild raced 59 yards to the Wildcats’ 6-yard line. Two plays later, Neal ran untouched into the end zone for a 27-16 lead. The Jayhawks scored 14 points in less than two minutes of game action on either side of halftime.

DJ Giddens scored on a 1-yard run to pull Kansas State within one score midway through the third quarter. Howard ran it in for the two-point conversion.

Howard then went around left end for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Wildcats up 31-27 with 10:22 left.

Ballard threw an interception in the end zone on fourth-and-5 from the Kansas State 11 with 5:33 left, and the Wildcats ran out the clock.

The game couldn’t have started much better for Kansas State. The Wildcats went 75 yards in five plays to open a 7-0 lead. Howard found Jace Brown for 46 yards on the first play, followed by by Giddens’ 18-yard run. After a pair of incompletions, Howard found Ben Sinnott for an 11-yard touchdown.

Kansas tied it on a nifty 36-yard run around the left end by Neal, who juked a pair of Kansas State defenders, capping an 11-play, 82-yard drive.

Kansas took the lead on another Neal touchdown, a 9-yard scamper around the left end. Ballard hit Luke Grimm with a 33-yard gain to set up the score. The extra point was blocked and Keenan Garber returned it 91 yards for two points for the Wildcats.

Howard found Keagan Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown pass to put the Wildcats back in front 16-13 The Wildcats appeared to be stopped on downs deep in Kansas territory, but a defensive holding penalty kept the drive alive.

Ballard found Lawrence Arnold for a 5-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half to give the Jayhawks a 20-16 lead. The 13-play, 75-yard drive took seven minutes.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats tight end Ben Sinnott (34) celebrates a touchdown catch during the second quarter against the Baylor Bears at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Kansas State in Big 12 title pursuit, draws No. 25 Kansas

The football rivalry between Kansas State and Kansas is pretty intense when neither team is any good.

When one of the teams is good, it raises the temperature a little.

But when both teams are good, like they are in 2023, the intensity is palpable.

No. 21 Kansas State, still with a decent chance of playing in the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 2, will meet No. 25 Kansas — which also has a slight chance to reach the title game — on Saturday evening in Lawrence, Kan.

“It’s light years different,” Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman said of Kansas’ improvement since Lance Liepold took over the Jayhawks. “It’s even light years different from Lance’s first year. They keep improving each year.”

Kansas State has won 14 straight in the rivalry, but those 14 games don’t mean a thing this week.

Kansas State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) is in a four-way tie for second place in the Big 12. If the Wildcats win their last two games, including at Kansas and at home against Iowa State, there’s a strong possibility that they’ll face Texas in Arlington. But the Wildcats can’t look past the Jayhawks.

“They’re really good at a number of different positions,” Klieman said. “They’re a really sound defense. They don’t give up explosive plays; they tackle really well. We’re gonna have to come up with a really good game plan to win, especially on the road.

“They’re also really good and really creative on offense, no matter who’s behind center. They’re always going to be creative with shifts and motions and misdirection, as well as having the ability to give it to the two running backs and just pound it at you.”

Quarterback Will Howard is playing well of late, even in an overtime loss at Texas two games ago. He threw for 327 yards and four touchdowns. Against Baylor last week, he threw three more touchdowns in a convincing win. He’s had at least three touchdowns in five games this season, tying a Kansas State record, and he’s now the school’s all-time leader in touchdown passes.

While the QB position is an area of strength for the Wildcats, it’s a problem right now for Kansas (7-3, 4-3 Big 12). Starter Jalon Daniels has missed six straight games with injuries. Backup Jason Bean had to leave last Saturday’s game against Texas Tech with a head injury.

Liepold was optimistic Monday that Bean could play Saturday.

“I’m not going to get into the nature of injuries in-depth, but he did not practice last night,” he said. “But my latest (stance) is I’m very optimistic that he’ll be playing on Saturday.”

The third stringer, walk-on freshman Cole Ballard, had to step in against Texas Tech. He performed well, almost leading his first career game-winning drive before making his first career start. But Tech kicked a game-winning field goal to win 16-13.

Ballard, the son of Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, has the football pedigree. But the questions will remain until he proves he can do it in live action.

“I thought he’d do just about what he did — compete his tail off — and he won’t flinch,” Leipold said. “He will give you everything he has. I don’t think he ever had that deer-in-the-headlights look about him, where the moment was too big.

“That locker room really likes Cole Ballard and they have for a long time. It’s his makeup, it’s in his DNA and he’s going to be a fine player here.”

The biggest question is whether that will happen this Saturday.

–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

Sep 8, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks running back Devin Neal (4) runs the ball against Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Tyler Strain (20) and defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton (4) during the second half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Kansas solid on defense, too, as Oklahoma State awaits

Oklahoma State will face a ranked opponent for the first time this season when No. 23 Kansas travels to Stillwater for a Big 12 contest on Saturday.

The Jayhawks (5-1, 2-1) bounced back from a 26-point loss at then-No. 3 Texas on Sept. 30 with a 51-22 defeat of conference newcomer UCF last Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.

Kansas rushed for a whopping 399 yards and five touchdowns against UCF. Devin Neal ran for 154 yards and a score, Daniel Hishaw Jr. added 134 yards and two TDs, and Dylan McDuffie rushed for 91 yards and two TDs.

The Jayhawks averaged 7.8 yards per carry and posted their highest rushing total since gaining 400 against Rutgers in 2018. However, Kansas coach Lance Leipold said he was just as pleased with his defense, which kept the Knights off the scoreboard until the third quarter.

“I think our defense is playing at a level that I’m — I don’t know surprised — but to a level that I’m pleased with,” he said Monday. “Some of the depth I was anticipating that could come is starting to come, especially at the second level at our linebacker position. I can’t really say surprised, though. I think that’s underselling those guys.”

Kansas played without starting quarterback Jalon Daniels for the second straight week and third time this season. Daniels did not practice Monday and likely will be a game-time decision Saturday. Backup Jason Bean was 8-of-12 passing for 91 yards and one touchdown against the Knights.

The Jayhawks rank second in the Big 12 in both scoring (36 points per game) and rushing (232.3 yards per game). They will face a Cowboys defense that ranks 11th in the league against the run, allowing 154 yards per game.

Kansas defeated Oklahoma State 37-16 last season to halt a 12-game losing streak in the series; however, the Jayhawks have not won in Stillwater since 2007.

The Cowboys (3-2, 1-1) are coming off a 29-21 victory at home last Friday night against Kansas State. That ended a two-game skid for coach Mike Gundy’s squad.

Ollie Gordon II rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown and Alex Hale booted five field goals for Oklahoma State. The defense came up with three interceptions, including a 35-yard pick-six by Cameron Epps just before halftime.

In last season’s loss to Kansas in Lawrence, the Cowboys had no answers for Neal. The Jayhawks’ workhorse rushed 32 times for 224 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 110 yards.

“They’ve got a good package. They are smart and know what they are doing,” Gundy said Monday about the Kansas running game. “Those backs have gained confidence. They like running the ball because they are running for 3 to 4 yards past the line of scrimmage and not getting touched.”

The Cowboys lost wideout De’Zhaun Stribling for the season to a hand injury sustained in practice last week. The Washington State transfer caught 14 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown in four games.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA;  Kansas Jayhawks running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. (20) runs up field against UCF Knights linebacker Jason Johnson (0) during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas pounds UCF for 399 yards rushing in rout

Devin Neal rushed for a season-high 154 yards and host Kansas returned a punt for a touchdown for the first time since 2014 in a 51-22 rout of UCF on Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.

The Jayhawks rushed for 399 yards and scored five touchdowns on the ground.

Kansas (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) rebounded from last week’s rout to Texas by outgaining UCF 490-371 and denying the Golden Knights (3-3, 0-3), 2-point favorites, their first win since joining the Big 12.

Jason Bean got his third start and went 8-for-12 for 91 yards with a touchdown pass to Lawrence Arnold for KU. Neal rushed 12 times and scored, while Daniel Hishaw Jr. had 134 yards on 19 carries with two TDs. Dylan McDuffie ran for two scores.

Sidelined after missing three games, UCF’s John Rhys Plumlee started, took himself out after two passes on the opening series, and returned to go 3-for-7 for 33 yards in the first half.

Backup Timmy McClain was 12 of 15 for 136 yards, with TD passes to Alec Holler and Randy Pittman Jr. RJ Harvey had 133 yards on 16 carries with a score.

Coming off last week’s 36-35 loss to Baylor in which it wasted a 28-point lead late in the third quarter, UCF entered the game fifth nationally with 545.8 yards per game.

However, the Knights totaled only 133 in a decisive first half, when they punted four times and had a fumble on the way to losing for the third straight time.

In the schools’ first-ever matchup, the Jayhawks were in full control as they scored four times in the first half.

After Seth Keller’s 25-yard field goal, Bean tossed a five-yard score to Arnold and Hishaw ran in from three yards.

Late in the first half, Trevor Wilson took a punt, dodged the first tackler and raced 83 yards untouched to increase the halftime margin to 24 points.

On the first scrimmage play of the second half, Neal dashed 75 yards to eclipse the century mark for the second time this season.

The Knights finally got on the board on Holler’s 13-yard TD catch, but McDuffie answered on a 1-yard TD plunge. UCF returned the blocked PAT for two points.

Harvey, Hishaw and McDuffie had rushing scores in the fourth quarter, while Pittman caught a 23-yard TD.

–Field Level Media