Jayhawks pound away in 56-10 victory over Tennessee Tech

Kansas running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. (20) celebrates with wide receivers Quentin Skinner (83)...
Kansas running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. (20) celebrates with wide receivers Quentin Skinner (83) and Luke Grimm (11) after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Tech Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 10:41 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Jalon Daniels threw for 182 yards with touchdowns on the ground and through the air, Kansas piled up 297 yards rushing against overmatched Tennessee Tech, and the Jayhawks rolled to a season-opening 56-10 victory Friday night.

Devin Neal took a handoff 80 yards for a touchdown and finished with 108 yards rushing and two scores. Nebraska transfer Sevion Morrison, Daniel Hishaw and backup quarterback Jason Bean also had touchdown runs for the Jayhawks.

Kansas also got a 61-yard TD return by Jacobee Bryant off a blocked field goal that set the tone early.

Their revamped defense was just as good: Golden Eagles starter Jeremiah Oatsvall was just 10-of-18 passing for 76 yards with a TD and an interception. The Jayhawks held Tennessee Tech to 93 yards rushing on 43 carries.

After more than a decade of just about everything going wrong, the Jayhawks must have felt good about a first half — albeit against a lower-level opponent — in which just about everything went right.

Kansas cornerback Jacobee Bryant (2) is chased by safety Marvin Grant (4) and cornerback Kalon...
Kansas cornerback Jacobee Bryant (2) is chased by safety Marvin Grant (4) and cornerback Kalon Gervin (18) as he returned a blocked punt to score a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee Tech Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)

Daniels connected on 14 of 15 passes for 182 yards, scoring on an 11-yard second-quarter run before passing to Mason Fairchild for a 2-yard score. Three different Jayhawks reached the end zone on the ground. And when Bryant scooped up that blocked field goal late in the first quarter and returned it 61 yards for a score, Kansas had its first such touchdown since Patrick Brown’s against Oklahoma in 1996.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks’ rebuilt defense shut down the Golden Eagles.

Kansas forced a three-and-out on Tennessee Tech’s first two possessions, then blocked the field goal on the next. And after Tennessee Tech finally converted a field goal to make it 21-3, the Jayhawks forced two more three-and-outs.

The second half wasn’t nearly as clean for Kansas. Daniels nearly fumbled the ball away on their first possession before Jacob Borcila missed a 40-yard field-goal try, then the Jayhawks’ quarterback threw a pick on his very next snap.

But the Golden Eagles missed a chip-shot field-goal attempt of their own, and on the Jayhawks’ next offensive play, Neal split the defense over the right side and ran untouched 80 yards for the score.

THE TAKEAWAY

Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles were pushed around at the line of scrimmage while making far too many mistakes on special teams. The blocked field goal was the big one, but Devin Parker’s miss on a 29-yarder in the second half hardly helped.

Kansas: The Jayhawks revamped their defense with an influx of Division I transfers, and several made a difference. Lonnie Phelps, a pass rusher from Miami-Ohio, had three sacks and four tackles-for-loss. Ex-Ohio State linebacker Craig Young was always near the ball. And Eriq Gilyard, a transfer from Central Florida, picked off a pass early in the fourth quarter.

UP NEXT

Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles play their home opener Sept. 10 against Texas A&M-Commerce.

Kansas: The Jayhawks visit West Virginia on Sept. 10 for their Big 12 opener.