Matt Tait: Kansas football season outlook brightens a lot with wild OT win at Morgantown

Matt Tait: Kansas football season outlook brightens a lot with wild OT win at Morgantown

The path to an unlikely 3-0 start to the season for the Kansas football team became truly realistic with a 55-42 overtime road win over West Virginia on Saturday night.

And if you want to get carried away even more, if you squint a bit, you might be able to see 4-0.

What?

Yeah. It just happened.

After falling behind 14-0 and looking rather uninspired doing so, the Jayhawks (2-0 overall, 1-0 Big 12) came back strong and beat the Mountaineers (0-2, 0 -1) 42-17 to go ahead. 42-31 midway through the fourth quarter.

During this run, the West Virginia defense seemed to have no answer for the Kansas offense. And both teams knew it.

One of the most encouraging aspects of Saturday’s game was Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels’ play, which continues to look like the real deal.

He’s confident, in control, rarely gets rattled and, perhaps most importantly, seems to really like playing the game and the position.

This kind of energy is so often contagious and can bring similar confidence and joy to the entire offense. Daniels’ teammates enjoy playing with him – and for him – because of the way he plays.

He is always positive, celebrating his teammates after good plays and picking them up after not so good ones. For sure. Everytime. Guys like that. And they know it’s genuine.

KU coach Lance Leipold summed it up perfectly in his post-match interview on ESPN+.

“He’s such a serious competitor,” Leipold said of Daniels. “Nothing is going to shake him and he is the leader of this football team.”

Daniels also has legitimate talent. And he knows how to use it.

Last week, he didn’t have to do much to find success. His physical tools and KU’s superior talent across the board made it easy against Tennessee Tech.

On Saturday, things were much more even and Daniels still stood out. In fact, he looked as good as a runner as well as a passer, using his legs on several option runs early – and throughout the game – to help the Kansas offense settle. then to thrive.

There’s a little gunslinger at Daniels, but it’s of the modern variety. He carries himself with the swagger of a movie star and plays football like a prized fighter. Just keep hitting and hitting until something good happens.

Part of the reason for Daniels’ effectiveness so far this season is his quick decision-making. Daniels said last week, after a strong opener against lower level competitors, that he sees his job in a very simple way: get the ball to the open receiver, move the chains and rack up the points. Kansas has now done that in a big way in consecutive weeks, scoring 56 in Week 1 and 55 in Week 2.

So now Daniels, with his confidence and a surging 2-0 team behind him, will travel to Houston next weekend with a chance to move up to 3-0.

This scenario was not entirely unpredictable before the start of the season. In fact, some of the most hardcore Kansas football fans I know said it would happen.

But now that it does — go ahead and say it again to make sure you fully understand it and believe it — the Jayhawks will head to Houston with a 3-0 chance.

Houston will enter this one on the heels of several back-to-back overtime contests — a triple-overtime win over Texas-San Antonio in Week 1 and a double-overtime loss at Texas Tech on Saturday.

At this point, whether the Jayhawks win or lose next week, you’re looking at the potential for David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium to skip when Duke comes to town in two weeks.

At that point, he beats Duke and goes 4-0 at best or 3-1 at worst.

Wow.

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