Devin Neal rushed for three touchdowns, including the tiebreaking score in the fourth quarter, as Kansas survived Nevada’s surprising upset bid to earn a 31-24 nonconference win in Reno, Nev., on Saturday night.
Neal’s 3-yard run with 6:20 left in the game snapped a 24-24 deadlock and allowed the Jayhawks (3-0) to stay unbeaten. Jalon Daniels hit 21 of 27 passes for 298 yards, going 11-for-11 in the second half, as Kansas rolled up 441 total yards.
Quarterback Brendon Lewis completed 15 of 22 passes for 113 yards and rushed for two scores for the Wolf Pack (0-3), tying the game on a 2-yard run with 10:37 remaining in the fourth quarter. But on Nevada’s last chance to tie or win the game, Jamaal Bell was stopped for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-1 with 44 seconds remaining.
Neal finished with 89 yards on 17 attempts for Kansas, which also got a 1-yard touchdown run from Daniel Hishaw in the third quarter to take a 17-10 lead. Lewis tied it at 17 with a 6-yard scoring run with 3:33 left in the period, but the Jayhawks regained the seven-point advantage 33 seconds later on a 1-yard run by Neal.
Kansas entered the game as a 28-point favorite against an opponent that was outscored 99-20 in losing its first two games against USC and Idaho. But Nevada delivered its best effort despite being outgained decisively.
The Jayhawks opened the game with an impressive 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by Neal’s 3-yard run up the middle at the 9:46 mark of the first quarter. But all Kansas managed for the first half’s remainder was a 44-yard field goal by Seth Keller with 8:55 left before the break.
The Wolf Pack got on the board 11 seconds into the second quarter when Brandon Talton made a 42-yard field goal. They put together their best drive to close the first half, going 78 yards on 10 plays and cashing in when Sean Dollars scored from the 3 with 29 seconds remaining for a 10-10 tie at the break.