MORGANTOWN, W. Va — Kansas football makes its trip to Morgantown for the first time under Lance Leipold on Saturday as it looks to start its season 2-0.
The Jayhawks opened their season with a shellacking of Tennessee Tech in Lawrence last Friday, taking down the FCS Golden Eagles by a 56-10 scoreline. KU was firing on all cylinders, gaining 506 total yards of offense in just 49 snaps.
KU is feeling pretty good after that win regardless of its opponent as it was the first time since 2007 that they gained over 500 yards and held its foe under 200 in a win. That team, of course, finished 12-1 and earned the No. 7 spot in the AP Poll by the end of the season.
Kansas has had trouble with WVU since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, though, earning just one win in 11 meetings — but Neal Brown and his staff aren’t taking the Jayhawks lightly.
“They’re a good football team,” Brown said. “I think at the end of the year, I think you’re going to look back and say that this is one of the most improved teams in the entire country.”
Here are the Jayhawks’ top storylines leading into Saturday:
J. Daniels leads the O — no, not that one
The Jayhawk attack starts with one man: quarterback Jalon Daniels. The junior quarterback might not be the most prolific passer in the Big 12, but he sure is efficient.
Daniels started the season 15-of-18 from the pocket for 189 yards with a touchdown and a pick against Tennessee Tech. That’s a continuation of his big 2021 when he finished with a 69.2-percent completion rate.
He also has the ability to move the ball with his feet, adding 29 yards and a touchdown in the season opener.
“They’re just a different team with him playing quarterback,” Brown said. “He’s got confidence.”
The Jayhawks’ high volume of returners on offense also includes running back Devin Neal, who needed just four touches to get 108 yards and a touchdown.
The bulk of KU’s carries actually went to a pair of Big Ten transfers, Ky Thomas and Sevion Morrison. WVU actually has experience facing Thomas already after the sophomore ran for 144 yards and a touchdown with Minnesota in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
“They’re as deep as anybody in our league,” Brown said.
Kenny Logan’s danger zone
The Jayhawk secondary leads the defense, which is headlined by safety Kenny Logan Jr. The senior earned All-Big 12 honors as a freshman in 2021 after leading the league with 113 tackles and is poised for another all-conference season this year.
“He’s really sharp,” Brown said. “You can tell he’s an intelligent football player.”
Logan is also the marquee special teams Jayhawk as a kick returner and even broke a 100-yard touchdown run against Iowa State in 2020.
Kansas boasts plenty of depth in the box, rotating upwards of eight players on the defensive line. Defensive end Lonnie Phelps led the way in the season opener, logging seven tackles and three sacks.
Phelps, like much of the front seven rotation, is a transfer, joining the program from Miami (OH).