Kansas Jayhawks remain undefeated, edging Iowa State Cyclones 14-11 to improve to 5-0

Kansas wide receiver Luke Grimm accepted pats on the back from some of his closest friends — and a lot of strangers, as well — shortly after a late Iowa State field-goal attempt sailed wide of the uprights and the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Jayhawks’ 14-11 college football victory over the Cyclones on Saturday at sold-out Booth Memorial Stadium.

KU fans for the second straight week stormed the field, this time celebrating the Jayhawks’ fifth win against no losses, an all-but-certain spot in the AP poll (which comes out Sunday) and a 2-0 mark in Big 12 play that establishes KU as a serious contender for the conference title and also a bowl game.

“I turn around and I’ve got 2,000 people running at us. It’s like a stampede honestly,” Grimm said with a smile as he related the conversation with some fans, giddy about KU’s 5-0 record.

“I had a fan ask me for my helmet. I was like, ‘Can’t give you that. It’s 1,000 bucks and I need it for next week. There were a lot of crazy things (he heard) I probably shouldn’t say to the media. … “A lot of ‘Good jobs,’’’ he added.

KU did just enough good things, mostly on defense, to break a seven-game losing streak against the Cyclones on a day Iowa State (3-2, 0-2) ran 78 total plays to KU’s 46 plays.

Iowa State, which outgained KU (50, 2-0) 313 yards to 213, had the ball 35 minutes to KU’s 25 minutes.

The Jayhawks’ only TDs came in the first half — a 4-yard burst by Daniel Hishaw (who later was injured and taken off the field on a stretcher and cart and taken to the hospital) and 2-yard run by quarterback Jalon Daniels that gave KU a 14-0 lead.

Yes, KU won despite not scoring the last five minutes of the first half and entire second half.

“I don’t know if this team could have even done this a year ago, overcome those things,” coach Lance Leipold said. “We had unfortunate penalties (seven, 56 yards), other things, a lot of different ways that a team that doesn’t have a lot of confidence would have folded a year ago (during 2-10 season).

“To watch them (Jayhawks) keep battling … we probably played more on the conservative side and played a little more field position because of who they are as well (best defensive team in Big 12 entering the game). To find a way and get it done … I think it says another thing about this team,” Leipold added.

It helped KU’s cause that Iowa State kicker Jace Gilbert missed three field goals. He had two carom off the uprights. His final attempt, a 37-yarder with 32 seconds left could have forced overtime. However, it sailed wide of the mark.

“It was a big relief. It was a rush that went through my body,” said KU linebacker Rich Miller, referring to his emotions after the late Iowa State miss. He and corner Ra’Mello Dotson led the way with seven tackles. KU on the day had five sacks and eight tackles for loss.

“I was, ‘Yes, thank you. We came through. We finished it,’’’ Miller added.

He noted that after the final horn, when the fans stormed the field he, “was enjoying the moment to be honest. I said, ‘We did it. We’re doing it.’ The fans kind of escorted us to the locker room. They were excited. It was a really good feeling,” Miller added.

QB Daniels completed 7 of 14 passes for 93 yards with no TDs or interceptions. He rushed for 9 yards on 8 carries. Devin Neal led the way with 75 rushing yards on 12 carries. Grimm had four receptions for 46 yards.

Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers was 30 of 48 passing for 287 yards, a TD and an interception. Xavier Hutchinson caught 13 passes for 101 yards.

“It’s exciting (but) it’s not unexpected for us,” KU’s Neal said of the 5-0 start. “All offseason, all through the winter, spring, summer, we focused on getting to this point. This means a lot. It’s coming to fruition now. Everyone is able to see how hard we worked this offseason.”

The only negative, a big negative, is Hishaw’s injury. He missed all last year rehabbing an injury and now has an injury that could be serious. He was injured on a play in which he carried the ball and lost 9 yards. There was no report on his condition after the game, Leipold saying he was going to visit Hishaw at the hospital .

“Another running back, it was hard for us, really emotional,” Neal said.

The Jayhawks as a team ran onto the field in a show of respect as Hishaw was being treated and placed on the cart.

“After his battle last year … I’m praying for him. I’m hoping for a speedy recovery. We need him. You (media) see what he can do. He’s one of my brothers, great guy off the field, too. It’s tough.”

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