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 — 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 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. “I had a fan ask me for my helmet. I was like, ‘Can’t give you that. It’s a thousand bucks and I need it for next week.

“There were a lot of crazy things (said that) I probably shouldn’t say to the media. ... “A lot of, ‘Good job!’”

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 Big 12) ran 78 total plays to KU’s 46. Iowa State, which outgained KU 313 yards to 213, had the ball 35 minutes to KU’s 25.

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 then transported to a local hospital) and 2-yard run by quarterback Jalon Daniels that gave KU a 14-0 lead.

Yes, KU won despite not scoring in 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 (ISU was the best defensive team in the Big 12 entering this 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. Two caromed off the uprights. His final attempt, a 37-yarder with 32 seconds left, could have forced overtime.

Instead, 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.

Miller and cornerback Ra’Mello Dotson led the way for the Jayhawks defensively with seven tackles apiece. KU had five sacks and eight tackles for loss.

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

Miller 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.”

Daniels, the KU quarterback, completed seven of 14 passes for 93 yards with no passing touchdowns ... or interceptions. He rushed for 9 yards on eight carries. Running back Devin Neal led the way for the Jayhawks offensively with 75 rushing yards on 12 carries. Grimm had four receptions for 46 yards.

Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers was 30 of 48 for 287 yards, a TD and an interception through the air. ISU’s Xavier Hutchinson caught 13 passes for 101 yards.

“It’s exciting (but) it’s not unexpected for us,” Neal said of KU’s 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, but a big one, was Hishaw’s injury. He missed all last year rehabbing an injury and now has one 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 ran onto the field as a team 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,” Neal said. “I’m hoping for a speedy recovery. We need him. You see what he can do. He’s one of my brothers, great guy off the field, too. It’s tough.”

KU will next meet TCU (4-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Booth Memorial Stadium.