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Jayhawks fall to 0-8 with 59-23 loss to Horned Frogs

The Kansas Jayhawks season entered Saturday night bleak and left it the same way after falling to the TCU Horned Frogs 59-23. The Jayhawks are now 0-8 this year.

Save for a few highlight plays, it was a disjointed and largely ineffective night by the KU offense. All three quarterbacks who have seen time this year played in the loss, which was started by freshman Jalon Daniels. His bright spot of the night was throwing the first touchdown pass of his career, but he was also benched after going just 4-of-13 for 57 yards with the score.

Junior Miles Kendrick replaced Daniels and was sensational to start his night, going 4-of-4 passing for 75 on his first drive, capping it with the first of two touchdown passes he threw to freshman Luke Grimm.

“Our quarterback who started the game is a true freshman and he is coming, and yes, we needed to take him out of the game,” Kansas coach Les Miles said, “and the reason we did is so that he could process what was happening from the sideline so he could learn and continue to learn.”

Despite benching Daniels, Miles said there isn’t a quarterback controversy for now.

“You have to remember this is a freshman,” Miles said. “The mistakes that were made are significant mistakes, there isn’t any question, but we can live with this, this is something we can get beyond.”

TCU also scored two defensive touchdowns directly off Kendrick turnovers, however, with a pick-six by C.J. Ceasar and a scoop and score fumble touchdown by Dee Winters, both of which came in the fourth quarter. Kendrick finished the game 11-of-18 passing for 166 yards, two touchdowns and the interception.

Senior Thomas MacVittie also came in for several snaps. completing his lone pass for four yards and rushing twice for two yards.

As it has been several times throughout the season, it was the freshman class for the Jayhawks that made the biggest positive impact. Grimm caught the aforementioned two touchdown passes and had 72 yards receiving on the night, while running back Amauri Pesek-Hickson, a Blue Valley North alumnus, tied for the game high in rushing yards with 100 on 22 carries, the first 100-yard game of his career.

“I enjoy some of our players and the advancement they made in short order,” Miles said, specifically referring to Grimm and Pesek-Hickson.

Teammates continue to take notice of Grimm as well, with Kendrick becoming the latest Jayhawk to compliment the freshman’s work ethic.

“He’s just been gritty, he’s been nasty ever since he got here,” Kendrick said. “The sky’s the limit for him.”

Senior Kwamie Lassiter II also had a career game on his senior night, going over 100 receiving yards for the first time in his four years. He had seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in the losing effort.

“Kwamie does everything great,” Kendrick said. “He’s just the total package for us, and it shows on the field each week.”

KU’s team rushing total was merely 41 yards on 43 carries, with 47 yards lost on a pair snaps that went over Daniels’s head.

In all, the Jayhawks surrendered three non-offensive touchdowns in the loss: the interception return, the fumble return and a punt return in the first quarter by Derius Davis.

The Kansas defense didn’t have a banner night, either, especially against the TCU rushing attack. The Horned Frogs ran for 337 yards on 41 carries against the Jayhawks with a pair of touchdowns, good for 8.2 yards per carry.

TCU starting quarterback Max Duggan also posted a unique stat line against KU, completing just 3-of-11 passes for 96 yards, but all three completions went for touchdowns, and each was to a wide-open target. He also ran for a touchdown in the second quarter.

“It was just miscommunication between us on the field, that’s something we’ve got to work on and get better at,” senior safety Ricky Thomas said.

Kansas is one of five Power 5 schools that is winless this season. The others are Arizona, Cal, Utah and Vanderbilt.

“Obviously starting 0-8 is horrible, nobody wants to do that,” Lassiter said. “[We have to] work hard at practice, we just got to get the next one.”

While Saturday was senior day for the Jayhawks because it was their last originally scheduled home game, KU will play in Lawrence once more this year, hosting Texas on Dec. 12. That game was rescheduled after Kansas fell below the required player threshold last weekend. KU will visit Texas Tech next Saturday.

“Every week we try to go 1-0,” Thomas said. “And we’re going to prepare like we’re going to win this game this week coming up.”

Click below to hear what Les Miles and the Jayhawks had to say after KU’s 59-23 loss to TCU.

Les Miles

Miles Kendrick

Kwamie Lassiter

Ricky Thomas

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