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Kansas Jayhawks lose to Coastal Carolina for second straight year

The Kansas Jayhawks epitomized “too little, too late” on Saturday night, losing to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers for the second year in a row, falling this time 38-23.

KU actually outscored Coastal Carolina in the second half 20-10, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome a sloppy start, poor quarterback play and a bevy of other mistakes across the board.

The first half was an abject disaster for the Jayhawks, with nothing working offensively or defensively from the opening kickoff.

The biggest storyline for the Jayhawks heading into the game was the quarterback battle between seniors Thomas MacVittie and Miles Kendrick, both of whom played and both of whom struggled mightily. MacVittie got the start, announced mere moments before opening kickoff, and he wasn’t able to find a rhythm throughout the night. After one half he was 4-of-8 passing for just seven yards with an interception, and he completed the only other pass he threw.

Kendrick had a slow first half although did start to pick things up after the break. He completed 15-of-24 passes for 156 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. He was able to orchestrate several scoring drives that kept Kansas alive, though barely, late.

Freshman quarterback Jalon Daniels made a late appearance, playing just the final drive of the game. He had one 13-yard completion, but was also sacked twice to end the night.

Sacks and pressure were a common theme for the Coastal Carolina defense. The KU offensive line, a largely inexperienced group, struggled all night against the pass rush, leading to several rushed throws and hard hits on the passer, leveling whoever happened to be under center.

Then there were the turnovers, of which Kansas had three in the losing effort. All three of those led directly to Coastal Carolina points. Miles singled out turnovers as a problem after the game.

“I think there’s some sick people in there right now because this was a game that could’ve gone another way,” Miles said.

Kendrick tried to remain positive about the pressure he faced and the protection from the offensive line.

“You win some, you lose some,” Kendrick said. “Our offensive line did their job, they battled their butts off.”

Kendrick was also clear that regardless of however the KU quarterback role is decided going forward, he’ll be ready if he gets the nod.

“I’m just going to keep preparing like I have each and every week and be ready for my name to be called,” Kendrick said.

Junior running back Pooka Williams, the best offensive player for the Jayhawks, had a limited role in the gameplan early on Saturday night. He eventually saw more touches, ending the game with 12 carries for 67 yards, however he had to leave the game in the second half with an apparent injury. Miles said that he thinks Miles was nicked up but should be fine.

His backup, sophomore Velton Gardner, was KU’s leading rusher in the loss, gaining 81 yards on the ground including 61 on a third-quarter touchdown. Adjusted for sacks, the Jayhawks rushed for 193 yards on 35 carries.

This is before getting to the defense, which improved somewhat in the second half but was unable to make many stops at all in the opening 30 minutes. The Chanticleers had five first-half drives, four of which ended in the end zone. They did get help from excellent field position, too, with four drives starting in Jayhawks territory.

Kansas will have plenty of time to sit with the loss, with next Saturday off before starting Big 12 play on Sept. 26. For senior wide receiver Andrew Parchment, who had six catches for 54 yards and a touchdown against Coastal Carolina, the work to bounce back begins this Monday.

“Look at the film, correct the mistakes and get ready for Baylor,” Parchment said.

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