Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) carries the ball forward in overtime during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.  Kansas won 57-56 in overtime.

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Coming off shocking upset, Kansas visits banged-up TCU

The stunning upset Kansas pulled off at Texas led to a difficult decision on the status of a key performer.

The Jayhawks (2-8, 1-6 Big 12) will now retain Jalon Daniels for the remainder of the season and not redshirt the player who engineered the overtime win that snapped a 56-game Big 12 road losing streak and an 18-game losing streak overall in conference play.

Daniels, who has played four games after being summoned because of injuries, will be in the lineup Saturday when Kansas faces TCU (4-6, 2-5) at Fort Worth, Texas. That will put him over the redshirt limit of games played.

“He sees the momentum of what this team is doing, what it’s done for our locker room,” first-year Kansas coach Lance Leipold said. “He’s all in to help us build the program, and he wants to play.”

Devin Neal impressed Leipold enough for him not to press a freshman redshirt and instead play the prize recruit in the Jayhawks’ 2021 class. Neal recorded 143 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Texas win. Kwamie Lassiter had eight catches as Kansas enjoyed a rare day where skill players performed consistently well across the board.

Can the Jayhawks play at that level against TCU? Perhaps.

The Horned Frogs could not build on an upset over Baylor on Nov. 6 and will be coming off a humiliating 46-point loss at Oklahoma State, allowing 682 total yards in their worst defeat since 1993.

Defending the pass has been a significant challenge for TCU, which allows a league-worst 9.5 yards per attempt. Offensively, TCU scored its only touchdowns in the final quarter of the Oklahoma State blowout and converted just 2 of 13 third downs.

The Frogs hope Chandler Morris regains the form he showed in his first start, when he totaled 531 yards against Baylor. Morris should play against Kansas, but not at 100 percent, said interim coach Jerry Kill, who provided a grim injury report. Max Duggan, TCU’s regular quarterback, could be available too, but is dealing with a broken foot.

Elsewhere on offense, Kill said “we don’t have a running back that is healthy,” noting ailments bothering Zach Evans, Kendre Miller and Emari Demercado. A converted defender, Ahmonte Watkins, could get carries.

“We’re decimated by injuries,” said Kill, a Kansas native. “I mean, there’s no excuses. I’ve never had (an excuse) in my life, so you’ve got to find a way to get it done. But I’ve never seen anything like it and it continues to get worse.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2021; Conway, South Carolina, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers running back Braydon Bennett (1) catches a pass against the Citadel Bulldogs during the first half at Brooks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 Coastal Carolina aims to keep silencing doubters vs. Kansas

Any notion that Coastal Carolina could dip after climbing as high as No. 9 in the rankings and finishing 11-1 last season seems to have been addressed in fall camp.

“I really think the success we had last year actually motivated us to work harder in the offseason and get better because now we know the places that we can go,” quarterback Grayson McCall said.

McCall and the No. 17 Chanticleers (1-0) will face Kansas (1-0) on Friday at Conway, S.C.

McCall, the reigning Sun Belt player of the year, needed just six possessions to show off his touch as Coastal Carolina pounded Citadel 52-14 in its opener. After going 16 of 19 for 262 passing yards and adding 24 yards on just two carries, McCall rested.

“We went into the game saying we weren’t going to call anything specific where he had to run the ball,” said coach Jamey Chadwell, noting that McCall’s mobility will still be critical to the Chanticleers’ success.

Additional firepower is available after running back Braydon Bennett, the Sun Belt 110-meter hurdle champion, cracked the lineup and sailed 23 yards with an option pitch on the Chanticleers’ first snap of the season. Bennett gained 82 all-purpose yards on eight touches.

Coastal Carolina totaled a whopping 610 yards and averaged 11 yards per play. After drawing its second-largest crowd in history, attendance could soar even more with a first-ever visit from a Power 5 program. The Chanticleers won at Kansas each of the past two seasons and have won eight straight at home.

“We still feel like a lot of people think last season was a fluke, and it just happened because of COVID, and we cheated on COVID tests, and it really just pushes us,” said nose tackle Travis Geiger, one of just four new starters from last season.

Like Coastal Carolina, the Jayhawks also beat an FCS opponent to begin the season, rallying for a 17-14 win over South Dakota to end a 13-game losing streak in a successful debut for new coach Lance Leipold.

North Texas transfer Jason Bean beat out two veterans and went 17 of 26 passing with two touchdowns. He added a team-high 54 yards on 15 rushes.

“There’s going to be a work in progress in a lot of different things,” Leipold said. “But (Bean’s) athleticism is something, his speed and quickness when he does decide to keep the ball.”

One of the most impressive attributes about Bean’s performance may have been the poise he showed in the clutch. The Jayhawks, after all, are coming off a 0-9 finish a year ago, including a 38-23 loss to Coastal Carolina.

“Just coming in each day, trying to get better, trying to be consistent,” Bean said of his approach at fall practices, which also marked the first that Leipold directed after his hiring came too late to orchestrate spring practices.

The Jayhawks will have more depth among rushers since Amauri Pesek-Hickson will return off an injury. Kansas running backs gained just 30 yards on 25 carries against South Dakota.

–Field Level Media