The Kansas Jayhawks were coming off a program-defining win over the Texas Longhorns and the question was whether or not they could keep their momentum going against TCU, who they were 21-point underdogs against. The TCU Horned Frogs are struggling through a 2021 season that has seen them part ways with legendary head coach Gary Patterson and fall short of expectations for a fourth-straight season.
When the two teams met on Saturday in Fort Worth, it was also Senior Day for TCU, with Gary Patterson in attendance. And luckily for the Horned Frogs, they were able to hang on for the 31-28 win over the Kansas Jayhawks.
Here are three thoughts from the game.
1. Kansas’ Pushover Days May Steadily Be Ending
I’m not here predicting any lengthy winning streaks for the Jayhawks any time soon, but Kansas has felt like it’s been a three to five-touchdown underdog in most of its Big 12 games the last few seasons. KU came into this game as a three-touchdown underdog, and while TCU doesn’t deserve to be a three-touchdown favorite over anyone, KU is also a program that continues to get better. Three of their last five games have been a near-upset against OU, a win over Texas, and this near-miss against TCU.
Kansas could still end the season with a big loss against West Virginia next week, but it’s no longer a guarantee that this team is going to lose big in its Big 12 games.
2. TCU Gouged Kansas on the Ground
Kansas has the worst rushing defense in the Big 12 and TCU took advantage of it on Saturday afternoon. The Horned Frogs racked up 326 rushing yards and four touchdowns for 6.7 yards per carry. That’s what ultimately won this game for TCU. Kendre Miller led the way with 112 rushing yards, Emari Demercado had 89 rushing yards, Max Duggan added 74, while Derius Davis chipped in with 52 yards on the ground. On the final drive when TCU took it 67 yards down the field for the game-winning field goal, it was all about Emari Demercado in the rushing game.
3. Jalon Daniels is Making His Case
The Kansas Jayhawks may have found their 2022 quarterback in Jalon Daniels. Daniels has looked as good, if not better, than many of the other options KU has trotted out throughout the season like Jason Bean and Miles Kendrick. It could also be that the rest of the team, like the offensive line, is gelling as well, which always make the QB look better. But regardless, Daniels went 22/30 for 255 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. That’s as solid of a stat line as a Kansas quarterback has had this season. Daniels lost his redshirt by playing this game, but according to Coach Leipold this week, this is the decision Daniels came to with his family. He wanted to play these final two games. This shows a leadership and maturity that looks like it could pay off in a big way for the Jayhawks entering 2022.