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Horned Frogs' late FG puts end to KU football road rally

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) is caught by TCU defensive end Khari Coleman (11) as safety Josh Foster (15) moves in during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Fort Worth, Texas — Despite a promising start Saturday at TCU, the Kansas football team couldn’t quite replicate its road magic from a week ago.

The Horned Frogs’ Griffin Kell kicked a 25-yard field goal with six seconds to play, and the Jayhawks fell, 31-28, at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

TCU, which racked up 326 rushing yards and 492 yards of offense in the narrow win, effectively ran out the clock in the game’s final four-plus minutes. After KU (379 total yards) rallied to tie the game, the Frogs ran right at the Jayhawks in crunch time, with 10 of their final 12 plays coming on the ground to set up the game-winning kick.

“They mixed some inside, outside run stuff and were getting the right fits on some of the runs,” KU head coach Lance Leipold lamented afterward.

The KU defense had a third-and-8 to get off the field early in the drive, but TCU QB Max Duggan (10-for-16, 166 yards) made a rare pass and hit Derius Davis (six receptions, 103 yards) for the first down.

Said KU safety Kenny Logan Jr., who led the defense with 15 total tackles, a new career high: “They just hit a first down and after that just kind of chewed the clock by running the ball.”

Once the Frogs crossed midfield, Leipold said he was hoping for a long field goal, and he was hanging on to timeouts with the plan to freeze the kicker before a longer, more difficult try than the easy one Kell drilled from straight away.

KU’s offense got hot late, with quarterback Jalon Daniels (22-for-30, 225 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception) and his teammate finding a rhythm, but the unit had to watch the game’s final minutes from the visitors’ sideline.

“It's a feeling that you can't really explain,” super-senior receiver Kwamie Lassiter II (eight catches, 101 yards) said of the offense not having the opportunity for one last drive. “You’re just ready to get back on the field so you get the opportunity to make a play. So they did what they were supposed to do. They drove and they ended the game.”

Of course, KU’s second-half rally wouldn’t be complete without a clutch play by walk-on tight end Jared Casey — the breakout star in the UT game after he scored the game-winning two-point conversion.

The Jayhawks (2-9 overall, 1-7 Big 12) were able to tie the game at 28 when sophomore Daniels spotted Casey open for a 10-yard touchdown with 4:46 left on the fourth quarter clock. Casey (four catches, 34 yards) pointed to his family sitting in the bleachers nearby for a low-key celebration in the midst of KU’s comeback.

Though the KU defense had issues at times versus the Frogs (5-6, 3-5), especially in the second half, the unit gave the team a chance with a stop in the fourth quarter. After scoring three straight TDs in the half, TCU’s fourth series was short-lived, and Nate Betts and Gavin Potter got toDuggan for a critical sack on third-and-long, forcing TCU to punt with a 28-21 lead.

Receiver Luke Grimm was the first to breathe some life into KU’s second-half surge. Grimm (four receptions, 39 yards) soared to haul in a 28-yard Daniels pass — and got hammered in the process, but still hung on — for a TD with 9:23 left. It was KU’s first score since the early minutes of the second quarter.

It also answered what appeared to be a devastating, 99-yard TD drive by the Horned Frogs, who went ahead 28-14 with 11:43 to go.

Leipold on a number of occasions during his postgame press conference remarked how proud he was of the way his team played.

“It's a dejected locker room, and one that is not just ready to play out the season,” Leipold said.

Related document

Box score: TCU 31, KU 28 ( .PDF )

The coach considered the way the team battled back, not just in the first half, but also in the second, as an important development for the future of the program.

“And it really says a lot about how receptive this group has been to being coached,” Leipold said, “and taking each and every day and each and every game in and of its own, and not get discouraged in those regards.”

The Frogs finally regained a lead, 21-14, late in the fourth quarter, when Duggan (14 rushes, 74 yards) won a fourth-and-1 encounter with Logan at the goal line.

TCU wasted no time taking control in the third quarter. Kendre Miller (12 carries, 112 yards) took off for a 56-yard rushing touchdown on just the third snap of the third quarter, allowing TCU to tie the game up at 14.

With starting running back Devin Neal (14 runs, 59 yards, one TD) sidelined — the true freshman got injured late in the second quarter — the Jayhawks’ offense took a while to warm up in the second half.

The Jayhawks took a lead into the locker room on the road at halftime for the second week in a row, with their defense once again making some crucial plays early on to support a positive start from the offense.

TCU aimed to recover from a 14-7 deficit and tie up the game before intermission by going for it on fourth-and-1 at KU’s 9-yard line late in the second quarter. However, the Emari Demercado rush was stopped short for no gain by KU defensive lineman Caleb Sampson (six tackles).

That timely stop helped KU recover from Daniels’ first interception of the year, a third-and-2 pass over the middle that Dee Winters jumped all over with 1:57 left in the half.

The Horned Frogs had multiple opportunities to even the score before halftime, and the first one got denied in the end zone, where KU freshman cornerback Jacobee Bryant delivered a one-handed interception. It was the second week in a row that Bryant, who made a pick-six at Texas, came through with a takeaway in the air.

The Jayhawks had a chance to extend their seven-point margin with five and a half minutes left in the second quarter, but Jacob Borcila’s 45-yard field goal try misfired. The errant kick ended a lengthy drive for KU’s offense, which kept TCU off the field for 5:23 of game clock.

KU opened up the second quarter in style, with a Daniels play-fake that helped the QB find tight end Trevor Kardell running wide open for a 44-yard chunk play.

Kardell’s catch and run got KU in the red zone, and that allowed Neal to go to work. The freshman back first turned a quick reception into a 13-yard gain as he tried to maneuver his way down the right sideline. And then Neal got to complete the drive with a 2-yard run across the goal line. With that the Jayhawks took a 14-7 lead less than three minutes into the second quarter.

A Kyron Johnson sack for a 10-yard loss late in the first quarter almost went for naught, as TCU converted a third-and-23 on the next play with a Duggan pass to Davis. But Jereme Robinson followed that up with third-down sack three plays later to make sure the KU defense got off the field.

After an uneventful couple of possessions to open the afternoon, the Jayhawks’ offense got going on their third series. Neal converted a fourth-and-1 run from the TCU 44-yard line to help make a scoring drive possible.

Daniels’ fake handoff did the trick for a 14-yard QB keeper that the sophomore took into the end zone, and KU tied the game at 7 with 5:43 left in the first.

After KU followed up a shocking road win at Texas with another strong showing, Daniels said the Jayhawks have more work to do.

“Just got to keep building, you know, keep on striving as a program,” Daniels said. “Just keep going into the next week, prepare for the next game.”

The first of TCU’s numerous chunk plays gave the Frogs the first score of the game. Davis sprinted to a 43-yard touchdown at the 10:33 mark in the first, completing a possession in which TCU needed just five rushes to cover 83 yards and cross the goal line.

TCU finished with 6.7 yards per rush and 7.6 yards per play. Three different runners — Miller, Duggan and Davis — had at least one run that went for 40 or more yards.

Said Logan: “We’ve just got to execute. That’s it.”

KU closes its 2021 season at home next week, versus West Virginia (5-6, 3-5). The Mountaineers will be gunning for bowl eligibility in the regular season finale.



10:33 — Derius Davis 43 run. Griffin Kell kick. Five-play drive for 83 yards, in 2:23. (TCU 7, KU 0.)

5:43 — Jalon Daniels 14 run. Jacob Borcila kick. Nine-play drive for 75 yards, in 4:50. (TCU 7, KU 7.)


12:29 — Devin Neal 2 run. Borcila kick. Eight-play drive for 82 yards, in4:13. (KU 14, TCU 7.)


13:32 — Kendre Miller 56 run. Kell kick. Three-play drive for 65 yards, in 1:25. (KU 14, TCU 14.)

6:55 — Max Duggan 1 run. Kell kick. Ten-play drive for 74 yards, in 4:40. (TCU 21, KU 14.)


11:43 — Emari Demercado 1 run. Kell kick. Twelve-play drive for 99 yards, in 6:44. (TCU 28, KU 14.)

9:23 — Luke Grimm 28 pass form Daniels. Borcila kick. Five-play drive for 74 yards, in 2:14. (TCU 28, KU 21.)

4:46 — Jared Casey 10 pass from Daniels. Borcila kick. Eight-play drive for 65 yards, in 3:13. (TCU 28, KU 28.)

0:06 — Kell 25 field goal. Fourteen-play drive for 67 yards, in 4:40. (TCU 31, KU 28.)


David Robinett

Great effort guys.

1 year ago


Karen Mansfield-Stewart

Another exciting game. Glad to see the Jayhawks didn’t roll over after TCU scored three unanswered TDS. A hard fought game.
If we had stopped them on that last drive on 3rd down & 9, I’m confident we win. Making us fans proud though Hawks!

1 year ago


Armen Kurdian

Agree, that 3rd & 9 conversion was the biggest play of the game. Our defense played a lot better, more opportunistic.

1 year ago


Daniel Kennamore

Great effort all around but baffling clock management by Leipold on that last drive.

1 year ago


Lonnie Ross Dillon

Not sure what he could have done differently. If he uses up his timeouts prior to the inevitable score, then the offense has none to work with and less than a minute to go. Given that we had done well defensively earlier in the red zone I think he played it right. That 3rd and long that we gave up early in the last drive was really the nail in the coffin.

1 year ago


Michael Maris

The key to this game came in the 2nd quarter when Kansas failed to score any points on the drive where Borcilla missed the FG.

But, Kansas is competitive in the end of the season.....

Final game of the season will be an interesting game to watch as well.

WVU will be playing for a Bowl game appearance in Jayhawks Senior Day game (where these Jayhawks are back to being competitive again).

1 year ago


Dale Rogers

The man's record and what he has obviously already done for Kansas with very little time to do it, speaks for itself. The man knows what he is doing. There is a reason he's on the sideline getting the big bucks and we all are here, commenting. I will not always understand his thinking but I trust that overall he is making the right decisions for the particular situations. Keep in mind, at this point there are benefits beyond immediate wins. He thinks long term, as in players and recruits like that he doesn't play super conservatively. Buy in. Committments. Signing that LOI. Etc.

1 year ago


Robert Brock

I am really pleased that the Jayhawks are competitive and battling to the end. That’s encouraging.

1 year ago


Rodney Crain

We have the right coach, just need more talent. Still going to give him 2 more seasons to right the ship.

What a year for Texas football. Lose 50% of their recruits with the coaching change, a losing season, no bowl game. The AD and Coach on the hot seat. Karma is a B#$*%.

On one play Texas had 3 players injured lying on the ground. It's been a while since I have seen something like that.

1 year ago


Dirk Medema

Lonnie, if you watch the end of the 4th quarter of the ut game, I think you might see an example of what Daniel is referring to. Sark used his 3 timeouts while on D, and gave his O a minute of time that they controlled to run plays and tie the game. It didn’t help that we weren’t able to gain yardage last week or stop the run this, but the concept is still the same. Once a second goes off the clock, there’s no getting it back. TOs saved at the end of the game are useless.

1 year ago


Dirk Medema

Another 70% day for Jalon!
Another exciting and competitive game.
Hopefully Neal is able to heal in time for the final game.

Even this loss should give Coach some recruiting material to work with.

Rodney, I would suggest to you that while everyone needs more talent, even more than that we need the time for our really young players to mature and develop. Even next year when the super seniors are no longer supplementing the rosters of the rest of the country, we’ll be in relatively better position. That being said, Coach has just about an entire class to fill. Hopefully he can find more big uglies on both sides of the ball.

1 year ago


Dale Rogers

I read somewhere that 68 of our players are either freshmen or sophomores.

Won't there still be super-seniors for the next 2 or 3 years? Everyone on the roster last year gets an extra year if they want it.

1 year ago


Chris Bailey

I am eating my words on Daniels. I didn't think he had the ability to be a starter. Well he proved me wrong. I'm happy to admit that. The line played pretty well as tonight. This team has made huge improvements over last season. I can't wait to watch the season finale next Saturday. I'll be at home (Owasso, Oklahoma), on my new couch, in my new home, watching my new 77 inch LG OLED C1, hooked to my Polk LSIM 707's, 706 center, 703 middles and 702 FX surrounds. The true audiophile setup and what better way to break them in! I'm ready to rock! I've been without the HT for months now and it's driven me nuts. Can't wait to see the new TV and the first game I'll see will be my Kansas Jayhawks! Rock Chalk Baby! Let's kick some West Virginia @ss!

1 year ago


Brett McCabe

Karen hit it on the head. Great effort, but giving up that 3rd and Nine basically ended the game. I would have used one timeout before that third-down play.

First, if they get that first down, which takes them to around their 37, then they’ll be playing with four downs for the rest of the drive. And it’s really difficult to stop a team for four downs.

Second, I think giving our guys a short rest plus an opportunity to coach them up, is really important at that point in the game. Maybe even call a stunt for Kyron.

Third, it still leaves you with two for the offense, assuming you stop them.

Overall, though, I was massively impressed that the team did not fold up in the second half. That is the best sign for this program going forward.

1 year ago


Mallory Briggans

the optimism of the fans now as opposed to the early in the year is evident but when the team
looks like it may be special.........just like that .....its almost over . Although the end of the basketball season is more crushing because of the lofty expectations of the team , there is always the excitement of the upcoming season ,there never was that for the football program but maybe this is the beginning we will see.

1 year ago


W Keith Swinehart II

KU's football is now playing competitive football. The downside is that I am now disappointed with the loss to TCU.

It's true that we still have a long way to go to reach the bowl games. But the goal is in sight. And, I think we have a coach who can get us there.

1 year ago


Matt Gauntt

Kwamie Lassiter's spin move in the 4th quarter for more yardage was simply awesome.

So many things to be optimistic about with the coming seasons.

1 year ago


Jeff Coffman

I'm not sure coach messed up the clock. I think the only chance was when they got the 3rd and 9, we should have let them score. 2 mins 3 timeouts we may have had a chance.

1 year ago


Armen Kurdian

Our running game is so much better, and we have a bunch of no-names playing. Last couple of weeks it's like these guys are playing not understanding they are 'supposed' to be the worst in Division I.

I have some words to eat as well.

1 year ago


Brian Skelly

Losing the games stinks. But it felt like we were in control of the game for significant stretches. It's clear talent-wise (especially on defense) that we're deficient. But these guys ARE playing hard. It was a fun game to watch.

Jalon Daniels appears to be the real deal. Hopefully we can get some other pieces to boot.

1 year ago


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