Max Duggan threw three touchdown passes while running 58 yards for another score, TCU piled up 337 yards rushing in all, and the Horned Frogs bludgeoned their way to a 59-23 victory over winless Kansas on Saturday night.
Zach Evans ran for 100 yards on 12 carries, and Darwin Barlow added 83 yards rushing and a score, as the Horned Frogs (4-4, 4-4 Big 12) easily bounced back from a lopsided loss to West Virginia in which they failed to reach the end zone.
TCU had no such trouble in this one.
Duggan threw two TD passes to Pro Wells and another to Carter Ware, and Derius Davis returned a punt for a score, as coach Gary Patterson's crew raced to a 38-12 halftime lead. They settled into a ground-and-pound approach from there, and a pick-six from C.J. Caesar II and fumble recovery for a score by Dee Winters put an exclamation mark on the win.
The Jayhawks (0-8, 0-7) tried errant and unsuccessful Jalon Daniels and Thomas MacVittie before giving Miles Kendrick a shot at quarterback. The third-stringer provided a spark, completing 11 of 18 passes for 166 yards with two TD passes to freshman Luke Grimm, who'd had just nine catches without a score all season.
Still, he hardly overcame a defense that allowed at least 52 points for the fourth straight game.
TCU set the tone by running seven straight times to start the game and finishing the drive with a field goal, then it forced Kansas into three straight three-and-outs that the Horned Frogs answered with three consecutive touchdowns.
On the first, Duggan dropped back on third-and-11 and hoisted a 46-yard pass to the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Wells, who walked backward into the end zone without a Jayhawk defender within 20 yards. On the second, Duggan tossed a 26-yard TD pass to the 6-4, 249-pound Ware, who didn't have a defender within 30 yards of him.
Yes, the Jayhawks managed to lose a quarter-ton of tight ends on consecutive series.
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Their problems boiled over after that, when a snap over Daniels' head resulted in fourth-and-33 at their own 3-yard line. Kansas punter Reis Vernon, who had already shanked one kick, drilled a liner at Davis, who deftly weaved his way through the coverage for a 37-yard return that made it 24-0.
At that point, the Horned Frogs had 187 yards total offense. Kansas had minus-20.
The Jayhawks even had things go against them when they scored. Daniels threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Kwame Lassiter II and they successfully kicked the extra point, but coach Les Miles took the point off the board and accepted an offsides penalty instead. Kansas proceeded to try the 2-point conversion and was stuffed.
SENIOR SEND-OFF, SORT OF
The game was designated senior day for Kansas, but it carried a big asterisk. Seniors are eligible to return for another season because of the pandemic, and the Jayhawks still have a makeup game against Texas on Dec. 12 at Memorial Stadium. But with many family members -- pretty much the only folks allowed in the stands because of the recent spike in cases -- having already made travel plans, Kansas decided to go forward with its senior send-off.
TCU controlled the line of scrimmage, particularly on offense, where its entire corps of running backs were usually several yards downfield before meeting a defender. The Horned Frogs averaged 8.2 yards on 41 carries.
Kansas had not played since Nov. 7 due to byes and COVID-19 procedures, so the Jayhawks should have been prepared. But they were dominated at the line of scrimmage, dropped a handful of passes and blew countless defensive assignments.
TCU plays its final scheduled game against No. 23 Oklahoma State next Saturday. Kansas heads to Texas Tech.