Home FQ/CFBHome Team of the Week: Week 11, 2021 — Kansas

FQ/CFBHome Team of the Week: Week 11, 2021 — Kansas

by Mike Ferguson

Photo courtesy of Kansas athletics

See a score where Kansas beats an opponent 57-56 and one would probably assume Bill Self’s team had a bad shooting game, but made up for it on the defensive end of the floor.

That was the case on Saturday, except it wasn’t on the hardwood. In a contest that lacked defense but not excitement, the Jayhawks found a way to score an improbable but thrilling road win at Texas in overtime.

It was Kansas’ first win over an FBS team this season and first in a road conference game in a long, long time. For the efforts, the Jayhawks are this week’s Fifth Quarter/CFBHome Team of the Week:

Perseverance and Victory

It would have been easy to write off Kansas’ 14-0 lead early as Texas raced back to tie the game. By the latter parts of the second quarter however, it was apparent that the Jayhawks were going to fight for 60 minutes — and beyond.

Three touchdowns in an 85-second span late in the first half helped Kansas take a 35-14 lead into the locker room. Quarterback Jalon Daniels rushed for a touchdown and passed for another during that stretch while Jacobee Bryant returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown to give the Jayhawks a 21-point advantage.

For those in Lawrence however, it was hard to be optimistic as the lead was just seven heading into the final quarter. Texas quarterback Casey Thompson accounted for three touchdowns in the third period and after three, the score was 42-35.

Kwamie Lassiter II scored midway through the fourth on Daniels’ third passing and fourth total touchdown of the night to push the lead to 49-35. But Thompson answered with two touchdown tosses over the final 4:39, including a 25-yard scoring toss to Cade Brewer to force overtime.

In the extra period, it looked as though the Jayhawks’ dream of an upset would die. It took just four plays for Thompson to find Marcus Washington for the 8-yard touchdown. Texas had taken its first lead, 56-49, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty would cut Kansas’ field in half.

Devin Neal’s third rushing and fourth total touchdown left Kansas head coach Lance Leipold with a decision. Thompson passed for 358 yards and six touchdowns, but as the Kansas offense stayed on the field, it was another Casey who would be the hero.

On the 2-point conversion try, Daniels was forced to scramble hard to his right. At the last minute, walk-on fullback Jared Casey came open in the end zone and hauled in the winning score.

Top Performers

While Thompson had a big night for Texas, Daniels and Neal led the way for the Kansas offense. Daniels passed for three touchdowns and rushed for another. Neal led all rushers with 143 yards on the ground.

Defensively, Kansas allowed 574 yards, but it also made plays. The Jayhawks wound up forcing four turnovers. The offense never gave the ball away.

In addition to Bryant, who scored a touchdown, O.J. Burroughs came away with an interception. Kenny Logan Jr. tallied a game-high 11 tackles. Kyron Johnson recorded the Jayhawks’ only two sacks and recovered a fumble.

A Long Time Coming

For Kansas, the victory was its first over an FBS team since beating Texas Tech in October 2019. Its last road win had come at Boston College earlier that season.

When it comes to Big 12 road wins however, the Jayhawks had lost 56 conference games away from Lawrence. That was five times longer than the next longest streak. The last such victory had come over Iowa State on Oct. 4, 2008.

For Leipold, the first-year head coach, it was his first conference win at Kansas and first over a Power 5 team since beating Rutgers while at Buffalo in 2018.

Up Next

With the loss, Texas fell to 4-6. The Longhorns will need to win their final two games to become bowl-eligible, beginning on Saturday at West Virginia.

Kansas improved to 2-8 with the victory. The Jayhawks haven’t won consecutive games since 2018 or consecutive road games since 2007.

They’ll try to end some more streaks on Saturday as they travel to face TCU. The contest begins at 4 p.m. ET and airs on ESPN+.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.