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Game of the Year Nominee: Football destroys Kansas in front of primetime audience

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May TCU fans never endure the pain and humiliation which the Jayhawks experienced on national television that evening.

Kansas v TCU Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

You knew it was coming.

The moment FOX announced that TCU would host Kansas for a primetime showdown under the lights, you knew it was coming. Even if the Jayhawks had a peculiar habit of going down to the wire with the Horned Frogs year after year, it wasn’t hard to see a drubbing of the worst Power 5 team in college football on its way for all to see.

Why the mid-October mismatch between TCU and Kansas was put on national television in the evening, we may never know. Game 7 of the American League Championship Series and a top-25 showdown between Michigan and Penn State, both of which overlapped with the beat-down in Fort Worth, probably had something to do with it. But those who did opt to attend or tune-into the action at Amon G. Carter Stadium that evening were treated [depending on your perspective] to statistically the greatest single-game defensive outing in Big 12 history [AKA the worst offensive single-game outing in Big 12 history].

But regardless whether you view the final stats from a “glass half-full” or a “glass half-empty” vantage point, the numbers don’t lie. TCU’s 43-0 rout of Kansas was historic, and we may not see a performance that merciless again anytime soon. And may I remind you that a running clock was implemented late in the 4th quarter too as severe weather approached? Yes, it could have been even more lopsided.

But without further adieu, let’s revisit the marquee Big 12 matchup from 2017 that quickly became a game of Will the Jayhawks finish the night with positive yardage on offense? for everyone following the contest in even the slightest fashion.

1st quarter

It’s fair to say that everyone TCU fan had a few jitters of their own at kickoff — and rightfully so, considering the Horned Frogs needed a missed field-goal to escape Kansas a year prior in Lawrence [could you imagine if Kansas had defeated TCU and Texas in the exact same fashion within a single season? Yikes.] Those back-of-the-head fears were at the least diminished when TCU exited the first quarter with a 10-0 lead, thanks to a Desmon White touchdown catch and a Jonathan Song field goal. No, it wasn’t a score to point which you would call the game out of reach, but 6 total yards for the Kansas offense after 15 minutes made the game feel a whole lot more lopsided than the scoreboard indicated.

2nd quarter

After honoring 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee LaDainian Tomlinson — who was in attendance — in-between quarters, the Horned Frogs really started to bring it. Touchdown passes from Kenny Hill to Jalen Reagor and John Diarse on consecutive drives put the Horned Frogs up 24-0, and the Jayhawks appeared nothing short of lost after finishing their first two offensive drives of the quarter with a loss of 9 yards. Once halftime arrived, Kansas’ total offense on the night had entered the red, at negative 2 yards and 6 punts on the night. At this point, who knows what was running through referee Mike Defee’s mind as he had to watch TCU dismantle a helpless Jayhawks squad down after down. For all practical purposes, the game was over, and TCU was on its way to a perfect 7-0 start. But the real fun was just getting started.

3rd quarter

Things didn’t get any better for Kansas after Hill found Reagor for another touchdown pass to open up the second half to put TCU up 30-0. Things just became flat-out ugly for the Jayhawks when the ensuing drive resulted in a loss of 15 yards, bringing the evening total to negative. Just less than 5 minutes in to the 3rd quarter, it wasn’t a question of whether or not Kansas would get on the scoreboard before the a game clock read 00:00 [Spoiler: They didn’t, but you already knew that]. Nope. At this, point it suddenly didn’t seem so ridiculous to wonder if they’d actually make it back to the positive side of the fence when it came to total yardage.

Low and behold, Kansas eventually hit positive yardage before the 3rd quarter came to a close, but not after TCU tacked on another touchdown pass courtesy of Taj Williams and a punt return touchdown from KaVontae Turpin on consecutive drives to turn the game into a 43-0 massacre. Hey, the Jayahawks yardage guessing game was fun while it lasted.

4th quarter

And nothing happened.

Well, some things happened. The subs came in and a running clock was implemented amid concerns of thunderstorms approaching the stadium. But considering neither team found the scoreboard, so enough with dissecting the final 15 minutes of play. More impressively, Kansas found a way to get to 21 yards of total offense before the game ended. Bravo.

Now, before we say goodbye to the carnage from the annihilation that this football game was for now, here are some quick notes that shouldn’t be forgotten.

  • TCU out-gained Kansas 475-21 in total offense.
  • Kansas was forced to punt on 11 of its 13 drives, of which 5 resulted in negative yardage (Others drives resulted in turnover on downs and end of first half).
  • The 21-yards of total offense attained by Kansas set a Big 12 single-game record for the fewest yards ever attained by one team. Per CollegeFootballRefernce.com, it was the worst offensive performance of more than 26,000 college football games played since 2000.
  • TCU held Kansas to negative 25 rushing yards on the night.

It was a sight, alright. So will we be in for another dose of it this October when the Horned Frogs travel up the Lawrence? You’ll just have to wait and find out.