At this point, it almost feels wrong beat up on Kansas.
The Jayhawks are now 0-8 on the season and have lost 12-straight games, dating back to October 2019. They have just two more chances to prevent their second winless season in the last six years. That’s pretty impressive, in a bad way.
Nevertheless, considering that TCU reached a new low the last time they traveled to Lawrence (27-26 loss in 2018), I don’t feel that bad about the trouncing the Frogs put on the Jayhawks last night
After struggling two weeks ago in Morgantown, TCU got help from all over their roster to get back on track this weekend. With that in mind, here’s my three up, three down for the week.
1. Zach Evans
This is what TCU fans have been waiting for. Five-star recruit Zach Evans was balling on Saturday, recording his first 100-yard game in his first career start.
The maturity of the freshman’s game was evident all night, as he consistently made the right reads and found holes to slice through the Kansas defense.
Complimented by a strong 28-yard run, Evans’ 100 yards came on just 12 carries (career high) for an efficient average of 8.3 yards per carry.
Though head coach Gary Patterson insisted after the game that Evans being in the starting role did not mean he was the long-term starter, the rookie’s strong performance likely means his workload will be fairly heavy in TCU’s season-closer next week.
As a team, TCU ran for a whopping 337 yards on the day. Right behind Evans were redshirt freshman Darwin Barlow and sophomore Max Duggan, who collected 83 and 61 yards on the ground, respectively.
It’s safe to say the Frogs established the run.
2. Garrett Wallow
A member of the Preseason All-Big 12 team, Wallow has not been quite as influential as TCU hoped so far in 2020.
That was not the case yesterday, as the senior had a monster day.
Wallow was everywhere for the Frogs, collecting 10 tackles, all of them being solo. That’s insane. The linebacker also added a tackle for a loss, a pass breakup, and a quarterback hit.
Following the lead of their captain, the TCU defense really had one of their best statistical games in a while (which should happen when you play Kansas).
The Frogs totaled 12 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 3 quarterback hits, a pass breakup, and a pick six, while holding the Jayhawks to just 41 rushing yards.
C.J. Ceasar and Dee Winters both scored their first-career touchdowns on the day as well.
I also loved to see Wallow have good things to say after the game about Sarah Fuller, who became the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game yesterday.
“To see it at this level is amazing,” Wallow said. “Especially seeing a woman go out there and doing what a guy can do at the same level is amazing to see.”
3. Carter Ware
If you didn’t like this, you don’t like TCU Football.
A member of the Frogs’ roster since 2017, tight end Carter Ware has worked hard with little recognition. He rarely gets targets, but he, day after day, goes to work to do what he can for TCU.
Originally a walk-on, Ware earned a starting position earlier this year when tight end Artayvious Lynn went down for the season.
Before yesterday, his longest reception was for seven yards, and he had never come close to smelling the end zone.
Then, midway through the first quarter on Saturday, Ware found himself wide open down the right side on a wheel route. Duggan saw the veteran and hit him in stride (sorta?).
The reception went for 28 yards, representing both the longest, by far, catch of Ware’s career and an unusual spotlight moment for one of the purple and white’s hardest workers.
Wallow told the media that he joked with Ware on the sideline afterwards that he was probably pretty nervous when the ball was in the air.
See, silver linings do exist in the most forgettable of seasons.
Honorable Mention: Emari Demercado
If you haven’t seen the hit Emari put on a Kansas defender in the first quarter, go watch in on YouTube. My goodness, that was a grown man truck from the junior running back. He finished with a respectable six carries for 33 yards.
1. Dee Winters
Overall, TCU had a pretty good effort on Saturday, so I’m going to keep the three down section short.
Nevertheless, Dee Winters looked pretty lost for a good portion of the game, which is inexcusable against Kansas.
All three of the Jayhawks’ touchdowns came in the passing game, and two of them were against Winters. The second saw the receiver with ten-plus yards of separation on what looked like poor communication by the Frogs.
Moments later, Winters’ man burned him again, and Kansas converted the two-point conversion.
The linebacker did redeem himself later in the game, recovering a fumble in the end zone for the first score of his young career. He also finished with 3.5 tackles for a loss.
Overall, you can’t put all of the blame on Winters. His load in the coverage game has been beyond what it should because the injuries the Frogs have suffered.
Without a doubt, I expect big things from Dee Winters in the years to come.
2. Max Duggan
In fantasy, Duggan would have had a pretty good game. The sophomore had four total touchdowns and 61 rushing yards (looking at around 33 points, depending on the league you’re in).
On the other hand, the young signal caller completed just three passes, and they were all to wide open targets.
I know that the game plan very quickly became to run, run, and run again yesterday, but Duggan’s continual struggle in the area of efficiency does not give Frog fans much confidence going into their matchup with the Cowboys.
3. Les Miles
Coaching Kansas football might be the hardest job on the planet. I get it. I would probably rather clean out the nastiest sewers in Fort Worth for a living.
On the other hand, you would have thought that some sort of livelihood would have came to Lawrence with the heralded head coach.
Instead, Miles has a record of 3-17 in two seasons and ran off the program’s best player in years (Pooka William’s Jr.).
Thank goodness for Jayhawk fans that basketball season is getting started.