Jalon Daniels’ injury overshadows Kansas’ loss to TCU, its first of season

photo by: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels is sacked by TCU linebacker Jamoi Hodge during a game on Oct. 8, 2022, in Lawrence, Kan.

The Kansas football team didn’t just lose for the first time this season.

It lost junior quarterback Jalon Daniels as well.

Daniels left the game with a right shoulder injury shortly before halftime, and No. 19 Kansas was defeated 38-31 by No. 17 TCU on Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The quarterback, whose strong performances were a large reason why the Jayhawks were looking to start 6-0 for the first time since 2007, is uncertain to be able to play in the Jayhawks’ next game, Saturday at Oklahoma.

“It’s still under evaluation,” coach Lance Leipold said roughly half an hour after the game ended. “That’s all I was told. He was done for the day and I’m sure the next 48 hours will help us (evaluate his progress) and we’ll go from there.”

Daniels was replaced by redshirt senior Jason Bean, who started nine games last season and finished Saturday having completed 16 of 24 passes for 262 yards, a career-high four touchdowns and an interception while running seven times for 34 yards.

Facing third-and-6 from TCU’s 17-yard line with 41 seconds remaining until halftime, Daniels scrambled right and ended up being sacked for a 5-yard loss by TCU redshirt sophomore linebacker Jamoi Hodge, who landed on Daniels’ right shoulder.

After being helped to the medical tent for evaluation, and then the locker room, Daniels returned to the sidelines wearing a black sweatshirt and black sweatpants early in the third quarter. He finished 5-for-10 for 89 yards and ran seven times for 6 yards.

Bean, who transferred from North Texas prior to last season, had been praised by the coaching staff throughout preseason camp for his performance in practices. That he didn’t miss a step in leading Kansas’ offense Saturday was a testament to his level of preparation, Leipold said, even though Daniels had emerged as the starter after he replaced Bean late last season.

“I’m sure it’s not exactly how he envisioned it from one year ago at this time, but you know, instead of dwelling on that, I’d like to really commend him for the fact that the way he’s handled it, to be ready,” Leipold said. “If he has to be the starter next week, I’m very confident he’ll have a great week of preparation and take advantage of his opportunity to be a starter.”

TCU (5-0) took a 38-31 lead with 1:36 remaining after junior wide receiver Quentin Johnston caught a 24-yard pass from senior quarterback Max Duggan in the back right corner of the end zone.

Bean, unfazed, led his team to the Horned Frogs’ 34-yard line in an attempt to answer, but the drive ended when, facing fourth-and-9, Bean couldn’t connect with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Lawrence Arnold.

“I had a good game, but obviously, it wasn’t good enough,” Bean said. “We needed one more and we couldn’t get it, so I think that’s just more motivation, more reason to come back this week and work even harder.”

Bean entered with the Jayhawks trailing 10-3, and he immediately set about getting them on the right track. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tanaka Scott caught a pass and broke a tackle for a 52-yard gain. Three plays later, Bean connected with senior tight end Mason Fairchild on a 12-yard touchdown reception that helped tie the score at 10.

The Jayhawks then took their first lead of the game — and forced TCU to play with a deficit for the first time since its season opener — when Bean, rolling left and throwing across his body, found junior wide receiver Luke Grimm wide open in the back right corner of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown catch. TCU responded on the next drive, when wide receiver Derius Davis took a screen pass 49 yards through the goal line, to tie it at 17.

Bean was intercepted on Kansas’ following drive when, on third-and-21 from Kansas’ 19-yard line, he threw the ball directly to TCU’s Hodge. The Horned Frogs responded by going 26 yards in five plays, with Duggan running 3 yards across the goal line and helping his team take a 24-17 lead.

Kansas tied it again after a 26-yard pass from Bean to Arnold set up a 38-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Quentin Skinner in the back right of the end zone, but TCU clawed the lead back five plays later when Duggan threaded a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Taye Barber en route to a 31-24 lead.

Kansas’ attempt to answer — a 15-play drive — ended without points when Jacob Borcila missed a 31-yard field goal try with 8:06 to play. TCU went three-and-out on its final drive, and the Jayhawks finally equalized on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Bean to Skinner.

But TCU, which took over with 4:12 remaining, went 68 yards in six plays and went up 38-31 after Johnston caught a 24-yard pass from Duggan in the end zone.

Duggan finished 23-for-33 for 308 yards, three touchdowns and his first interception of the season — an overthrown pass in the second quarter that was caught easily by sophomore safety OJ Burroughs.

Kansas finished with 540 yards compared to TCU’s 452, including 351 yards passing and 189 yards rushing. Sophomore running back Devin Neal had team highs of 15 carries for 88 yards, and Grimm caught six passes for 73 yards while Skinner had four catches for 98 yards.

The defense was relentless in its pressure of Duggan, though redshirt junior defensive end Lonnie Phelps Jr. had the Jayhawks’ only sack. TCU, which entered the game averaging 8.3 yards per play, the best mark in the Football Subdivision, had just 7 yards per play against the Jayhawks — though 15 went for 10 or more yards.

Kansas committed four fumbles, though it lost just one, and had five penalties for 45 yards. TCU’s Johnston had 14 catches for 206 yards, with 110 of those yards gained after the catch.

For a team that has been historically used to losing, Saturday’s performance felt like an aberration. But overcoming the loss of Daniels, Leipold said, showed resilience that may not have been there a year ago.

“As I told the team, our margin of error is still pretty small,” Leipold said. “That’s reality. That’s OK. We can embrace that. But we’ve got to be better in certain situations.”


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