Despite an offensive surge in the second half, Kansas football fell to Coastal Carolina 38-23 Saturday night. Three crucial Kansas turnovers in the first half — that led to 21 points for the Chanticleers — proved to be a deciding factor.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” Kansas football coach Les Miles said. “If you turn over the ball like that you’re not going to win games.”
The first Jayhawk turnover came on the first drive of the game. Senior quarterback Thomas MacVittie was given the start for Kansas, and had a nice 17-yard run before throwing an interception on the eighth play of the drive.
Coastal Carolina quickly capitalized with a 10-play, 62-yard touchdown drive to go up 7-0.
On the next drive, Kansas once again turned the ball over. This time, junior wideout Takulve Williams ran into senior wide receiver Andrew Parchment and a Coastal Carolina defender, jarring the ball loose. Following the fumble, Coastal Carolina redshirt freshman quarterback Grayson McCall found senior defensive tackle C.J. Brewer for an easy 2-yard touchdown.
McCall finished the game 11-for-18 with 133 yards and three touchdowns through the air. McCall also ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns.
After another Coastal Carolina touchdown, Kansas needed a response on offense down by three scores with time running out in the first half. Unfortunately for Kansas, junior quarterback Miles Kendrick threw a pick, as his pass was tipped and caught by Chanticleer redshirt junior defensive lineman Jeffery Gunter.
Off the turnover, Coastal Carolina scored again on a 25-yard touchdown pass from McCall to junior wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh. However, Kansas was able to squeeze in a 46-yard field goal before the half to get on the board and make the score 28-3.
“In the game of football, when you shoot yourself in the foot and turn it over, you lose momentum and you give teams more opportunities,” Kendrick said. “I think that’s kind of the toughest part about it — [the other team gets] extra opportunities and they get good field position.”
Coming out of the break, the Kansas offense found its footing in the second half with improved ball security. Kendrick played most of the second half at quarterback and led the Jayhawks on two scoring drives. He finished the game with 156 yards and two touchdown passes.
Even with the late-game success from Kendrick, Kansas was unable to get over the hump.
“(The turnovers) killed us a lot,” Parchment said. “We dug ourselves into a hole we couldn’t get out of.”
Next up for Kansas is a road matchup with Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 26 to open up Big 12 play. Kickoff time is still to be determined.