Coming into last Saturday’s matchup against Coastal Carolina, Kansas football coach Les Miles was reluctant to name a starting quarterback, leading to both senior Thomas MacVittie and junior Miles Kendrick seeing significant game time in the eventual 38-23 loss.
With an official starter still yet to be named, let's take a look at how each player fared in last Saturday's game, and how their performances may have impacted the position battle.
Approximately 15 minutes before gametime, Kansas football announced on Twitter that MacVittie would start for the Jayhawks, marking his first career start at the Division I level. On the third play of the Jayhawks' first drive, MacVittie scrambled away from trouble for a 17-yard gain on third down, showcasing his ability to use his feet and extend plays. MacVittie finished with 37 yards on the ground in six attempts.
“MacVittie had a couple of really nice runs and big plays,” Miles said to the media postgame. “The issue is we were turning the ball over.”
In addition to MacVittie’s interception, he failed to find a solid rhythm in the passing game, finishing only 5-for-9 for 20 yards through the air. After a sluggish first half, MacVittie responded in the second by leading the offense into enemy territory.
On third-and-18, MacVittie completed a 13-yard pass to junior wideout Takulve Williams, but left the game before the crucial fourth-and-5 play with an apparent shoulder injury. Miles did not have any information on MacVittie’s status postgame.
With MacVittie sidelined, it was Kendrick’s time to shine. On the fourth-and-5 play, he found senior star receiver Andrew Parchment in the back corner of the end zone, giving Kansas its first touchdown of the game.
“I think [Kendrick] stepped up and did what he had to do,” senior wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter II said. “We obviously preach on ‘next man up’ so when Thomas went down, he came in and did what was necessary.”
Kendrick made his first appearance in the first quarter after back-to-back turnovers to start. On the drive, Kendrick led Kansas to a few first downs and completed a 16-yard pass to Williams, but eventually the Jayhawks were forced to punt.
His next drive ended with an interception, giving Coastal Carolina their third takeaway and a chance to go up 28-0, which they did shortly after. However, Kendrick bounced back and gave Kansas redshirt freshman kicker Jacob Borcila an opportunity to put points on the board before halftime.
“We got a little bit more aggressive coming out in the second half throwing the ball,” Kendrick said. “I had enough snaps [and] had enough time on the sideline to see what the defense was doing and try to attack.”
On the night, Kendrick finished 15-for-24 for 156 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception. He also completed the Jayhawks longest pass for the evening: a 37-yard toss to Lassiter, which set up Kansas’ third touchdown.
As of now, the quarterback battle is still a giant question mark. But, with Kendrick’s play down the stretch, it would be hard for Kansas to steer away from him taking the starting role.
With a bye week ahead for the Jayhawks, the battle will be in full force on the practice field this week as Kansas prepares for a road matchup with Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 26.