Kansas Jayhawks wrap up 2021 season with 34-28 loss to West Virginia

The season is over for Kansas Jayhawks football, who fought to the end but came up short against West Virginia on Senior Night 34-28.

With the loss, the Jayhawks finish the year 2-10 overall and 1-8 in Big 12 play, last in the conference standings.

Kansas held one brief lead, with sophomore Jacob Borcila kicking a 46-yard field goal to take a 3-0 advantage with 11:14 on the clock in the first quarter. West Virginia responded nearly six minutes later with the first of two touchdown receptions by Winston Wright, and the Mountaineers never trailed again.

Still, KU was never completely out of contention, keeping the game within one score for nearly all of the second and third quarters.

WVU would go up by 13 late in the fourth quarter after a pair of second-half field goals, but even then KU continued to fight, scoring its final touchdown at the end of a five-play, 68-yard drive that took just 1:02 off the clock in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore quarterback Jalon Daniels made his third start of the season and threw for 249 yards and a touchdown in the loss, but he also threw a pair of red zone interceptions to squelch two potential scoring drives for the Jayhawks. Daniels also ran for KU’s final score of the game.

Sophomore receiver Luke Grimm led the Jayhawks in receiving with four catches for 67 yards, while walk-on freshman tight end and cult hero Jared Casey continued his recent ascent to stardom, catching four balls for 67 yards and a score.

Senior receiver Kwamie Lassiter II, one of the Jayhawks seniors honored before the game, caught a game-high seven passes, giving him 148 for his career, which is fifth in program history.

The Jayhawks were forced to play without freshman running back Devin Neal, arguably the offense’s most dynamic playmaker, due to an injury. In his place, redshirt-freshman Amauri Pesek-Hickson led Kansas in rushing with 12 carries for 60 yards.

The Mountaineers averaged over six yards per play for the game and were carried by a pair of strong rushing performances. Leddie Brown ran for 156 yards and Tony Mathis gained another 118, the first time this season WVU has had multiple 100-yard rushers.

West Virginia outgained Kansas by exactly 100 yards of total offense on Saturday night 436-336.

By going 2-10 this season, KU has now completed 12 consecutive years with three or fewer wins, dating back to 2010. However, the progress was apparent for the Jayhawks late in the year. Over the last three weeks, KU put together three of its four best scoring performances of the year. Additionally, numerous key contributors are scheduled to be back in 2022, specifically on offense, notably including Daniels, Neal, Grimm and Casey, among others.

West Virginia, by virtue of beating Kansas, is now bowl eligible for the second year in a row.