Saturday started poorly and only got worse for the Kansas Jayhawks, who fell to 2-3 overall this year and 0-2 in Big 12 play with a 51-14 blowout loss to the TCU Horned Frogs.

Just before kickoff it was announced the senior running back Khalil Herbert, a team captain and one of the best playmakers on the roster, would miss the game due to personal reasons. At press time, unverified reports indicated that Herbert is electing to redshirt the rest of the season, with further speculation that he could leave the program. Those claims, however, have not been confirmed by trustworthy sources or the university.

Herbert’s presence may not have made a difference in the game, though, with TCU dominating from the opening snap. Kansas’ offense couldn’t move the ball at all against TCU’s defense, running into a wall on the ground and constantly missing targets through the air.

The Horned Frogs contrasted that by moving down the field easily in both aspects. They scored via the big play and with drawn-out drives early in the game, with scoring drives of five and 17 plays within the opening 15 minutes.

Coach Les Miles spoke all week about getting the ball to sophomore running back Pooka Williams more, but that was an untenable strategy when it came to running. Williams had just eight carries for 12 yards. He did make an impact in the passing game, as he was the Jayhawks’ leading receiver with three catches for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman running back Velton Gardner saw more action due to Herbert’s absence and took advantage of it, leading the Jayhawks with 61 yards on just four carries, plus a score. It was a homecoming of sorts for Gardner, who played in high school in nearby Dallas.

Senior quarterback Carter Stanley’s touchdown pass to Williams was significant, as it tied him with Dylen Smith for ninth on the program’s all-time touchdown passes list. That was the only bright spot of the day for Stanley, who finished just 12-of-29 passing for 84 yards, although he didn’t commit a turnover this week.

TCU racked up 625 total yards of offense on Saturday, averaging over seven yards per play. That includes over 11 yards per pass attempt for a team that struggled some through the air in their first few games of the season. Three quarterbacks, including former Kansas State Wildcat Alex Delton, combined to go 19-of-27 for 306 yards passing for the Horned Frogs.

Kansas is only going to face a tougher matchup next week when the undefeated Oklahoma Sooners come to Lawrence. The Jayhawks did hang tough with the Sooners last season, losing 55-14 in a game in which Williams had 252 yards rushing. Oklahoma blew out Texas Tech this week 55-16.