Following his first win at Kansas, head coach Les Miles knew exactly who to give the game ball to.
Andrew Parchment caught eight balls for 121 yards in his Kansas debut, lifting his new team to a 24-17 victory over Indiana State in the season opener. In his postgame press conference, Miles insisted that Parchment should receive some sort of recognition for his play.
Given what Parchment has been through during his collegiate career, though, Miles’ comments after the game might just be enough for the junior receiver.
“Andrew Parchment, I thought just played lights out,” Miles said. “Next time I see him I’m going to try to give him some MVP award somehow.”
But the performance was a culmination of Parchment's commitment during a long and unforgiving collegiate journey.
KU is Parchment’s third stop of his collegiate career. The former three-star recruit from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., went to Northern Illinois out of high school. He redshirted in 2016 before catching one pass for six yards the following year.
Parchment then transferred to Iowa Central Community College. He caught 23 passes for 227 yards in his lone season before coming to Lawrence. Parchment then turned in what he admitted was the best game of his career, which led to a genuine moment between him and Miles after the win over the Sycamores.
“After everything that I have been through and with Coach Miles taking a chance on me coming out of JUCO,” Parchment said. “I just thanked him for the opportunity for me being in this position.”
What was Miles’ response to Parchment?
"He said it is me, it is me,” Parchment recalled. “I like Coach Miles."
It is hard not to agree with Miles. Parchment was truly special in his first game with the Jayhawks. Parchment made a number of plays in a variety of ways. He was able to catch the ball in traffic, and he showcased the ability to make plays after the catch on shorter pass attempts.
Parchment was able to adjust to any passes thrown by redshirt senior quarterback Carter Stanley. Parchment even showed off his own quarterback background, when he successfully completed a pass on the two-point conversion with 2:02 left in the fourth quarter.
“I guess everything was just working my way today,” Parchment said. “Blessed everything happened that way."
Most of all, though, Parchment was there for the Jayhawks when they needed him the most.
Kansas had its back against the wall after a fumble recovery allowed Indiana State to take a 17-16 advantage. It gave KU its first deficit of the afternoon with a little over four minutes remaining, though the hosts didn’t panic on the sideline.
"Carter just came up to the receivers, along with (receivers coach) Emmett Jones, saying that this is what we talked about,” Parchment said. “We talked about the offense and the game being put on the outside receivers' hands. We had to go out there and make some big plays.”
That is exactly what they did.
The Jayhawks marched down the field on eight plays, four of which resulted in receptions by Parchment and senior receiver Daylon Charlot. Parchment picked up 11 yards on the only third down of the drive, as he made a move past a defender to pick up the necessary yardage after the catch.
Charlot, meanwhile, snagged the game-winning grab on a 22-yard connection between him and Stanley. The late drive was an important step for a program that has faltered in so many similar moments in the past. And that might just be the very thing that fueled all of them on Saturday.
“I feel like everybody had something to prove today. Daylon has something to prove, especially transferring from Alabama and the way things have (gone) at KU,” Parchment said. “Coach Miles has something to prove, Carter has something to prove. I feel like everybody has something to prove. We are just happy we got the win."