KU (2-0) hopes to continue rising with a victory over Duke (1-1) on Saturday. Kickoff is 11 a.m. (CT) on VERSUS. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
The Jayhawks have some momentum after their commanding victory over the
Miners. Aside from blowing some scoring opportunities in the first half
and giving up a late touchdown to UTEP, the Jayhawks looked impressive
in winning just their first non-conference road game since 2003.
KU's offense amassed 576 total yards, while the defense was even more
stellar, holding UTEP to just 208 yards and seven first downs. Kansas
had seven players post tackles for loss, led by senior defensive end
Maxwell Onyegbule's two sacks (KU had six sacks overall). KU also had
six quarterback hurries, three passes broken up and an interception by
"Overall, it was a good effort," KU coach Mark Mangino said.
The Jayhawks will need another good effort against Duke, which has some
momentum of its own after the Blue Devils' 35-19 victory at Army last
Saturday. Duke rallied from a 10-7 halftime deficit, as senior
cornerback Leon Wright capped the scoring by returning two
interceptions for touchdowns within a 16-second span late in the fourth
quarter. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Renfree also sparked Duke
in the second half with 7 of 8 completions for 106 yards and two
Senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, though, will start against Kansas.
He's within five touchdowns of matching the school record of 55 career
While this is still a program in transition under second-year head
coach David Cutcliffe and a team which played eight true freshmen in
its first two games, Duke seems to be on the verge of turning the
corner. Duke, which went 4-8 last year (1-7 in ACC), is tied
for first in the ACC for the fewest penalties per game. The Blue Devils
have committed just eight penalties in two games to rank tied for 12th
in the NCAA. Duke also ranks fifth in the nation in kickoff return
yardage defense, allowing only 14.33 yards per return this season. And
the Blue Devils are just one of 21 teams in the country without an
interception thrown through the first two weeks of the season.
"You can see they are a team that is getting better," Mangino said.
"They are a team that stays on track. They do not panic. They stay with
their game plan. Their offense is deliberate. They are always trying to
get better at the plays they run, which you can see is part of their
coaching philosophy. ... On the defensive side of the ball, they are
sound fundamentally. They have a good-looking defensive tackle named
Vince Oghobaase. He is a big, strong guy who comes off the ball well.
They are smart and play good, sound, fundamental defense."
After last week's road game, the Jayhawks are looking forward to being
back home at Memorial Stadium.
"We will have our fans behind us," said freshman receiver Bradley McDougald. "We are looking to have a big turnout."
The Jayhawks are also looking to improve and punch in scoring
opportunities in the red zone.
"There is no question that we left points on the board (against UTEP),"
said senior quarterback Todd Reesing. "We got down to the red zone and
were not able to convert touchdowns. That is my fault for not getting
the ball where it needs to be sometimes and guys not executing. ... We
did not feel like we played our best game on offense. That was on me. I
did not have my best game. I can't wait to get back out there and get
that passing game back to where it needs to be."
Despite his imperfections, Reesing still completed 25 of 41 passes for
260 yards and one touchdown. Cutcliffe is certainly well aware of
Reesing and KU's high-powered offensive and defensive attack. He knows
the nationally ranked Jayhawks will pose a stern challenge.
"They're very physical in both lines - really physical - and I think
they're one of the top 15 teams in the country," Cutcliffe said. "So,
how do you beat a top-15 team? It's probably the most basic formula in
football: take care of the ball, play great in the kicking game and
find a way to make some big plays while the game progresses."
#22 KU Will Face Duke on Saturday
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