For those that only saw the final score and weren’t able to watch the game (thanks, ACC Network), the 19-point Duke win didn’t tell the whole story.
In fact, the first half was pretty fun, with Kansas putting up 24 points and taking a three-point lead into halftime. Torry Locklin had two touchdowns in the half – a 20-yard touchdown catch followed by a 36-yard rushing TD just six game minutes later – and the defense took advantage of early Duke turnovers.
But even from the start, it felt like Kansas was missing an opportunity. Ra’Mello Dotson had the first Kansas interception of the year and took it all the way into the Duke redzone, but the Jayhawks were unable to turn it into points after a missed field goal attempt.
Maybe the biggest missed opportunity of the game came in the third quarter when, after KU extended the lead to six to start the half, Gavin Potter missed a sack of Duke QB Gunnar Holmberg, who then dumped it off to Mataeo Durant for 53 yards, which then led to a Duke score three plays later.
That play summed up what was a rough day at the office for KU’s defense, as the tackling display was...in the words of Kevin McCallister...woof. Duke put up more than 600 yards of offense pretty evenly balanced between the running game and passing game.
And quickly, it began to unravel. Kansas went three and out before Duke scored again to extend the lead to eight. Then a Bean pick taken back to the eight yard line led to another Blue Devils touchdown and a 42-27 lead. Kansas should have cut into the lead at the end but a Bean touchdown pass to Mason Fairchild was called back due to offensive pass interference and the drive ended with an endzone INT by Bean on fourth and goal.
But the Kansas offense showed plenty of glimpses of positivity. The Jayhawks ended with 530 yards of offense. Jason Bean threw for 323 yards and was at his best when taking big shots down the field, like this bomb to, and amazing catch by, Trevor Wilson (who ended with a team-high 122 receiving yards) and a 61-yard touchdown pass to Kwamie Lassiter. Devin Neal also had a coming-out party, rushing for 107 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown, while Locklin and Bean added another combined 101 yards on the ground.
With non-conference play in the books, KU will go on the road at Iowa State against a Cyclones team that fell to Baylor 31-29 today.