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A Semi Statistical Recap of Duke

U-G-L-Y, defense got no alibi.

The Kansas Jayhawks prepare to kick off to the Duke Blue Devils in the second half of their game in Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, NC, on September 25, 2021.

This game was so bad, SB Nation doesn’t even have any photos of it for us to use.

I kid. Kinda.

While I have had to use my own photos from the game for some reason, Kansas was actually competitive into the second half with another P5 team. On the scoreboard at least, the game was a tale of two halves. Kansas led 24-21 at the break, but Duke outscored the Jayhawks 31-9 in the second half. However, once again, the scoreboard doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story.

The Jayhawks were buoyed in the first half by two Duke turnovers, which frankly, kept KU in the game. Duke averaged 7.5 yards per play in in both halves, meaning nothing KU did slowed the Blue Devils down very much. Unfortunately, the KU offense couldn’t keep up, and ended up turning the ball over twice themselves in that disastrous second half.

But hey, KU only punted four times, and only two of those were three-and-outs. PROGRESS!

All joking aside, the offense really did have a nice day. Kansas averaged 7.4 yards per play itself. Coming into this week, FBS teams who averaged 7.4 ypp or more were 68-8 so far this season. (Leave it to Kansas to make it 68-9.)

And, KU’s running backs finally had themselves a game! Coming into the game averaging just over 2 yards per carry, Jayhawk RBs went for 6.4 ypc, with both Devin Neal and Torry Locklin finding plenty of running room up front and through the Duke secondary.

However, once again the Jayhawks proved inept on third down - on both sides of the ball. KU’s offense converted just 3-14 (21.4%), while Duke converted 10-16 (62.5%). Kansas did convert on 2-3 fourth downs, but Duke also converted their only fourth down attempt.

Turnovers were even at 2-2. Both Duke turnovers came in the first half, and both KU turnovers came in the second half, although Duke put the ball on the ground a time or two in the second half - it just didn’t bounce KU’s way.

The Good

Boy, the offense just came out of nowhere! Throwing the ball downfield, read-options, for the most part, it was all just clicking. Of course, this is one of the ACC’s worst defensive teams, but hey, still a P5 team, and still probably better than, say, South Dakota.

The Bad

Bean’s first interception midway through the third quarter was a dagger. He locked on to his receiver and apparently never saw the defender, who was just waiting for the ball. To make it worse, it happened deep in KU territory, and was returned down inside the 10-yard line. Just a backbreaking play when you’re trying to keep up in a shootout.

The Ugly

Well, we’ve been complaining about the offensive line for three weeks now, but it’s time to give them a break, because the defense as a whole was just, well, ugly. Duke did whatever they wanted in the air or on the ground. That was at least partly due to the fact that KU looked like they couldn’t tackle a pile of wet socks. I’d love to see a missed tackles stat for this game.

As a team, KU was credited with just one TFL and no QB sacks. The Jayhawks just can’t get any pressure on anybody so far this year, and it’s showing up not only on the scoreboard, but in the stats as well.

The Stats

Jason Bean went 19-32 for 323 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. To be fair, his receivers did have a least a couple of pretty bad drops. He added 54 rush yards on 15 carries.

Devin Neal led KU in rushing with 107 yards on just 17 carries with 2 TDs.

Torry Locklin added 47 rush yards on 7 carries with a TD, as well as a 20-yard reception that went for a TD.

Trevor Wilson led KU receivers in yards and targets, hauling in 5-12 targets for 122 yards. He also ended up with the #2 play in SportsCenter’s Top 10.

Lawrence Arnold caught 8-9 targets for 68 yards.

Kwamie Lassiter hauled in 4-5 targets for 99 yards and a TD.

LB Rich Miller led the Jayhawks in tackles with 14.

Kenny Logan had 11 tackles and forced a fumble, but was ejected late in the 4th quarter for a targeting penalty.

Ra’Mello Dotson had 4 tackles and an INT that he returned 65 yards into the red zone.

Jacob Borcila hit 2-3 field goal attempts, connecting from 50 and 29 but missing from 37.

Reis Vernon had a not great night, hitting four punts for a 32.8 average.