Well that got off on the wrong foot pretty quickly. It ended on the wrong foot too, if we're just being honest. 41-3, there's not a lot of ways to spin it other than it was a bad loss.
Here are some positives to consider before we get into the actual game. Did anyone else think that KU had the worst stadium and fan support in the NCAA? Wrong. It's got to be demoralizing for Duke to play so well and still not be able to sell out a game. Even KU sells out a handful of games throughout the year and they are nowhere near as good as Duke. Even their stadium was worse than KU's, it felt like a high school football game out there. But maybe that's just being bitter. Duke played a good game against a bad team. I don't think it matters how they got it or against who. A win is a win.
On to the actual game now. The game was all Duke at first, getting ahead to an early 17-0 lead in the first quarter. After a Duke field goal, Shaun Wilson had an explosive 68 yard touchdown run in the first quarter to get out ahead early. It appeared that a few defenders basically gave up on that run, to be honest. You can use the "defense on the field" excuse all you want, but I'm not sure if it holds much merit in the first quarter. Overall, the first quarter was forgettable.
There were some bright spots for the KU offense in the beginning of the first quarter, though. With an empty backfield, Cozart and the Jayhawks had an impressive drive which led to just a field goal, unfortunately. The bit of momentum that KU had was halted by an Evrett Edwards interception. The play immediately following that, KU was called for a horse-collar flag which led to another Duke field goal. Objectively, things could have gone a lot worse for the Jayhawks in the first half.
The second half was no better though. The game was blown open by Duke and ultimately led to the nail in KU's coffin. One of the things that I noticed in today's game was Montell Cozart's inability to hang on to the ball throughout the game. Granted, there were a few bad snaps in there, but his ball control has to be a concern. Another issue with Cozart was his decision making when reading the field. There were a few instances when he held on to the ball too long when he could have easily ran it. I'm not sure what to make of the offensive line today. Cozart was rushed a lot, but I can't remember many sacks.
Corey Avery looked good today though. He had some good runs and he looks to be promising. There was so much talk about how we could suffer at halfback because of the injuries earlier in the year, but I think we could be in good shape.
For how much we talk about our defense is our strong point, it didn't look that great today. The secondary was pretty soft. It seemed that the defenders were more worried about stripping the ball than actually getting the tackle. Third downs killed us today, there were a couple of third and longs which Duke converted. Ben Heeney gave us a bit of a scare in the second quarter, but he seemed to be all right.
Overall it wasn't a great game for KU. But let's take into account who they played. Duke is not a bad football team by any means. Sure, they're not a powerhouse or anything but they are definitely a step up from Southeast Missouri.
The Jayhawks take on Central Michigan in Lawrence next week. It should be an easier task than today's Duke game. We'll have predictions and an outlook later on in the week, but I'm already looking forward to it.