Duke Blue Devils vs Kansas Jayhawks Preview


The Duke Blue Devils are taking on a Power 5 opponent this week. However that Power 5 program is the underperforming Kansas Jayhawks from the Big 12. The Blue Devils should continue to measure their progress against steadily increasing competition to see if their adjustments have been truly making up for their injuries. However, Duke should not take Kansas lightly. A repeat of what happened against Troy might be harder to overcome with the athletes from Kansas.

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Date: September 13

Time: 3:30 PM

TV: ESPN3 (Online Stream) and ESPN Gameplan (PPV)

Venue: Wallace Wade Stadium

Last Time: 2009, Jayhawks 44 Blue Devils 16

Mighty mite quarterback Todd Reesing was still at the helm of a Mark Mangino coached Kansas team when Duke went out to Lawrence and got stomped by a Kansas team that was just one year removed from an Orange Bowl victory (Thank you Virginia Tech). Notable for Duke was the presence of Thad Lewis, currently an NFL free agent. Reesing threw for three touchdowns and Lewis was eventually pulled in favor of Sean Renfree. Since that game, Kansas has regressed back to mediocrity while Duke is enjoying its first real football success since Steve Spurrier.

Sep 6, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Montell Cozart (2) scrambles in the pocket against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent: Kansas Jayhawks (1-0)

Kansas has a more limited resume coming into this game, since their only game was their win over Southeast Missouri State. Kansas was up big in that game before almost giving it away in the 4th quarter. They figured it out and won 34-28. Yet it was a close call to an FCS school.

It was also the first game where head coach Charlie Weis had relinquished playcalling duties to his offensive coordinator John Reagan. The offense played pretty well in this new arrangement. Sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart will be key to the success over the course of the season, but Kansas definitely tried to run more against SE Missouri. The running backs had thirty-four carries for 200 yards. Cozart finished those drives with three touchdown passes, two to Nick Harwell, the transfer from Miami (Ohio).

Kansas returned a bunch of its linemen, so the line has experience. But they weren’t very good last year, and the SE Missouri State game did not challenge the offensive line. The defensive line notably was unable to shut down the SE Missouri comeback until late in the game.
The Kansas secondary will also be a tempting target for Anthony Boone and the Duke receivers, as it got ripped apart in the fourth quarter by Kyle Snyder of SE Missouri State. Boone, Crowder, and McCaffery aren’t going to wait til the fourth quarter to test Kansas.

Jul 21, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Charlie Weis speaks to the media during the Big 12 Media Day at the Omni Dallas. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction: 31-14 Blue Devils
ONJ Record: 9-1

This should be another building block for Duke as they work their way into conference play. Kansas is simply not ready in year three of Charlie Weis to take the next step. They have holes on defense that a balanced Duke attack will exploit. David Cutcliffe and Charlie Weis know each other pretty well, which must give the advantage to Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe will have a better handle on how to use that information than Weis.