Saturday, the Jayhawks blew out opponent number three in large part
because of a strong performance from the senior signal caller. Reesing
threw for 338 yards, rushed for 51 more and accounted for three
touchdowns as the Jayhawks defeated the Duke Blue Devils 44-16.
But the game didn’t start off well for the home team.
After holding the Jayhawks on Kansas’s first possession, the Blue
Devils only needed two plays to travel the 87 yards necessary for the
game’s first score. Duke made most of that amount on its first play, a
XX-yard pass from quarterback Thaddeus Lewis to receiver Austin Kelly,
then finished the drive on a Lewis 21-yard run on a quarterback draw.
Less than three minutes later, Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing found
Dezmon Briscoe for a 14-yard touchdown, their first hook-up for points
of the 2009 season. Reesing tossed two more touchdowns in the second
quarter, a seven-yard score to Jake Sharp and a six-yard pass to a
diving Kerry Meier.
“We responded very well,” said Kansas Coach Mark Mangino. “We knew Duke
likes to throw a lot of screen passes and we worked on it all week, but
they executed perfectly and got the draw and got it in the end zone, so
give credit to them.”
The Kansas defense was the next to get involved, with defensive end Max
Onyegbule picking off a pass and returning it 44 yards to paydirt.
After Duke responded with a 37-yard field goal, the Jayhawks found the
end zone again, this time on a Toben Opurum four-yard run. A Jacob Branstetter field goal then upped the lead to 37-10.
Duke scored its final points when quarterback Sean Renfree found
receiver Donovan Varner for a leaping touchdown catch on a fourth down
play in the fourth quarter. The Jayhawks finished off the game’s
scoring when Opurum scored his second touchdown, this one from two
Reesing completed 68 percent of his passes (28-41) on the day, and he
spread the ball around doing it— three receivers had at least six
catches. Briscoe bested the century mark for the second consecutive
week, snaring six passes for 117 yards and a score. Kerry Meier had
eight catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, while Bradley McDougald and
Jonathan Wilson combined for 10 catches and 100 yards.
“Todd did a great job,” Mangino said. “He did what we asked him to do …
Todd got into a rhythm and he saw what they were doing and did a really
good job of managing the game, throwing the football and running the
ball when he had to.”
Filling in for an injured Jake Sharp, Opurum put up 120 total yards and
two scores. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry and caught three passes for
50 yards, including a one-handed stab along the sideline.
Duke threw the ball 50 times in the game, with Lewis completing 16 of
his 27 passes and Renfree hitting on 14 of his 23 throws. Renfree threw
for a touchdown, while Lewis ran for a touchdown and threw two
interceptions as the two combined for 299 yards through the air. Johnny Williams had eight catches for 75 yards and Kelly had five catches for
“The defense played well most of the day,” Mangino said. “The first two
plays of the game were no good. I thought we were flat and not sharp.
After that, we buckled down and then we let that drive take place at
the beginning of the fourth quarter that I didn’t particularly like.
“But the rest of the day, the defense played very well except for those
two situations,” Mangino said.
The Jayhawks will host Southern Miss next Saturday to end the
non-conference slate. Game time is set for 11 a.m.
Duke — Thaddeus Lewis 21 run (Nick Maggio kick), 9:46 1Q
Kansas — Dezmon Briscoe 14 pass from Todd Reesing (Jacob Branstetter
kick), 7:10 1Q
KU — Jake Sharp 7 pass from Reesing (kick blocked), 4:59 2Q
KU — Kerry Meier 6 pass from Reesing (Branstetter kick), 1:16 2Q
KU — Max Onyegbule 48 interception return (Branstetter kick), 12:58 3Q
Duke—Will Snyderwine 37 FG, 11:21 3Q
KU — Toben Opurum 4 run (Branstetter kick), 7:30 3Q
KU — Branstetter 31 FG, 0:23 3Q
Duke — Donovan Varner 11 pass from Sean Renfree (pass failed), 9:22 4Q
KU — Opurum 2 run (Branstetter kick), 2:14 4Q
- Todd Reesing’s 338 yards marked the first time he topped
the 300-yard mark through the air this season. Reesing last passed for
more than 300 yards in the 2008 Insight Bowl against Minnesota, when he
threw for 313 yards. Reesing now has completed 64.7 percent of his
passes for 806 yards and six touchdowns on the season. He has one
- Kansas running back Jake Sharp played sparingly and ended
the game with five carries for 13 yards. Kansas Coach Mark Mangino said
Sharp was injured earlier in the week in a non-contact drill. He said
the severity of the injury was unknown, but that the staff thought he
would have been ready for Saturday’s game. He said Sharp was
uncomfortable and lacked explosion, and was replaced by Toben Opurum.
Heading into Saturday’s game, Sharp ranked second in the Big 12
Conference, averaging 113 yards per game on the ground. His five
overall touchdowns led the conference. Overall, the Jayhawks rushed for
152 yards on 31 carries, down significantly from their Big 12 leading
291.5 yards-per-game average.
- On the flip side, the Jayhawks’ average sack count stayed
right on line with Kansas’s previous games. The Jayhawks sacked Blue
Devil passers five times on Saturday. The Jayhawks’ 4.5 sacks per game
over the first two games were tops in the league. All five sacks came
courtesy of different players, coming from defensive ends Jake Laptad
and Max Onyegbule and linebackers Drew Dudley, Justin Springer and
- Backup quarterback Kale Pick continued his string of big
plays, running for an 18-yard gain the fourth quarter. Pick put up a
rush of 20 yards in the Northern Colorado game, then ran for gains of
55 and 32 yards against UTEP. Pick has six carries for 152 yards (25.3
per carry) on the season.
- The Jayhawks struggled at times defending the pass, but
were strong in that area in the middle of the game. Out of Duke’s 299
passing yards, 86 came in the first quarter and 107 came in the final
stanza. The Blue Devils completed 16 of their 24 passes in those
stanzas for a 66 percent completion percentage, and averaged eight
yards per attempt. In the second and third quarters, Duke quarterbacks
were 14 of 26 (54 percent) for 106 yards (4.1 yards per attempt).