The Kansas Jayhawks continued their hot start to the season with a 35-27 win over the Duke Blue Devils at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The game was played in front of a sold-out crowd of 47,233 people.
The Booth was absolutely rocking as the Jayhawks took the field. Believe it or not, Kansas didn’t spot their opponent 14 points to start the game this week. The Jayhawks got on the board first with a touchdown pass from Jalon Daniels to Trevor Kardell.
Duke answered quickly with a touchdown of their own, tying the game up 7-7. Then it was early in the second quarter when we saw the play of the game. Jalon Daniels hit Daniel Hishaw on a quick pass out of the backfield and what transpired next can only be described as a young man who willed himself to the end zone. Hishaw took the catch and broke through a handful of tackles en route to a 73-yard touchdown. The decibel level went off the charts at that point.
Duke answered with a field goal and then Kansas came right back with another touchdown. This time it was Daniels with a tough pass to Luke Grimm for a 19-yard touchdown that gave the Jayhawks a 21-10 lead. Duke drove the field quickly and got another field goal before halftime to make it 21-13.
Both teams each had a possession in the third quarter before Kansas let loose. It was another touchdown pass from Daniels, this time hitting Lawrence Arnold in stride on a beautifully threaded ball, splitting the defenders and giving the Jayhawks a 28-13 lead heading to the 4th quarter.
The outcome was never in doubt from that point, but Duke kept things interesting. The Blue Devils started the scoring in the 4th quarter, adding a touchdown with 8:54 left in the game and cutting KU’s lead to 28-20. The Jayhawks matched with a three-yard run from Daniels with 4:42 left in the game. Duke added a late touchdown, which was the final score of the game, and Kansas finished the game covering the spread with an eight-point win.
This was a good game for the Jayhawks for multiple reasons, but Daniels leading the way and putting his name into the Heisman Trophy conversation continues to be at the top of the list of storylines. He has moved all the way up to having the 6th best odds to win the Heisman heading into Week 5 of the college football season.
Daniels has an impressive 97 QBR rating through four games. It is the second-highest total QBR through four games in the past 5 years. Daniels’ number is only behind former Heisman Trophy winner Tua Tagovailoa who had a 98 QBR after four games in 2018.
It was also nice to see the Jayhawks get out to an early lead and hold that lead as the game progressed. They’ve now won in just about every way you can through four weeks of the
season. They won a blowout, they won an overtime thriller, they came back from an early first quarter 14-point deficit in two games, and they learned how to win a close one as the front runner this past week.
Now it’s onto Iowa State. The Cyclones are coming off their first loss of the season, a home loss to the Baylor Bears. Iowa State had a valiant effort in the fourth quarter as they mounted a comeback that ultimately fell short. Baylor won it 31-24. Despite that, Iowa State will come to Lawrence as a 3.5-point favorite.
The Jayhawks were left on the outside looking in when it came to the AP poll this past week. Many were hoping to see Kansas break into that Top 25. Unfortunately for them, cross-state rival Kansas State defeated Oklahoma and jumped into that #25 spot. Kansas had the most votes received that didn’t crack the Top 25. A win against Iowa State should get them in.
Once again, Kansas will need to start quickly on the offensive end. Last week they did a good job getting an early lead against Duke. Having the same kind of success early will give the Jayhawks the edge.
The defense getting a three and out to start the game would be a huge momentum booster. The crowd should once again be juiced up for this match up and getting them involved early and often to help give the team an edge would be welcomed.
The 4-0 start by Kansas is the first time they’ve achieved such success since the 2009 season. A 5-0 start would also match that 2009 team. This Jayhawks squad is a lot of fun to watch and they are poised and ready to be a team remembered around Lawrence, Kansas for years to come.