The Kansas football team had the offense required to pull an upset over Duke on Saturday.
It didn’t have the stops, though.
The Blue Devils scored touchdowns on each of their first three third-quarter drives, pulling away for a 52-33 victory on a mild afternoon at Wallace Wade Stadium.
KU’s final stats were impressive offensively. The team averaged 7.4 yards per play, while also posting seven explosive plays of 20 yards or more.
The defense, frankly, didn’t do its part. Duke had nine running plays go 10-plus-yards and started a perfect 4-for-4 on touchdowns with its red-zone chances.
KU led 24-21 at halftime, but once again struggled in the third quarter while getting outscored, 21-3. The Jayhawks have now been outgunned by their opponents, 49-13, in third quarters this season.
Here are a few other things we learned about the Jayhawks (1-3) on Saturday.
KU has a playmaker at receiver
Trevor Wilson likely made the KU’s catch of the year late in the first half against Duke.
While running down the sideline, Wilson caught the ball literally around the helmet and back of Duke defender Jaylen Stinson to come down with the 42-yard circus grab.
— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) September 25, 2021
Wilson — he’s KU quarterback Jason Bean’s roommate — had a separate 45-yard grab in the first half, racking up 103 receiving yards before intermission.
A rare error
KU trailed 35-27 in the third quarter when Bean was part of one of the game’s biggest swing plays, as he failed to see Duke linebacker Shaka Heyward on a third-and-5 pass.
Heyward stepped in front of the intended receiver Wilson, knocking it in the air to himself for a pick before returning it 26 yards to the KU 8.
It was Bean’s first interception of the season.
KU — utilizing more pulling offensive lineman than previous games — easily had its best ground game for its running backs.
Devin Neal, who had a 62-yard run in the third quarter, eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark. Torry Locklin also added two scores, which included a 36-yard carry in the first half.
Missed tackles still an issue
KU coach Lance Leipold changed up his team’s recent practices to emphasize tackling, but it’s a problem that’s going to require some time for a full fix.
The Jayhawks whiffed on numerous tackles again Saturday, which included an especially costly play in the third quarter when Gavin Potter failed on a sack attempt, then Rich Miller took a poor angle on a completion to Mataeo Durant, who turned the potential loss into a 53-yard gain.