Observations from Duke’s win over Kansas

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke defeated Kansas 41-3 on Saturday in dominating fashion.  The Blue Devil defense gave up very little all day, forcing their first turnovers of the season.  And the Blue Devil offense rode the back of a true freshman running back who had a record setting day and one of the best performances we have seen in some time.

Key Observations:

Shaun Wilson set the Duke record for rushing yards in a game, passing Robert Baldwin.  The true freshman from Charlotte, North Carolina rushed for 245 yards on just 12 carries.  He scored three touchdowns on runs of 69, 68, and 45 yards.  Wilson has been impressive in limited use during the first two games of the season, but he was on a whole other level against the Jayhawks.  The emergence of the freshman running back provides another big play guy for the Blue Devils.  Duke has continued to improve in the running game over the past few seasons, but have yet to have a guy like Wilson who can take it to the house at any time.

Anthony Boone had another inconsistent game.  The senior quarterback has played well enough for the Blue Devils so far in 2014, but the competition will begin to get much tougher in the coming weeks and Boone’s stretches of inaccuracy will not serve Duke well in ACC play.  Boone went through a particularly rough stretch in the first half, regularly overthrowing on deep passes down the sideline and missing guys on shorter routes as well.  To his credit he made a beautiful long throw down the sideline to Blakeney for a touchdown that was called back for offensive pass interference.  It wasn’t all bad for Boone.  He finished the day 19-33 for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.  But Duke will need to see more consistency from their quarterback if they hope to continue their success into the ACC slate.

The Duke defense played very well against Kansas.  The defensive line did a great job putting pressure on the quarterback, chasing Montell Cozart out of the pocket regularly.  The Blue Devils have only given up 6 points over the last 7 quarters of play.  Safeties Jeremy Cash and Deondre Singleton have done a great job helping defend against the run.  Against Kansas they combined for 21 tackles and made a number of hits around the line of scrimmage.  David Helton had another double digit tackle day.  Evrett Edwards had his first career interception as a Blue Devil and DeVon Edwards had his first interception of the season.

Additional News and Notes:

Duke has now won 11 straight regular season games.  A new school record.

In 2013, quarterback Anthony Boone threw 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  Through three games in 2014 he has 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.  He remains undefeated as a starter in the regular season, he is now 13-0.

Max McCaffrey had a career day with 7 catches for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Defensive lineman Dezmond Johnson and offensive lineman Lucas Patrick both suffered leg injuries during the game.  They were carted to the locker room and did not return.  Patrick had his right leg rolled into, while Johnson came up limp attempting to chase down Kansas quarterback Cozart.

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