LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas senior quarterback Todd Reesing threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns and also collected 51 yards on the ground to lead Kansas to a 44-16 win over Duke on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
The win improved Kansas to 3-0 on the season, marking the second time in the last three seasons the Jayhawks opened the season with three-consecutive wins. The loss dropped the Blue Devils to 1-2.
Reesing completed 28-of-41 passes against the Blue Devils, including touchdowns to three different receivers. His 338 yards in the air marked his seventh-straight game with 200 or more passing yards and his 14th career 300-yard passing game.
Duke opened the game with a two-play 87-yard scoring drive capped by a 21-yard touchdown run by quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. Kansas answered right back with a with a 14-yard touchdown reception by junior wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe just two and half minutes later to knot the score at 7-7 midway through the first quarter.
The two teams traded punts on the next few possessions before Reesing connected with senior running back Jake Sharp for a six-yard TD with just under five minutes remaining in the first half. Duke defensive lineman Charlie Hatcher blocked the point after attempt as Kansas took a 13-7 lead.
Reesing collected his third TD pass of the first half as he hit senior wide receiver Kerry Meier in the end zone for a six-yard score with just over a minute to play before the break.
The Jayhawk defense got the scoring started in the second half of play as senior defensive lineman Maxwell Onyegbule picked off a Lewis pass on the opening possession of the third quarter. Onyebule returned the interception for a 48-yard touchdown pushing the Kansas lead to 27-7.
Following a 37-yard field goal by Duke kicker Will Snyderwine, Kansas freshman running back Toben Opurum produced the Jayhawks’ first touchdown on the ground as he scored on a four-yard run midway through the third quarter to give KU a 34-10 advantage. KU extended its’ lead to 37-10 with a 31-yard field goal by junior kicker Jacob Branstetter to close the third quarter.
Duke put together a 16-play, 74-yard scoring drive to open the fourth quarter, capped by an 11-yard pass from quarterback Sean Renfree to Donovan Varner. The Blue Devils’ pass attempt on the two-point conversion was knocked down by Kansas junior cornerback Calvin Rubles to make the score 37-16.
Opurum scored on a three-yard run with just over two minutes to play to forge the final score of 44-16. Opurum finished the game with 70 yards rushing and two TDs on 17 carries.
Briscoe finished the game with 117 yards receiving, his sixth-straight 100-yard receiving game. He now has nine 100-yard receiving games in his career, the most in KU history.
Senior safety Darrell Stuckey led the Jayhawk defense with a season-high 10 tackles. Freshman linebacker Huldon Tharp recorded a career-high 10 tackles, while junior linebacker Drew Dudley finished with a career-best eight tackles. Sophomore cornerback Daymond Patterson also had eight stops. Senior nickelback Justin Thornton and junior cornerback Chris Harris each added six tackles. KU finished with five sacks on the afternoon, giving the Jayhawks 14 sacks on the season.
KU will return to action Saturday, September 26, when it plays host to Southern Miss at Memorial Stadium. Kick off is slated for 11 a.m., with a live broadcast on Fox Sports Net.