Reesing tosses 3 TDs as No. 22 Kansas rolls
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)When it comes to beating Kansas, Duke better stick to basketball.
Catching the No. 22 Jayhawks on what Todd Reesing called his best day so far this year, the underdog Blue Devils jumped on their hosts with a long two-play touchdown drive on their first possession. But after that it was all Reesing and Kansas as the senior threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-16 romp on Saturday.
"I felt a lot sharper in the passing game," Reesing said. "I was able to make some plays with my legs in the running game, some scrambles. I'm definitely a lot more pleased."
Beefy freshman Toben Opurum rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns, filling in for Jake Sharp, who was injured and limited after rushing for more than 100 yards each of the first two games.
The lopsided victory gave Kansas and its fifth straight 50,000-plus crowd perhaps a small measure of revenge for the 2-6 record that Duke holds over the Jayhawks' beloved basketball program. It also made the Jayhawks 3-0 for the third time in five seasons.
The Blue Devils (1-2) came in as one of 21 teams in the country that had not thrown an interception. But early in the third quarter, defensive end Maxwell Onyegbule snared Thad Lewis' pass just beyond the line of scrimmage and rumbled 48 yards into the end zone. It was Kansas' first interception return for a TD since Aqib Talib victimized Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl in January 2008.
"He did a great job of hiding," Lewis said. "I didn't see him at all."
On Duke's first play, Lewis flipped the ball to Austin Kelly on a shallow crossing pattern and caught the defense flowing the wrong way. After Kelly took it 66 yards to the Kansas 21, Lewis sprinted into the end zone on a quarterback draw on the next play.
"I think more of it was because that first play on defense, you're excited," said Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey. "You're trying to fly to the ball real fast and you can kind of over-pursue."
Kansas had been practicing against those sorts of plays all week.
"We knew Duke likes to throw a lot of screen passes," coach Mark Mangino said. "But they executed perfectly and got the draw and got it in the end zone, so give credit to them."
That would be Duke's last touchdown until Sean Renfree threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Donovan Varner 5 minutes into the fourth quarter to make it 37-16. Lewis and Renfree shared time for the second week in a row. Lewis was 16 of 27 for 184 yards, with two interceptions. Renfree was 14 of 23 for 115 and a TD.
Reesing put up the 14th 300-yard day in a career that has erased almost every school passing record as the Jayhawks won for the 25th time in 29 home games. His TD passes covered 14 yards to Dezmon Briscoe, 7 yards to Sharp and 6 to Kerry Meier. Briscoe had six catches for 117 yards.
"Todd did a great job," Mangino said. "He threw some balls in tough coverage. (Duke) mixed things up pretty well and gave us a lot of looks, man looks and zone looks. But Todd got in a rhythm and he saw what they were doing."
Reesing set up Kansas' fifth touchdown with a dancing, dodging, acrobatic, scramble during which he had one hand on the ground while eluding a would-be sacker. He finally took it 17 yards to the 4 and Opurum scored on the next play.
"Todd Reesing is a heck of a quarterback," said Duke safety Matt Daniels. "He really hurt us a lot with his feet."
Opurum also scored on a 3-yard run late in the fourth, giving the 235-pound freshman his second two-touchdown day.
"They caught us off guard, caught us on our heels," he said. "We got it corrected and started playing."
Reesing, who ran for 51 yards, had several passes dropped. Briscoe and Johnathon Wilson each had perfectly thrown balls bounce off their hands that would probably have gone for huge gains.
"We had passes dropped last week," said Mangino. "We have to do something about that - and we will."