When looking at the matchup Duke football has with Kansas on Saturday, I can point to a myriad of players who must not just play well, but play very well. Here are five Blue Devils who must play very well if they’re going to get a win against the Jayhawks.
The sophomore quarterback has been very good so far, but he MUST play his best game to date this week. Leonard needs to be accurate with his passes and dangerous with his legs. Make Kansas be nervous about him getting out of the pocket and hitting a receiver while he’s on the run or taking off altogether. Most of all, take care of the ball and don’t turn it over.
The left tackle will spend most of his day going up against Lonnie Phelps, who has three sacks and five tackles-for-loss from his defensive end spot. Barton needs to win this battle in order to give Leonard time to get the ball to Duke’s talented receiving corps. Phelps spending a lot of time in the backfield is going to equate into a difficult day for the Blue Devils offense.
Blow up the middle. Carter and his fellow defensive tackles must blow up the middle as they have done in all three games so far. By doing so, it will pretty much disrupt just about everything done by the Kansas offense.
He needs to be the Jaylon Stinson that has gotten him recognized nationally for his play. The safety, who is the team’s second-leading tackler, has seemingly been everywhere this season. He’ll need to be strong in run support and bring his usual physical style. If the Jayhawks’ elusive quarterback, Jalon Daniels, gets into the open field, Stinson can’t miss on an opportunity to make the tackle. Be the Jaylon Stinson we’ve seen to this point in the season.
Discipline. Stay disciplined if Daniels starts running around looking for a receiver. Young and the other defensive backs can’t get caught looking in the backfield, lose sight of their receiver, and give up a big play. Stay disciplined and don’t get mesmerized by Daniels.
Despite the opinion of others, I think the Blue Devils have an excellent chance to come away with a win Saturday. If these five play very well, it is going to greatly enhance that chance.