Freshman running back Shaun Wilson broke the school single-game rushing record with 245 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead Duke past Kansas, 41-3, Saturday in non-conference action at Wallace Wade Stadium. Head coach David Cutcliffe’s squad improved to 3-0 with the victory, marking the program’s best start since the 1994 season.
Wilson broke Robert Baldwin’s school record of 238 yards rushing on the final play of the game. Baldwin set the school standard in a 49-16 win over Maryland in the opening game of the 1994 season. Wilson’s 245 yards came on just 12 carries, good for a 20.4 yards per rush average. Wilson’s 252 all-purpose yards rank as the 12th-most in a single game in school history and the second-most by a Duke freshman.
Junior wide receiver Max McCaffrey added seven receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns to highlight a balanced attack by the Blue Devils. Duke outgained the Jayhawks 511-297 in the win and recorded 30-plus points for the third consecutive game.
The defense did its part in forcing two turnovers and limiting Kansas to just 17 first downs and only 95 yards through the air. Jeremy Cash headlined the unit with 12 tackles and a half of a sack. David Helton added 11 tackles, while Jonathan Jones picked up his first sack of the 2014 campaign. The 297 yards for the Kansas offense are the fewest Duke has allowed an opponent this season.
After forcing the Jayhawks into a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, quarterback Anthony Boone led the Blue Devils 60 yards down the field to get on the scoreboard. Boone connected with redshirt senior Issac Blakeney twice on the drive and tossed a 36-yard scoring strike to McCaffrey for the junior wideout’s first touchdown reception of the season.
Redshirt sophomore DeVon Edwards recorded Duke’s first turnover of the year on Kansas’ ensuing possession, intercepting the ball at the Jayhawks’ 40-yard line to set up a 20-yard field goal by junior Ross Martin. The back-to-back scoring drives put the Blue Devils up 10-0 at the 7:13 mark in the first quarter.
Following another three-and-out by Kansas, Wilson took off on a 69-yard touchdown run. Wilson’s 69-yard burst tied for the second-longest rush by a rookie in program history. The Jayhawks had a 58-yard drive cut short on a quarterback hurry by Cash, resulting in a 34-yard field goal from Matthew Wyman which put the visiting squad on the board at 17-3.
In the first quarter, the Blue Devils outgained Kansas by a 166-73 yard margin.
Redshirt freshman Evrett Edwards hauled in the first interception of his career at the beginning of the second quarter and Martin capped the 16-yard drive with his second field goal of the day to extend Duke’s lead to 20-3.
The Blue Devils totaled 211 yards of offense in the first half while the defense forced two turnovers and held the visiting Jayhawks to just eight first downs and one field goal in the first 30 minutes.
Duke widened its lead late in the third quarter, as McCaffrey picked up his career-best second touchdown reception of the day on a 10-yard throw from Boone. Wilson then scampered 68 yards for his second touchdown of the game, bringing the score to 34-3. Wilson became just the second player in Duke history to log two rushes of 68 yards or more in a game and the only Blue Devil to do so as a freshman.
Wilson picked up where he left off in the fourth quarter, notching his third score on a 45-yard run with 3:57 remaining.
Boone finished 19-of-33 with 180 yards passing and two touchdowns. It marks the second straight game Boone threw for a pair of touchdowns and pushes his career touchdown passes total to 26.
The Blue Devils return to Wallace Wade Stadium next Saturday, Sept. 20 to host Tulane at 12:30 p.m. The contest will be televised by the Regional Sports Networks (RSN).