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Duke, Kansas collide in rare football game of significance

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NCAA Football: Kansas at Houston

Sep 17, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) runs with the ball during the third quarter against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It has almost everything you can ask for in a Duke-Kansas showdown.

Two teams on the rise with undefeated records.

And this time, it's a football game.

"They're playing with some inspiration," Kansas coach Lance Leipold said of the Jayhawks, who had 23 votes in the Top 25 poll to check in at No. 34 among vote-getters.

It was the first time since 2009 the Jayhawks' football team and Top 25 poll went hand-in-hand.

Both teams hold 3-0 marks, and Duke received two votes in the coaches' poll.

"We know we have a lot of work to do to get this thing ultimately where we want it to go," Duke coach Mike Elko said. "We certainly appreciate the buzz that is out there about what we are doing. But we know we are a work in progress and we're a group that has got to continue to work and continue to grind."

Last year, Duke pulled out a 52-33 home victory against Kansas. The Blue Devils didn't win again for the rest of the season. Duke has matched its 2021 win total.

For Kansas, the Jayhawks have exceeded their two-win total from a year ago. It's the team's first 3-0 start since 2009 and already Leipold is being linked to big-name jobs that are -- or could potentially become -- open.

"You can see things are starting to swing momentum-wise for us. I see a lot of resiliency in this group," Leipold said. "The biggest thing is: How are we going to handle it? There is still a lot of season to be played."

The Jayhawks have scored at least 48 points in each game this season, albeit using overtime to climb past that mark at West Virginia.

Much of that has come from quarterback Jalon Daniels, who accounted for five touchdowns in last week's win at Houston. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for two.

"The big picture for what he did for this team was really remarkable," Leipold said.

Duke quarterback Riley Leonard had a similar impact to Daniels on Saturday with two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns against North Carolina A&T.

Duke has relied on strong starts to games this season, outscoring its three foes by a combined 45-0 in the first quarters of games.

"We talk about controlling ourselves and how we come out of the locker room and not come out of the locker room trying to figure out what the game level is going to be like," Elko said. "We just come out of the locker room playing at a standard that meets us."

Receiver Jordan Moore of Duke converted from quarterback to receiver in the preseason. He has caught a touchdown pass in every game this year.

This will be the final nonconference game of the season for both teams.

--Field Level Media

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