Kansas soccer — sure, Kansas soccer — is absolutely, actually 3-0

Duke (3-0) will play at Kansas (3-0) in American soccer subsequent Saturday with some concentrate on a coach with a 10-letter surname starting with “K” in order that gamers name him “Coach K.” You aren’t having a cranial episode that ought to make you surprise in case you want extra kale. You aren’t having an REM dream during which all of the flawed persons are in all of the flawed locations and the scoreboard malfunctions.

You’re following school soccer, which lengthy has reserved the knack for displaying the hallucinogenic, however which has spent this September going particularly, giddily misshapen. You would possibly even reckon the switch portal has made cohesion much less attainable and outcomes extra unpredictable, and never simply in beautiful Boone, N.C., the place Appalachian State spent Sept. 10 getting a whoa of a win at Texas A&M and Sept. 17 getting a whoa of a win over Troy on a 53-yard Hail Daniel Boone on the final play, a hail even nuttier than most hails.

No, on the prime of the surrealism heap, there’s an exciting Kansas going 3-0 with street wins at — what? — West Virginia and Houston, with the nation’s ninth-best offense in yards per play (7.55), and a charismatic quarterback with mild in his eyes and 11 receivers in his newest field rating.

Kansas stands 3-0. Yeah, there’s din up in Seattle — thank goodness, for the soccer nation wants din up in Seattle — with switch quarterback Michael Penix Jr. wanting like some gobsmacking drive in a 39-28 wrecking of No. 11 Michigan State, and with folks barking within the stands, however Kansas stands 3-0 with wins at West Virginia and Houston.

Yeah, Notre Dame confronted 0-3 however then beat California, 24-17, when a bonkers final Cal cross caromed off a falling receiver ultimately zone as he tried like an REM dream to know it, however did you discover Kansas stands 3-0 with wins at West Virginia and Houston?

Yeah, Missouri State went to No. 10 Arkansas, and former Fayetteville resident and scandal-maker Bobby Petrino coaches Missouri State these days, and Missouri State led 17-0 within the second quarter and 27-17 within the fourth, and the treasurable coach Sam Pittman of Arkansas mentioned, “He had his kids better-prepared than I did,” and Arkansas received, 38-27, partly as a result of Bryce Stephens wreaked a pant of an 82-yard punt return and mentioned, “It was a blackout moment” — however how about that Kansas?

Yeah, Southern California sits 3-0 underneath Lincoln Riley and appears like Southern California must … and Penn State sits 3-0 underneath James Franklin and appears like Penn State must after ransacking Auburn at Auburn … and Southern Illinois misplaced to Incarnate Phrase (64-29) and Southeast Missouri State (34-31) however then received at Northwestern … and Bowling Inexperienced misplaced 59-57 in seven overtimes to Jap Kentucky however then received 34-31 in extra time over Marshall which had simply overwhelmed Notre Dame … and Kansas State had it going till 14-point underdog Tulane got here to city (a 17-10 brain-teaser) … and Syracuse and Purdue performed one thing incomprehensible to the human thoughts … and there’s simply an excessive amount of of all this … however goodness, Kansas.

Syracuse, Appalachian State get wild wins (school soccer winners and losers)

Since 2010, when Mark Mangino had completed a tenure at lowly Kansas that stretched actuality to boast an Orange Bowl win that also would possibly get scrubbed from information as obvious farce, Kansas had gone 23-118, 5 losses from being subterranean by 100. It had not received greater than thrice in any season. It had labored someplace beneath obscurity via 4 extra coaches as much as Les Miles, who left in late winter 2021 amid a scandal, and in case you’re going to have a scandal, couldn’t you a minimum of have some wins to justify it? In any other case, Kansas had gained word just for beautiful eccentricities like a student crocheting amid vacant stands throughout a recreation. Its six residence attendances final season ranged from 23,117 and 30,611 (for Kansas State).

In has come to second-year head coach Lance Leipold, a reputation well-known to individuals who pay an excessive amount of consideration to all this lunacy. From 2007 to 2014 at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, Leipold had gone 109-6 with six nationwide titles, so you realize followers grumbled in regards to the two nontitle years. Leipold then went 37-33 with two bowl wins in six seasons at Buffalo, and now he’s doing issues like sitting round postgame in Morgantown and saying, “I think our depth is starting to show.”

“Kansas” and “depth” in the identical sentences could make the eyelids wiggle.

He mentioned in Morgantown, “This is a group that’s been bruised mentally a lot, and they’re starting to gain some confidence and believe in one another.”

Is there any higher motive to comply with sports activities?

He mentioned in Houston, “You can see how proud they are, saw how happy they are. We’re talking about having a chance going into these games, like saying, ‘Stop hoping to win and find a way to win.’”

In flip, West Virginia and Houston followers had an opportunity going into these video games, like saying, “But we already had chalked up a win here before opening kickoff.”

Kansas has this offense, a soccer offense, which Matt Tait of the Lawrence Journal World calls “imaginative, electric and a whole lot of fun.” It has trailed West Virginia and Houston each 14-0, a intelligent technique to instill complacency. It has as coordinator Andy Kotelnicki, who has joined Leipold in Wisconsin, New York and Kansas by now, and whose surname has 4 syllables to Mike Krzyzewski’s three, all of the extra motive for the lingual comfort “Coach K.”

“‘Coach K’ puts a big emphasis on trying to distort the defense,” quarterback Jalon Daniels mentioned, “and I feel like those running backs that we have out there allow us to be able to distort defenses because they don’t know who’s going to have the ball at the end of the play.”

Hailing from the oft-overlooked hamlet of Lawndale, tucked within the Higher Los Angeles sprawl, and quarterbacking the oft-overlooked hamlet of Kansas soccer amid the nationwide school soccer sprawl, Daniels now tells of “the amount of smiling and excitement that my teammates have.” He says, “I felt like we did a good job of distorting today,” and he meant the Houston protection however might have meant the American soccer brains.

He even mentioned of 1 play that appeared to reflect one other, “It was technically the same play, but it wasn’t the same play,” and people minds addled with American soccer might nod in understanding as he laughed at that and mentioned, “Like I said, Coach (K) does a lot of distortion with his offense.”

Perhaps that distortion will help Memorial Stadium strategy its capability of 47,000 come Saturday. Perhaps the followers will really feel prefer it’s a heyday given they’re additionally reveling within the males’s basketball program as reigning nationwide champions. Perhaps they’ll even enjoy how madcap a sport will be when the ball doesn’t bounce the identical method each time you drop it.

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