The Charlie Weis era could not have started out any better for the Kansas Jayhawks. The first half was closely contested, but Kansas came out firing to start the second half. After leading 10-7, the Jayhawks had a big rushing touchdown and a nice passing touchdown in the third quarter to increase their lead to 24-7. South Dakota State tried to come back, but the Jayhawks had another rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter to hold off the Jackrabbits.
It was not only the start of the Charlie Weis era in Lawrence, but it was also the beginning of the Dayne Crist era at quarterback. Crist started his first game at Kansas after spending his last three years at Notre Dame. Crist had a strong showing in his Jayhawk debut. On his first play of the game, he threw a pass to Kale Pick which went for a 43-yard gain.
Crist finished the game with 169 yards on seventeen completions, one touchdown, and one interception.
Kansas also got a ton of help from their two-headed rushing attack on Saturday. Both Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox had 15+ carries and 120+ rushing yards in their opening game of the 2012 season. Pierson finished the game with 124 rushing yards on twenty carries and a pair of touchdowns while Cox finished the game with 121 yards on sixteen carries and one touchdown.
All three of Kansas’ rushing touchdowns came at key points in the game. Pierson’s first touchdown came late in the first quarter to tie the game at seven and his second touchdown came in the third quarter to push the Jayhawks lead to 17-7. On the other hand, Cox’s touchdown came with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter to extend Kansas’ lead to 31-17.
The Kansas defense made life very difficult for South Dakota State’s starting quarterback, Austin Sumner. The Kansas defense forced Sumner to throw a total of four interceptions. Kansas’ Senior cornerback, Bradley McDougald, came up big as he had two of Kansas’ four interceptions.
The Jayhawks’ next game will be at home against the Rice Owls.
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