New starting quarterback Dayne Crist had an okay debut for Kansas in the Jayhawks 31-17 win over South Dakota State. Crist completed 17-36 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown to go with one interception. Though the real reason for the win was the Kansas rushing attack.
Top running back from last season, James Sims was suspended for the first three games of this season after a DUI arrest back in April. Backups Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox proved their worth on Saturday.
Pierson made 20 rushes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He broke open a close game early in the third quarter with a 47-yard touchdown. Cox rushed 16 times for 121 yards and one touchdown. Cox crossed the goal-line in the fourth quarter when the game was still in question, pushing the Jayhawks to the 14-point lead.
The Jayhawks secondary made some big plays in the win. Senior safety Bradley McDougald picked off two of Austin Sumner’s passes. Cornerbacks Tyler Patmon and Corrigan Powell both made interceptions in addition to McDougald’s interceptions.
South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner shined for the Jackrabbits in the loss. Zenner rushed 23 times for 183 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown run in the first quarter giving South Dakota State a 7-0 lead.
Kansas hosts Rice next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. central time. Rice lost to UCLA, 49-24 on Thursday night to open the season.
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