LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Jordan Webb threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, and Kansas, flashing the improved speed coach Turner Gill had promised, beat McNeese State 42-24 Saturday night in a season opener delayed almost 25 minutes by rain.
JaCorey Shepherd caught three passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He went 56 yards for one score and then, after getting wide open on a fourth-and-3 play in the fourth quarter, hauled in a 48-yard pass for another.
The Jayhawks looked snappy and much faster than last year, when they struggled to a 3-9 finish in Gill's first season, beginning with a shocking 6-3 loss to Division II North Dakota State.
Webb, who started seven games in an injury-marred 2010 season, attempted only 10 passes, but completed seven for 146 yards.
Pierson, a true freshman, went 47 yards on his first carry to set up a touchdown and 13 yards into the end zone the second time he touched the ball. He had 73 yards on five carries.
After getting stopped cold on their first possession, the Jayhawks went 84 yards in eight plays on their second, with Webb hitting Daymond Patterson on a 25-yard scoring pass following Sims' 30-yard scamper up the middle.
The Jayhawks took a 21-3 lead into halftime following Sims' 1-yard touchdown run and Pierson's 13-yard carry out of a wildcat formation.
The Cowboys scored on their first possession of the second half, rolling 76 yards in 12 plays. Stroud flipped a short pass to Champlain Babin, who got two excellent blocks while going into the end zone. Babin had five catches for 108 yards.
The Jayhawks answered with Shepherd's 56-yard catch-and-run. Shepherd and Kale Pick seemed to be running the same route, and both had their hands up. But Shepherd, a couple of steps behind Pick, was the one who pulled in the ball.
McNeese State's Dodge, on fourth-and-14, found a wide-open Wes Briscoe for a 32-yard scoring pass in the third quarter. Then back came the Jayhawks, with Sims getting a short touchdown run for a 35-16 lead early in the fourth.
Stroud connected with Babin on a 60-yard pass play, then got into the end zone two plays later. He hit Damion Dixon for a two-point conversion that made the score 35-24 with 8:32 to go before Webb hooked up with Shepherd on another long scoring pass.
Daryl Gross, who spent a decade as Syracuse's athletic director, will start as Division II Cal State-Los Angeles' AD in July.
Freshman DB Chad Clay didn't last long with the Georgia football team, as the Bulldogs dismissed him following a second arrest in the past four months.
Brenda Tracy, who allegedly was sexually assaulted by four men, including two Oregon State players, in 1998 spoke Wednesday to the Nebraska football team.
A man who claims he told Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in 1976 that he was sexually abused as a teen by Jerry Sandusky asked a judge Wednesday to protect his identity and limit questions.
FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman joins The Paul Finebaum Show to share his thoughts on the upcoming National Championship race.
Urban Meyer, Thad Matta and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith were among the crowd at the parade for the Cleveland Cavliers on Wednesday.
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