Scores

Final

South Dakota St 17

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Kansas 31

(1-0, 1-0 home)

7:00 PM ET, September 1, 2012

Memorial Stadium (Lawrence, KS), Lawrence, KS

1 2 3 4 T
SDSU 7 0 0 1017
KU 7 3 14 731

Top Performers

Passing: D. Crist (KU) - 169 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: Z. Zenner (SDSU) - 23 CAR, 183 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Kool (SDSU) - 8 REC, 76 YDS, 1 TD

Kansas launches Charlie Weis era with victory

Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Tony Pierson rushed for two touchdowns, Dayne Crist connected with former Notre Dame teammate Mike Ragone on a short touchdown pass, and Kansas launched the Charlie Weis era Saturday night with a 31-17 victory over South Dakota State.

Weis, a winner of three Super Bowls as a key assistant coach at New England and former head coach at Notre Dame, brings his considerable prestige to a program that won just five games the previous two seasons and ranked dead last in defense among major colleges last year.

His first game started with a jolt. Zach Zenner gave the Jackrabbits a 7-0 lead with a school-record 99-yard run.

Crist, who was recruited to Notre Dame by Weis and played for him until Weis was fired in 2009, was 17 of 36 for 169 yards. Pierson rushed for 124 yards and scored on runs of 3 and 47 yards.

The Jayhawks held a 24-7 lead with 5:29 left in the third after Crist tossed a 2-yard TD pass to tight end Ragone. But the Jackrabbits scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter on Austin Sumner's 22-yard scoring pass to Tyler Kool and Justin Syrovatka's 25-yard field goal.

After Kansas' second possession, Ben Heeney downed a punt on the South Dakota State 1, putting huge pressure on the Jackrabbit offense.

But Zenner, who won the starting running back job in spring training, popped through a big hole up the middle, brushed off one would-be tackler and unfurled the longest run in South Dakota State's 115-year football history. Safety Bradley McDougald gave chase but stayed about 5 yards behind the 215-pound Zenner as they sprinted down the field.

Crist, just two days short of one year since he last started a game for Notre Dame, showed poise and a strong arm. On the initial play of the game, he hooked up with a wide open Kale Pick for a 43-yard gain. But on third-and-8 from the 17, he overthrew Ragone in the end zone and then Ron Doherty missed a 35-year-old field goal attempt. Crist, who earned his degree in management at Notre Dame in December, overthrew receivers in the end zone three times before Kansas settled for a 10-7 halftime lead.

Pierson boosted the lead to 17-7 when he bolted up the middle, juked defensive back Bo Helm and scored on a 47-yard run.

McDougald had two interceptions for the Jayhawks.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SDSU
KU
1st Downs1822
Total Yards411432
Passing207169
Rushing204263
Penalties3-255-45
3rd Down Conversions3-145-17
4th Down Conversions0-21-3
Turnovers52
Possession27:5632:04

Passing Leaders

South Dakota StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Sumner14/311755.614
KansasC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Crist17/361694.711

Rushing Leaders

South Dakota StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Zenner231838.0199
Kline9283.1013
KansasCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pierson201246.2247
Cox161217.6139

Receiving Leaders

South Dakota StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hubert48320.8042
Kool8769.5122
KansasRECYDSAVGTDLG
Pick58116.2043
Patterson44411.0014

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSDSUKU
TD08:33Zach Zenner 99 Yd Run (Justin Syrovatka Kick) 70
TD00:06Tony Pierson 3 Yd Run (Ron Doherty Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERSDSUKU
FG05:05Ron Doherty 22 Yd 710
THIRD QUARTERSDSUKU
TD10:22Tony Pierson 47 Yd Run (Ron Doherty Kick) 717
TD05:29Mike Ragone 2 Yd Pass From Dayne Crist (Ron Doherty Kick) 724
FOURTH QUARTERSDSUKU
TD12:52Tyrel Kool 22 Yd Pass From Austin Sumner (Justin Syrovatka Kick) 1424
FG08:39Justin Syrovatka 25 Yd 1724
TD05:36Taylor Cox 3 Yd Run (Ron Doherty Kick) 1731