Weis wisely predicted that if Kansas was too blowout South Dakota State, fans and media alike would agree, “Well, it’s just South Dakota State”.
But unfortunately we are having the opposite conversation as Kansas ended up handling the SDSU Jackrabbits late in the 4th quarter to seal a very underwhelming 31-17 victory Saturday in Lawrence.
Highly touted quarterback transfer Dayne Crist struggled to find the target on many occasions despite having solid mechanics and leading the offense efficiently. Luckily for the Jayhawks Crist got some much needed support from his backfield in the form of running backs Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox.
Both Cox and Pierson combined for 253 total yards on 36 carries (7-yard average) making Saturday the most productive day rushing the football of any Kansas team since 2007. On that day, RB’s Devin McAnderson and Jake Sharp each eclipsed the 100-yard mark against Central Michigan.
Midway through the 4th quarter it appeared SDSU was mounting a comeback after a 25-yard field goal brought the game within seven points with less than eight minutes to go. But on the very next offensive possession Taylor Cox rattled off several nice runs that resulted in Kansas’ final TD.
But it was the Kansas defense that kept the Jayhawks in this game. Besides an early first quarter 99-yard scamper from Jackrabbits running back Zach Zenner (186-yards on 23 carries), the Kansas defense made enough plays to give their offense the opportunity to gel in the 4th quarter.
There is no question that if this game would have been played against an FBS caliber program the Jayhawks likely would have found themselves in a winless battle in the 4th quarter. But let us not forget that this is a team that had not won a game in over 300 days.
In fact, Charlie Weis, Dave Campo, and Dayne Crist, the 3 biggest additions during the offseason, didn’t even arrive on campus till a little over 8-months ago. The fact that they walked out onto Kivisto Field expecting to win says a lot about how much this team has transformed.
“I’m never happy with the way a game turns out”, said Weis afterwards. “But the number one thing I’ve been talking about is playing hard for sixty minutes. It was far from a thing of beauty but I think it’s a good start.”
Kansas will get their next challenge when they host Rice Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Charlie Weis Postgame Press Conference: