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It wasn't the prettiest win in the world, but Charlie Weis and the Kansas Jayhawks will take it.
In Weis' coaching debut with Kansas, the Jayhawks edged out South Dakota State University, winning 31-17.
Kansas' defense allowed a 99 yard touchdown run to South Dakota St. running back Zach Zenner, giving the Jackrabbits an early 7-0 lead.
Kansas' defense responded, though. Senior defensive end Toben Opurum spoke of Kansas' mental toughness following SDSU's touchdown run.
"I think something like that proves how much stronger we've gotten mentally. We wanted to keep him down there, but he was able to break loose. We managed to come back and get a couple stops, and we ended up winning the game. I think that shows how far we've progressed as a team - the fact that something like that could happen in a game and we were able to bounce back.
For the latest on all things Kansas Jayhawks, head over to Rock Chalk Talk and join the discussion.
Kansas Jayhawks head football coach Charlie Weis was a winner in his debut with Kansas, as the Jayhawks defeated South Dakota St., 31-17, on Saturday.
As a typical Bill Belichick disciple, Weis had plenty to criticize, but unlike Belichick, Weis offered a bit of detail and insight into what he saw out of the Jayhawks -- specifically Dayne Crist.
"There were some throws out there he'd like to have back and he was a little rusty. But to be honest with you, he was a little anxious. Remember, he went all year last year without playing. He got yanked in the first game last year, so he hasn't played in a long time. I think that he'll just get better every single week. I think he feels really good that he was walking off the field healthy, slowing it down a bunch. Some of it is his fault, some of it is other's guys fault, but I think we're pretty happy right now."
Crist was one of Weis' recruits when Weis was the head coach at Notre Dame, so there is some familiarity between the two.
Crist finished Saturday's game 17-of-36 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown.
For the latest on the Jayhawks, head over to Rock Chalk Talk and join the discussion.
The Charlie Weis era in Kansas opened on a positive note after the Jayhawks dispatched South Dakota State 31-17 on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS.
South Dakota jumped to an early 7-0 lead after Zach Kenner raced for a 99-yard touchdown run just six minutes into the game, with Kansas going on to score 24 unanswered points to take a commanding lead into the fourth quarter. Ten points by the Jackrabbits would threaten Kansas with the notion of an upset before Taylor Cox put the game away with a 3-yard run with 5:36 remaining.
The Jayhawks would struggle containing the South Dakota offense, allowing 411 total yards in the game including 204 yards on the ground.
Kansas QB Dane Crist was up and down in the game, going 17-of-36 for 169 yards, with one touchdown and one intereception. Tony Peirson would lead the Jayhawks rushing attack, putting up 124 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns.
The Charlie Weis era for the Kansas Jayhawks is not off to a strong start, as they are in a battle against FCS South Dakota State and lead only 10-7. South Dakota State scored first on a 99-yad touchdown run by Zach Zenner to take an early 7-0 lead.
The Kanas rush defense has been a sore spot on Saturday. They have allowed 189 yards, with 164 given up to Zenner. The Jayhawks rebounded in the late in the first quarter where they scored 10 straight points to go ahead by three at the half.
The touchdown for Kansas came on a seven-play, 74-yard drive on a Tony Pierson 3-yard touchdown run. Pierson has been a bright spot for the Jayhawks; he has 61 yards in the first half and his running back mate Taylor Cox has 53 yards on just seven carries.
The Jayhawks' other score was a 22-yard field goal by Ron Doherty to give Kansas their first lead of the game.
The Jayhawks open the 2012 season on Saturday night against South Dakota State at 6:06 p.m. CT at Memorial Stadium. AT&T Jackhawk Access has a live stream if you can't catch it on television.
Also, Rock Chalk Talk provided some analysis for the injury report on both teams. View it here:
The big one to watch for SDSU is the possible injury to QB Austin Sumner. Yes the backup is said to be a serviceable and effective replacement. Yes the backup is a different type of player. Yes this could be gamesmanship. But if it's not, it matters.
On the Kansas side of the ball keep an eye on the right tackle position and any snaps we might see from Riley Spencer. That could be our first indication as to his health and where Gavin Howard truly sits in the rotation. Also watch for Anthony McDonald. It doesn't sound promising that he would play, but if all goes well could we possibly see him take a few snaps?
With the kickoff for Saturday's game between the Kansas Jayhawks and South Dakota State Jackrabbits imminent, a new era of Jayhawks football begins.
Saturday represents the debut game with Charlie Weis as head coach and at the helm of the Kansas offense will be senior Dayne Crist in his first season with KU. Nearly five years after Crist decided to join Weis as a quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the two are reunited in Kansas and the 22-year old quarterback will have the opportunity to jump start his once very promising career.
Standing in the way of his first victory are the SDSU Jackrabbits of the FCS's Missouri Valley Football Conference, certainly an underdog in Saturday's matchup.
Game time/date: 6 p.m. CT, Saturday
Location: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, KS
TV Schedule/Streaming: Jayhawk Network; Metro Sports - Kansas City; WIBW 13 (CBS) - Topeka; MY TV - Wichita
It's been a long road for Dayne Crist since he was a Parade All-American and the No. 3 QB in the country as a high school senior in 2008.
After signing with Charlie Weis at Notre Dame, the 6'4, 235 Californian looked poised to become the latest in a growing line of Fighting Irish QB's -- Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen -- that Weis had sent to the NFL.
Instead, Crist struggled with injuries, Weis was fired and his replacement (Brian Kelly) never warmed to the previous regime's recruit. Now, after graduating from Notre Dame and transferring to Kansas to be re-united with his old coach, Crist has is grateful for one more chance to make his mark in college football as a 22-year old fifth-year senior.
"Not nervous, (I'm) very anxious, very excited. I just can't wait," Crist said when asked about the Jayhawks opener against South Dakota State. "I haven't been this happy or this excited in a long time. I'm just so grateful and so thankful for the opportunity. I just can't wait to go out there and compete with my teammates."
He has a better pedigree than almost any signal caller to come through Lawrence in a very long time, so he won't be the only one excited to see what he can do in 2012.
Most teams would be preparing for a slam dunk with a team like South Dakota State as the season opener, but head coach Charlie Weis stressed in Tuesday's press conference that his team isn't overconfident.
"We just lost 100 in a row," Weis said. "I don't think there's any overconfidence on our part. I think we're just trying to win one and the one we're trying to win is this one."
The 100 in a row Weis is referring to is the Jayhawks streak of 10 straight losses to close out their 2-10 2011 season. Additionally, loyal fans surely still have visions of the 2010 season opener in the somewhere in their head (a 6-3 defeat against North Dakota State in another game that was intended to be a confidence booster).
With all that in mind, it's actually makes more sense for the Jayhawks to be a tad nervous more than anything. But Weis assured the media that he's going to set the tone with by keeping his cool.
"I do most of my yelling in practice," Weis said. "I reserve most of my yelling on game days for officials because they deserve it, and then for somebody that does something stupid, like getting a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct."
Weis is hoping that if he stays calm, cool and collected, his players will follow in his footsteps.
"I think that even if they are nervous, which I'm sure there will be a fair amount of that, they usually follow your lead."
The Jayhawks open the season this Saturday at 6:00 pm CT against the SDSU Jackrabbits.