LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The famous coach who's putting his considerable prestige on the line by coming to Kansas saw more than a simple win in Saturday night's 31-17 victory over South Dakota State.
"The effort was good. The performance had highs and lows," said Charlie Weis. "But as a coach, this is utopia. It really is. Because the guys are going to go out and enjoy themselves tonight. It's been a while. But on the flip side, there'll be so many things on the tape where you say, "What are we doing? What are we doing?' And that'll be true across the board."
Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox each rushed for more than 100 yards and Dayne Crist connected with former Notre Dame teammate Mike Ragone on a short touchdown pass to fuel the Jayhawks to victory in the opener of the much-anticipated Weis era.
Weis, a winner of three Super Bowls as a key assistant coach at New England and a former head coach at Notre Dame, is taking over a program that won only five games the previous two seasons under Turner Gill.
Weis started the Kansas chapter of his coaching career with a win, but a jolt. In the first quarter, Zach Zenner gave South Dakota State a 7-0 lead with a school-record 99-yard run.
Weis had turned to his offensive plays to map out a strategy for the short field he figured they would soon have.
"How do you score on a 99-yard run?" Weis said. "That's what I wanted to know."
Crist, who was recruited to Notre Dame by Weis and played for him until Weis was fired in 2009, was 17 for 36 for 169 yards, with one TD and one interception. Pierson rushed for 124 yards and scored on runs of 3 and 47 yards while Cox tallied 125 yards on 16 carries and scored on a 3-yard jaunt.