LAWRENCE, Kan.—Six Kansas ball carriers combined to rush for 280 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Jayhawks to a 31-14, season-opening victory against the South Dakota Coyotes Saturday at Memorial Stadium. It was the first meeting between the two programs in 113 years.
KU senior running back James Sims carried 16 times for 94 yards and scored on runs of 1 and 6 yards. Sophomore Darrian Miller added 72 yards on 14 carries. Junior Brandon Bourbon capped the scoring with an 8-yard run with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter.
South Dakota's dual-threat quarterback Josh Vander Maten led the Coyotes (1-1) with 78 yards rushing and 67 yards passing. He threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to freshman Drew Potter to give the Coyotes a 7-0 lead with 2:18 left in the first quarter. His keeper from 9 yards away capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive and made it 24-14 with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter.
The two teams combined for 93 rushes and 18 complete passes. KU junior quarterback Jake Heaps was 10 for 20 for 110 yards. His 5-yard touchdown pass to Justin McCay gave the Jayhawks their first lead, 14-7, moments before halftime. Vander Maten threw a 37-yard pass to Tyson Graham Jr. during USD's scoring drive in the fourth quarter, but his seven other completions gained 30 yards.
A 29-yard punt return by Connor Embree set up a 9-yard touchdown drive that gave Kansas its 14-7 halftime lead. His 42-yard return set up Matthew Wyman's 45-yard field goal that made it 24-7 Jayhawks with 12:24 remaining. Embree had four punt returns for 92 yards.
South Dakota got seven tackles, three for loss, and a sack from linebacker Keyen Lage. Sean Bredl forced Sims to fumble two yards from the end zone and Coyote safety Aaron Swift recovered with the score tied at 7-7 with 3:25 to go before halftime. The Coyote offense failed to gain a first down after the turnover, and Embree's punt return set up the go-ahead score.
The Coyotes went 3-and-out on their first two possessions of the game, but drove 55 yards on nine plays to take a 7-0 lead. Vander Maten threw a 13-yard screen pass to Trevor Bouma to convert a 3rd-and-12 early in the drive. Vander Maten had runs of 11 and 13 yards and Jordan Roberts had a 14-yard carry before Potter hauled in his first collegiate reception.
Roberts finished with 73 yards on 13 carries. Bouma added 52 yards on 10 carries. The Coyotes gained 219 yards on the ground and have reached 200 yards rushing in both games this season.