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 for 36 for 169 yards. Pierson rushed for 124 yards and scored on runs of 3 and 47 yards.
Marian High School grad Reilly Jeffers started at long snapper as a walk-on freshman and had a successful debut, that included a tackle on a punt.