LAWRENCE, Kan (USD) — A pair of touchdown passes from Jason Bean to Lawrence Arnold carried Kansas past South Dakota 17-14 in a season-opening football game played Friday at Memorial Stadium.
The second of those connections from Bean to Arnold came with just 1:12 to go in the game, lifting the Jayhawks in front and enabling them to snap a 13-game losing streak.
The Coyotes had taken a 14-10 lead on a 25-yard touchdown run from Travis Thies, a Kansas native, that capped a quick three-play drive after a turnover on downs around midfield. Thies, who rushed 18 times for a career-high 96 yards, found the end zone with 5:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The drive had come after each team had failed to convert on a fourth-and-one situation, first for South Dakota on the Kansas 22-yard line and then the Jayhawks at their own 46-yard line.
The Coyotes had a game-tying field goal from Mason Lorber taken off the board with 9:13 left after a timeout was called, eventually leading to the decision to go for it on fourth down.
South Dakota, though, buckled down defensively to get its own fourth-down stop with 6:15 to play in the contest.
The Coyotes quickly converted as quarterback Carson Camp hit Kody Case for a 21-yard gain to the 25-yard line and Thies took over from there, juking his way through the defense to the end zone.
Kansas, though, calmly drove 64 yards on 11 plays to regain the lead as Arnold made a defender miss by the sideline and scooted into the end zone for the game-winning score. The Jayhawks converted a fourth-and-10 on the drive and avoided a fourth-and-four play inside the red zone after a USD personal foul.
South Dakota outgained the Jayhawks in the contest 263-245 as Camp completed 10 of 22 passes for 98 yards. Shomari Lawrence complemented Thies in the backfield with 59 yards on 11 carries and a 29-yard touchdown scamper that pulled the visitors within 10-7 with 3:31 to go in the third quarter.
Kansas snapped a scoreless deadlock with a touchdown right before halftime as Arnold caught an eight-yard reception with 24 ticks left before intermission.
Jack Cochrane led the South Dakota defense with 13 total tackles in the contest and had three of USD tackles-for-loss. Brock Mogensen added seven stops. Jacob Matthew had a sack to go with four tackles.
The Coyote defense was brilliant against its FBS counterparts. Kansas started the game with four 3-and-outs and didn’t record a first down until the second quarter.
The Jayhawks rushed 41 times for 82 yards. Bean led the attack with 54 yards. Running back Velton Gardner was bottled up to the tune of 21 yards on 19 carries. Credit the play of defensive linemen DeValon Whitcomb, Nick Gaes and Kansas native Brendan Webb who won their 1-on-1s more often than not.
The Coyotes return home to the DakotaDome next Saturday to host Northern Arizona in its home opener.