Kansas Vs. South Dakota State: Inside The Numbers

Sep 1, 2012; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks halfback Tony Pierson (3) rushes for a touchdown against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the second half at Memorial Stadium. Kansas won the game 31-17. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Kansas kicked off the season with a new coaching staff, a host of new players and renewed expectations surrounding the program. Some of those expectations were met, in some areas Kansas might have fallen short and perhaps on some level those expectations were premature. Either way the Jayhawks pulled out a week on win and they start the season 1-0. That's one better than the last go around when Kansas experienced a change two seasons ago.

24 - 0 - Kansas scoring run after falling behind 7-0 on a 99 yard touchdown run by South Dakota State.

Kansas took a punch in the mouth early and it was all to reminiscent of some of the defensive deficiencies over the past two seasons. Fortunately the Jayhawks responded gradually and put themselves in a position to have this game in a fairly comfortable position heading into the fourth quarter.

5.5 - Yards per carry for the Kansas ground attack.

If Kansas can average 5.5 yards per carry in any game it will go a long way toward giving the Jayhawks a chance to win. If you take away some of the short yardage struggles through the first two and a half quarters this number is even more impressive. By the middle of the third you could see the Kansas offensive line start to wear down SDSU, but early on the Jackrabbits were selling out against the run in many situations and they did a decent job containing Kansas between the tackles. Kansas certainly won the battle, but it could have and maybe should have been even more impressive.

3.28 - Yards per carry for SDSU if you take away the 99 yard run in the 1st quarter.

That's a pretty good number for Kansas and speaks to the improved push by the defensive line. SDSU had some big bodies on the offensive line and they have experience so they were certainly hoping to run the ball effectively early on. Kansas forced them into a pass first offense in the second half and made some opportunistic plays late in the game to secure the win.

34.8 - Net yards per kickoff for Kansas

This is a concern. The new rules are geared toward touchbacks and forcing teams to start at the 25. If you can't kick it in the endzone or choose not to, you better be able to cover. Kansas didn't do a great job in that department on Saturday night.

47 and 39 - Long runs of the night for Tony Pierson and Taylor Cox

Both of these were achieved in different ways. Get Pierson to the second level and he can make it look like he's toying with an opponent. Cox used a tough running style and a pair of really strong stiff arms to grind out his 39 yard run that started up the middle and bounced to the edge. Figure out how to use these two in complimentary roles and it could be a very good one-two punch.

25 - The number of tackles that involved a member of the defensive secondary.

This number is more than any other single unit on the field. Based on how that occurred, it probably isn't a good thing. Yes some of those tackles occurred because of aggressive playcalling, but you would hope the linebackers would be more involved than your corners and safeties.

6 - Tackles for a loss by either the Kansas defensive line or a linebacker.

This number isn't huge, but it certainly felt like a small improvement. I"m not sure our line or linebackers spent any time behind the line of scrimmage last season.

8:11 and 14 Points - Time of possession and points in the 3rd quarter.

Everything always seemed to fall apart in the 3rd quarter last year despite our attempts at practicing halftime. Kansas showed quite a bit of life in the 3rd quarter this week and they did that with their backs against the wall just a bit. Improved conditioning? Coaching? Increased confidence? or just an inferior opponent? Time will tell.

5 of 17 (6 of 20) - 3rd down conversions (3rd and 4th down conversions)

Kansas converted less than a third of their 3rd or 4th down opportunities. What's troubling is that many of those were short yardage situations and the Jayhawks couldn't run the ball for the yard or two they needed. Something to keep an eye on.

KU49 KU38 - 1st and 2nd half average field position.

This was big. Kansas won this battle all night long and it made life difficult for SDSU.

2004 - The last time Kansas recorded multiple blocked kicks in a game

This happened in 2004 against Oklahoma State

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