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Kansas vs South Dakota: Player Power Rankings

Kansas vs South Dakota: Player Power Rankings

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

1. Darrian Miller, RB

Saturday was his first game since 2011 and it didn't show. A nice complement to James Sims, Miller had 72 yards on 14 carries.

2. Keon Stowers, DL

FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN! But it was called off because of a block in the back. The interception — the first of his career at any level, he told reporters after the game — stood. He showed some shiftiness in eluding some tackles and picked up some blocks too on his 42-yard return. He also tallied four tackles.

3. James Sims, RB

Sims looked to be in midseason form galloping for 94 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He fumbled the ball at the South Dakota 4, but was getting hammered by Sean Bredl. It would have been difficult for anybody to hold on to the ball when they're getting punched in the gut.

4. Matthew Wyman, K

Might be too high for a kicker, but given the problems the Jayhawks have had the last two seasons with field goal kicking, it was nice to see one go through the uprights that wasn't a point after. He drilled his only attempt, — a 45-yard field goal — and was a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points.

5. Tony Pierson, WR/RB

Pierson's two catches for 32 yards led the Jayhawks, which isn't as bad as it sounds. (We'll get to Jake Heaps later). He also added 47 yards on the ground on five carries, good for 9.4 yards per carry. If anybody is going to break a big play, it's Pierson. He's the fastest player on the team and him being lined up as a flex allows him to get more touches.

6. Dexter Linton, Safety

Linton was second with seven tackles, but he led the Jayhawks with six solo tackles. Finally, somebody that wraps up his man.

7. Josh Ford, WR

Ford hauled in one catch for 22 yards, but it helped set up the Jayhawks' first score — a one-yard rush by Sims. Initially, the catch was ruled a touchdown, but was overturned after review and the ball was placed at the one. Ford also blocked a punt. It seemed to have little affect on the ball, but it up going 26 yards and gave the Jayhawks a short field to work with.  They eventually would go four-and-out and turned the ball over on downs at the 50.

8. Trevor Pardula, P

Pardula averaged 42.5 yards per punt on four attempts, three coming in the first half, with one landing inside the 15. He had a long of 46 yards.

9. Jake Heaps, QB

If you look at the box score, you'll see 10-for-20 next to Heaps' name and think that's not good. Truth be told, his receivers didn't do him any favors dropping at least four of the first seven attempts before completing his eighth to Sims. Heaps wasn't able to go through his reads in the pocked, because his line didn't give him enough time. He managed the game and didn't turn the ball over. He also threw a touchdown pass to Justin McCay, KU's first TD by a wide receiver since DJ Beshears scores on a 22-yard run against Iowa State on Nov. 5, 2011.

10. Conner Embree, RB

Embree, who saw his first game action since high school, will see limited time, if any, at running back, had four punt returns for 92 yards including a long of 42 yards that help set up Wyman's field goal.