Some final thoughts and notes from South Dakota State’s 31-17 loss at Kansas on Saturday night:
One of the three buses that was carrying SDSU players back to Brookings after the game broke down. It caused a roughly one-hour delay in arrival time.
This week will also be odd in terms of travel as the squad will be flying out of Watertown for Baton Rouge, La., due to runway construction in Sioux Falls.
While hiring Charlie Weis has energized the fan base, Kansas is without question a basketball school. To wit, the Journal-World paper in Lawrence didn’t have any stories about KU football in the Friday sports section, but it had a front-page piece about an upcoming campus visit by ballyhooed Virginia prep point guard Cat Barber.
“I would like to see (the fans) start to have a positive connection,” Weis said, “and part of that is playing well.”
James Bain, the new commissioner of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League, was at the game. Why? Because he’s a KU law student by day, and helps out in the sports information department.
SDSU senior LB Ross Shafrath made 16 tackles, a career high and the most by anybody since Mike Lien made 18 stops in a 2010 contest.
Who would have thought that neither all-conference receiver Aaron Rollin nor the multiple tight ends would end Week 1 without any catches? The senior Rollin had made at least one catch in 21 consecutive games dating back to 2009.
SDSU ran for 204 yards and scored 17 points at Kansas after totaling 211 yards and 19 points in its last three guarantee games (Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota).
Although he graded special teams as a whole as horrendous, Jacks coach John Stiegelmeier more specifically was upset with allowing two punt blocks. He is in charge of that unit.
The first block happened because one defender ran untouched to punter Ethan Sawyer. The second was a case of a rusher beating a blocker with speed around the end.
Stiegelmeier was also bummed about the punt-return unit - Dom Wright looked tentative back there – but lauded the kick-coverage team, which didn’t allow any returns.
If you haven’t already, watch the video I posted from the postgame press conference. It doesn’t take a genius to see why the SDSU staff likes redshirt freshman Eric Kline. He handled being taken out of the game somewhat unexpectedly as well as he handled being thrust into the starting lineup. Plenty of poise.
Senior Bradley McDougald, the Kansas safety who came up with two interceptions in the opener, initially committed to Ohio State only to have the offer rescinded after some off-field issues. He began his college career as a receiver and is now considered KU’s best pro prospect. CBSSports.com ranks him 16th among draft-eligible safeties.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.