Jayhawks throttle Aggies, 42-16

On a night when stormy skies buffeted the playing field at Memorial Stadium with a consistent wind and steady rain in the early going, it was Jayhawks sophomore wide receiver D.J. Beshears who provided the lightning.

More utility offensive player than a true wide receiver, the compact speedster punched in a pair of touchdowns on the ground and added a third – a spectacular 96-yard kickoff return – before the end of the second quarter in Kansas' Saturday night match-up with the Aggies of New Mexico State.

Earlier this week, Head Coach Turner Gill said they wanted to try to find ways to get Beshears in position to utilize his playmaking abilities.

Good plan.

His first score was also the Jayhawks' first of the game, coming with 58 seconds on the clock in the first quarter. The 10-yard scamper off a designed draw capped a three play, 88-yard drive.

After the Aggies answered with a scoring drive of their own at the start of the second quarter, Beshears exploded through a seam on the ensuing return and raced down the sideline for his second score of the game.

"I saw the hole open up right when Bradley hit the hole," he said. "Right after that, I guess the kicker like (had his legs cut out) and I just saw daylight after that."

The touchdown return was the first for the Jayhawks since Dezmon Briscoe went 98 yards against Texas last season, and tied for the eighth-longest in school history.

Following a three-and-out on NMSU's next series, the Jayhawks engineered an eight play, 53-yard drive punctuated by Beshears' third score of the evening – a seven-yard plunge with 9:29 left in the half.

The offense would stall for the rest of the quarter, but the Jayhawks' defense held firm, forcing two three-and-outs and a punt on the Aggies' final possession of the half.

The third quarter was more of the same, as the Kansas offense utilized a powerful running attack to move the ball up and down the field almost at will – this time riding the legs of freshman sensation James Sims. Relatively quiet in the first half, Sims exploded after intermission, rumbling for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Now a fixture in the offensive backfield for three games, Sims appears to be growing more comfortable with each carry. His final stat line included 16 carries for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Webb quietly turned in his best performance of 2010, completing 17-of-27 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. A play-action pass on fourth-and-goal from the NMSU two-yard line left junior tight end Tim Biere all alone in the endzone, putting the Jayhawks up 35-7 at the end of the third quarter.

The play put the finishing touch on a 99-yard, 17-play masterpiece of a scoring drive.

"I think that just shows execution," Gill said, of the drive. "Again, they made plays when they had to. We had guys that when the ball was in their hands, they didn't make some plays. But obviously Patterson and Jordan Webb doing some good things of that nature, and then James Sims made some good runs."

The Aggies tacked on a pair of scores in the fourth a touchdown (missed the PAT) and a field goal, but the game had already been decided. The Jayhawks added their final score, a Sims touchdown run from 11 yards out, with 10:01 remaining in the game.

With the 42-16 victory, the Jayhawks move to 2-2, and enter conference play on a much-needed high note.

"I feel better," Gill said. "No doubt about it, we still have some work to do. I feel good about us going into conference play. Obviously, coming in with a win is a good situation for us, but we still have some things to improve on."

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