News and Notes: South Dakota State

The University of Kansas will open their 123rd season Saturday night when the South Dakota State Jackrabbits hit town. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m., at the intersection of Fambrough and Fambrough. If you can't make it, it'll be on the Jayhawk IMG Television Network.

Saturday also marks the much-anticipated debut of new Kansas head coach Charlie Weis. He'll field a team that includes 46 letter-winners, including 12 starters, from the last season. Whether or not having 46 guys and 12 starters back from a 2-10 team remains to be seen.

KU added 27 signees to the roster in the off-season, including fifth-year transfers Dayne Crist (QB, Notre Dame), Anthony McDonald (LB, Notre Dame), Mike Ragone (TE, Notre Dame) and Josh Williams (DL, Nebraska).

• Kansas has an all-time record of 572-569-58 (.501 winning percentage).

• KU is 68-47-7 in season openers.

• This will be KU's 10th straight season opener played at home. The Jayhawks are 87-31-4 in season openers at home, including 7-2 over the last nine.

• KU has won 24 of its last 26 non-conference home games dating back to the start of the 2003 season.

• KU is 23-11 in its last 34 home games but just 2-4 in the friendly confines last season. Thanks, Turner.

• KU is 24-5 in its last 29 games against non-Big 12 opponents, including bowl victories against Houston (2005), Virginia Tech (2007 season) and Minnesota (2008).

• KU is 3-1 all time in games played on Sept. 1 with wins against Houston (1994), Missouri State (2001) and Central Michigan (2007). The loss came in 1990 at Virginia.

• Kansas has a 1-0 mark all-time against South Dakota State following an 86-6 win in Lawrence on October 11, 1947.

• New KU coach Charlie Weis was 35-27 in five seasons at his only other college head coaching gig, Notre Dame. He led the Irish to back-to-back BCS Bowl Games in 2005 and 2006.

• Weis coached 16 years in the NFL and picked up four Super Bowl rings for his trouble, three as the offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots (2001, 2003, 2004) and one as a defensive/special teams assistant with the New York Giants (1990).

• South Dakota State Head Coach John Stiegelmeier has led South Dakota State to a 93-72 record (.563) entering his 16th year there. SDSU has posted eight winning seasons in the last 10 years, including six of the school's first eight campaigns at the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) level. The Jackrabbits have had a winning record in 11 of Stiegelmeier's 15 years as head coach.

• The Jackrabbits return 16 starters — nine on offense, six on defense and one on special teams - from last year's squad that tied for fourth place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. They were picked sixth in the preseason.

• Sophomore QB Austin Sumner was named MVFC Freshman of the Year in 2011 after passing for 2,382 yards and 16 touchdowns.

• Senior NT Andy Mink returns as the leading tackler for the Jackrabbit defense. Mink made 75 tackles in 2011, including 8.5 TFLs for -40 yards. Mink also forced two fumbles and had 6.0 sacks for -31 yards.

• Captains for the 2012 season are QB Dayne Crist, LT Tanner Hawkinson and DE/LB Toben Opurum. All are seniors and Opurum is one of just 15 players at Kansas to be named a team captain for more than one season. Opurum was also named a team captain for the 2011 season.

• Get out your planner: KU's Sept. 8 game versus Rice will have a 2:30 p.m. start time with a live broadcast on Fox Sports Net. Then, KU will get into Big 12 play against Texas Christian with an 11 a.m. start on Saturday, Sept. 15. The KU-TCU game will be televised on FX.

• If the depth chart is to be believed, several Jayhawks will be making their first KU starts Saturday, including QB Dayne Crist, TE Mike Ragone, TE Trent Smiley, OL Aslam Sterling, OL Gavin Howard, DL Jordan Tavai, DL Josh Williams and LB Ben Heeney.

• Kansas senior WR D.J. Beshears has had great back-to-back seasons handling the kick return duties. Beshears led the Big 12 in kick return yards (1,014) and was third in all-purpose yards (1,587) in 2011. He also ranked 1th in the NCAA in kick return yards. His 1,014 kick return yards are the most by a Jayhawk in a single season, and he ranks second at KU in career kickoff return yards with 1,936 entering his final season in crimson and blue.

• Welcome back, WR Daymond Patterson and DL John Williams! Both were hurt last season and will return to the lineup Saturday.

• Celebrity birthdays Saturday: NFL linebacker Jason Taylor… singer Gloria Estefan (54)… televised psychobabbler Dr. Phil (61)… Philadelphia Phillies great and one of the great defensive centerfielders ever, Garry Maddox (62)… BeeGee Barry Gibb (65)… comedienne Lily Tomlin (72).

• Celebrating birthdays if they weren't so dead: country-western music legend Conway Twitty (79)… heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano (89)… exotic Lily Munster actress Yvonne DeCarlo (90).

• September 1st in sports history: The first yacht race took place between King Charles of England and his brother (1661)… Boston vs. Pittsburgh in baseball's first tripleheader (1890)… Major League Baseball shuts down for the season because of World War I (1918)… A team of College All-Stars defeats the Green Bay Packers, 6-0, in the 4th annual NFL Chicago All-Star Game in front of over 84,000 (1937)… Philadelphia's Vince DiMaggio ties the National League record with his fourth grand slam homer of the season (1945)… Patty Berg wins the inaugural US Women's Open Golf Championship (1947)…New York Met Masonori Murakami is the first Japanese-born player to play in the major leagues… John Newcombe becomes the first one-seed to lose in The Opening round of the US Open Tennis Championship (1971)… George Foreman knocks out Jose "King" Roman in the first round to claim the world heavyweight boxing title (1973)… New York Met Tom Seaver becomes the first pitcher in history to strike out 200 batters in right straight seasons (1975)… The Toronto Argonauts defeat British Columbia, 68-43, and the record is set for the most points by two teams in a Canadian Football League game (1990)… The new Baltimore Ravens defeat the Oakland Raiders, 17-14, in their first NFL regular season game (1996).


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