LAWRENCE (AP) — Jordan Webb threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, and Kansas, flashing the improved speed coach Turner Gill had promised, beat McNeese State 42-24 Saturday night in a season opener delayed almost 25 minutes by rain.
JaCorey Shepherd caught three passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He went 56 yards for one score and then, after getting wide open on a fourth-and-3 play in the fourth quarter, hauled in a 48-yard pass for another.
Kansas also got touchdown runs from James Sims, who totaled 104 yards on 19 carries, and Tony Pierson.
The Jayhawks looked snappy and much faster than last year, when they struggled to a 3-9 finish in Gill’s first season, beginning with a shocking 6-3 loss to Division II North Dakota State.
Webb, who started seven games in an injury-marred 2010 season, attempted only 10 passes, but completed seven for 146 yards.
Pierson, a true freshman, went 47 yards on his first carry to set up a touchdown and 13 yards into the end zone the second time he touched the ball. He had 73 yards on five carries.
Cody Stroud was 22 for 27 for 210 yards and a touchdown for the Cowboys. He alternated with Riley Dodge, who was 9 for 14 for 107 yards and another TD.
After getting stopped cold on their first possession, the Jayhawks went 84 yards in eight plays on their second, with Webb hitting Daymond Patterson on a 25-yard scoring pass following Sims’ 30-yard scamper up the middle.
The Jayhawks took a 21-3 lead into halftime following Sims’ 1-yard touchdown run and Pierson’s 13-yard carry out of a wildcat formation.
The Cowboys scored on their first possession of the second half, rolling 76 yards in 12 plays. Stroud flipped a short pass to Champlain Babin, who got two excellent blocks while going into the end zone. Babin had five catches for 108 yards.
The Jayhawks answered with Shepherd’s 56-yard catch-and-run. Shepherd and Kale Pick seemed to be running the same route, and both had their hands up. But Shepherd, a couple of steps behind Pick, was the one who pulled in the ball.
McNeese State’s Dodge, on fourth-and-14, found a wide-open Wes Briscoe for a 32-yard scoring pass in the third quarter. Then back came the Jayhawks, with Sims getting a short touchdown run for a 35-16 lead early in the fourth.
Stroud connected with Babin on a 60-yard pass play, then got into the end zone two plays later. He hit Damion Dixon for a two-point conversion that made the score 35-24 with 8:32 to go before Webb hooked up with Shepherd on another long scoring pass.
KANSAS 42, MCNEESE ST. 24
McNeese St. 0 3 13 8 — 24
Kansas 7 14 7 14 — 42
Kan — Patterson 25 pass from Webb (Mueller kick), 5:30.
McN — FG Lewis 26, 11:52.
Kan — Sims 1 run (Mueller kick), 8:00.
Kan — Pierson 13 run (Mueller kick), 1:51.
McN — Babin 14 pass from Stroud (Lewis kick), 9:48.
Kan — Shepherd 56 pass from Webb (Mueller kick), 8:02.
McN — We.Briscoe 32 pass from Dodge (kick failed), 4:24.
Kan — Webb 8 run (Mueller kick), 13:20.
McN — Stroud 1 run (Dixon pass from Stroud), 8:32.
Kan — Shepherd 48 pass from Webb (Mueller kick), 6:30.
A — 41,068.
First downs 22 23
Rushes-yards 34-95 55-301
Passing 325 146
Comp-Att-Int 31-41-0 7-10-0
Return Yards 2a 0
Punts-Avg. 4-31.5 2-46.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-60 4-35
Time of Possession 34:47 25:13
RUSHING — McNeese St., Dodge 11-45, Babin 4-18, Murray 5-18, Anderson 10-16, Team 1-0, Wiltz 1-(minus 1), Stroud 2-(minus 1). Kansas, Sims 19-104, Pierson 5-73, Miller 13-63, Webb 8-27, Bourbon 3-19, Beshears 2-11, Matthews 1-6, Team 4-(minus 2).
PASSING — McNeese St., Stroud 22-27-0-218, Dodge 9-14-0-107. Kansas, Webb 7-10-0-146.
RECEIVING — McNeese St., Carey 7-73, Babin 5-108, Murray 4-12, Dixon 3-37, Jordan 3-17, Anderson 3-16, We.Briscoe 2-44, Celestie 2-7, Myers 1-9, Turnage 1-2. Kansas, Shepherd 3-107, Patterson 3-34, Biere 1-5.
No. 1 Oklahoma 47, Tulsa 14
NORMAN, Okla. — Landry Jones re-established his connection with All-American receiver Ryan Broyles, Dominique Whaley ran for four scores in his debut and top-ranked Oklahoma beat Tulsa.
Jones threw for 375 yards, Broyles came up just shy of his own school receptions record with 14 for 158 yards and the Sooners (1-0) extended the nation’s longest home winning streak with their 37th straight win on Owen Field.
Broyles’ 4-yard touchdown catch put Oklahoma up 30-0 with 4:23 left before halftime, and Tulsa (0-1) never mounted a challenge in Bill Blankenship’s first game as head coach.
The Sooners opened at No. 1 for the first time since 2003, and had held the top spot for only two weeks over the past seven seasons.
No. 9 Oklahoma St 61,
STILLWATER, Okla. — Joseph Randle rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Blackmon had 144 yards receiving and No. 9 Oklahoma State picked up where it left off last season on offense, drubbing Louisiana-Lafayette on . Brandon Weeden completed 24 of 39 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns for Oklahoma State (1-0) in Todd Monken’s debut as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator. Monken replaced Dana Holgorsen, who is now the head coach at West Virginia.
New Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth is the third coach of the Ragin’ Cajuns to make his debut against Oklahoma State, and he fared like the other two, Nelson Stokley and Jerry Baldwin. Hudspeth’s team scored two defensive touchdowns but did little offensively until the game had been decided.
Oklahoma State has won all eight meetings against Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1) and is 6-1 in season openers under coach Mike Gundy. The Cowboys have won 16 straight home openers and are 26-2 all-time against Sun Belt Conference schools.
No. 21 Missouri 17,
Miami of Ohio 6
COLUMBIA, Mo. — James Franklin ran for one touchdown and passed for the clinching score in his first career start, helping No. 21 Missouri open with a win over stubborn Miami of Ohio.
E.J. Gaines had an end zone interception for the Tigers, who whipped the RedHawks by 38 points in their final pre-Big 12 tuneup last season but had their struggles on both sides of the ball in 90-degree heat. Three of their first four possessions ended quickly with punts for an offense that averaged 30 points last season, and Miami of Ohio moved the ball with some success.
Miami of Ohio recovered from a 51-13 spanking at Missouri last fall to win the Mid-American Conference, and entered the opener under new coach Don Treadwell, the former Michigan State offensive coordinator, with a six-game winning streak. The RedHawks trailed 10-6 after Erik Finklea’s 10-yard run late in the third quarter.
Missouri, which had been around a 20-point favorite, answered on the first play of the fourth quarter. Marcus Lucas’ 10-yard catch was his first college touchdown and in his first start as the fill-in for injured Jerrell Jackson.