POSTGAME QUOTES KANSAS 31, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 17 SEPT. 1, 2012 - LAWRENCE, KAN.
Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis On the game:"The first thing we wanted to accomplish was to win the football game, because I knew there would be ups and downs in this game and I didn't think we'd be perfect in the first rattle out of the box. Psychologically, it is so much easier on Sunday to constructively criticize all the things that happened in a game, especially after a win. I think it's a lot tougher after a loss. [The players] can enjoy themselves for the first time in a long time. Then tomorrow, we can go and look at all the things we did wrong, see if we'll be able to get better next week."
On the run game: "I think that we're deep in talent at running back; trying to find those guys the ball. I know that it was pretty close to even as far as Tony (Pierson) and Taylor's (Cox) carries go. They were both productive in the game, allowing us to really control the field possession. When we really laid a bit of an egg somewhat on third down conversions, but more importantly in the red zone, it wasn't a great performance."
On Dayne Crist's performance: "There were some throws out there he'd like to have back and he was a little rusty. But to be honest with you, he was a little anxious. Remember, he went all year last year without playing. He got yanked in the first game last year, so he hasn't played in a long time. I think that he'll just get better every single week. I think he feels really good that he was walking off the field healthy, slowing it down a bunch. Some of it is his fault, some of it is other's guys fault, but I think we're pretty happy right now."
On the play of his special teams: "I'm pretty happy with a number of things on special teams, except for those two kickoff returns earlier in the third quarter; that gave them some good field position. But I think a number of players stepped up. I'll give you an insignificant one, no one made a big deal about it but the snapping in the game, and you really didn't notice the snappers in the game. So, I guess both Trevor (Marrongelli) and Reilly (Jeffers) must've done a good job."
Senior Quarterback Dayne Crist On how the running game helped the flow of the offense: "All the running backs in conjunction with the offensive line really carried the game. They really got us through some lulls throughout the course of the game. The two up here (Taylor Cox and Tony Pierson) both run incredibly hard. We expect that out of them each week. They did a great job tonight."
On his personal performance: "I'm very disappointed in how I played. I left a ton of throws out on the field, but more than anything I'm just happy that we got a win. I couldn't be more happy for my teammates, and at the end of the day, that's the most important thing."
Sophomore running back Tony Pierson On his number of carries and how the running backs played: "Going into today, me, Taylor (Cox) and the rest of the running back crew wanted to come in and play with confidence. I looked on the stat sheet and I had over 20 carries and I didn't know. I wanted to play hard and win the game."
Senior Defensive Tackle Josh Williams On his fumble recovery: "I saw the ball the whole time. I went after the ball because I saw somebody else going for the tackle, so I wanted to go for the ball."
Senior Defensive End Toben Opurum On how the defense responded after allowing the 99-yard touchdown run: "I think something like that proves how much stronger we've gotten mentally. We wanted to keep him down there, but he was able to break loose. We managed to come back and get a couple stops, and we ended up winning the game. I think that shows how far we've progressed as a team - the fact that something like that could happen in a game and we were able to bounce back.
Senior Wide Receiver Daymond Patterson: On his comeback from injury: "This being the first game, we as an offense didn't play the way we wanted to. But it's all about going out there and learning. It's been about a year since I've been out there and I was just really excited to be out there again with my teammates. We are going to learn from this experience."
On how the coaches have improved his game: "Coach (Dave) Campo and (Clint) Bowen have been working with me since they got here. They approached me today and told me about the impression I made when they first got here along with the news they got from the previous staff and how I've made a transition overtime. They coach with urgency and the amount of details has really helped me add to my game. Simple things like getting to the ball, playing fiercely and making plays."
Senior safety Bradley McDougald On his team's defensive performance: "The defense as a total, we of course let up some big plays. We let up a 99-yard touchdown and a couple deep balls. Like Coach (Dave) Campo always says, `If you eliminate the big plays and look how you did within the game moving the ball.' I would say the defense played pretty well, but of course you can take away the big plays. Credit them for making them, but besides the big plays that they had, I would say the defense played pretty well."
Senior Tight End Mike Ragone On his first touchdown: "It felt great. It felt even better to win the game."
Junior Halfback Taylor Cox On his performance in the first game: "Coming into the game I wanted to run hard just like I was doing in practice all week. I have to give credit to the offensive line and my tight ends. I felt like they kind of made it easy for me."
South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier Opening statement: "I want to congratulate Coach Weis and his football team for a win. I really felt that we had played some sloppy football at times and played ourselves back into the game but we just failed to keep playing it. As we mature as a football program, I expect we will make those plays and we will get better. I'm proud of our players in a ton of ways. I thought they walked onto the field and felt they could win. I don't think that belief ever changed, we just need to play cleaner football, starting out with a punt team and tackling.
On Zach Zenner's big run early in the game: "They got the big pass that gave them momentum and I guess that helped them. Zach's deal was just a tremendous effort on his part. We have some pretty good football players. It was a big boost and he kept playing hard. Like Austin (Sumner) said, he's a good football player."
On the quarterback change during the game: "First of all I think Eric Klein did everything we asked him to do. It's not easy for a guy to take all those reps and lead the football team. We felt that there were some throws that weren't thrown because the game was moving maybe a little too fast. It maybe a negative point, but the game does move fast. It's so easy to go get studs, it's so easy to watch yourself against a team like that and you learn a lot. Austin said he was ready to play; we wanted to possibly start him. But I didn't think he would play until I felt that we needed to make some throws."
On what changed in the past 24 hours that aided in the decision to play Austin Sumner: "We were told it was a two to four week injury. Austin wanted to play the day after he was injured and so you balance the spirit of a young man, and the health of a young man, the welfare of your football team and a guy that took all the reps. I told (Austin) he wasn't going to play. Had we made more plays than a 99-yard run in the first half, I don't think he would have played. But we weren't making those plays; we felt we needed a shot and he said he was ready."
South Dakota State freshman quarterback Eric Kline On the fourth down in the third quarter where SDSU used two timeouts: "We can't make those mistakes; we really had an opportunity and we didn't take advantage of it. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot there and we didn't take advantage of the opportunity."
On if he feels better getting a game under his belt: "I mean no, because we didn't get the win. It feels a little different and it was good to get out there play someone else, but it would've been a lot better to get the win."
South Dakota State sophomore running back Zach Zenner On the 99-yard run: "We have been working on a lot of the same running plays for the past few weeks and we thought that one would maybe hit big and it did."
On if he was surprised to outrun the KU defense: "I wasn't thinking about that, I was thinking about running."
On SDSU's ground attack tonight compared to last season: "I mean we brought in (offensive line) Coach (John) Flynn. He brought a different atmosphere. (Former offensive line) Coach (Luke) Meadows is a great coach and bringing in Coach Flynn is just a different approach to things and it worked out today. I think it will (work) the rest of the season."
On setting a school record with the 99-yard run: "To be honest, it doesn't feel that great because we lost."
On if he noticed a difference between Kansas and other bigger schools he's played against: "I didn't really notice it; I got exposure to that last year at Illinois and when we were at Illinois. Once you play a team you're just ready for it; you're expecting it and you're just approaching the game the same way."
On his change in roles this season: "A lot of us came in over the summer and worked hard. For us to stay over the summer is a big deal because it's a choice--it's optional. We had a bunch of guys stay and put a lot of work in and a lot of sweat in. Honestly it started before then with spring ball and a great fall camp before that."
On what he adds to the team: "A player who gives 100 percent every play."
South Dakota State senior linebacker Ross Shafrath On the team getting game experience at Kansas: "It's definitely good to get a game under our belts and we definitely have positive things to take out of this game."