LAWRENCE, KAN. – All quarterback Montell Cozart had to do was grasp the snap and spike the ball, and give Kansas an opportunity for a tying field goal in coach David Beaty's debut.
Instead, the ball squirted onto the turf. Cozart quickly jumped on it. Time slowly ran out.
South Dakota State streamed onto the field to celebrate.
After blowing a big first-half lead, the Jackrabbits survived a frantic rally by the Jayhawks — and a tense few seconds at the very end — for a 41-38 victory Saturday.
"You never think about stuff like that until it happens to you," said Cozart said of his game-ending fumble. "It feels like an uppercut to the gut."
Cozart did pass for 291 yards and a TD.
Beaty, the Jayhawks' fourth head coach in the past seven years, was hired to replace Charlie Weis. The former Kansas and Texas A&M assistant inherited a mess — 56 players return from last year, none of whom scored a touchdown.
Twenty-three players on the Kansas depth chart were signed by Beaty after his arrival. Among them was junior college transfer Ke'aun Kinner, who ran for 157 yards and two scores.
"Unbelievably disappointing right now," Beaty said. "That was a very tough locker room to look into for my first day as head football coach in Division I football."
Not that the Jackrabbits didn't deserve the win. Zach Lujan passed for 293 yards and three touchdowns, Isaac Wallace ran for 118 yards and another score, and Jake Wieneke made eight catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns as South Dakota State rolled to a 31-7 lead.
Then held on when their Big 12 opponent mounted a charge.
"We preach when you're on the field, you have a chance to win the game," Jackrabbits coach John Stiegelmeir said. "We had some guys rise up with some big plays."
The Jackrabbits drove for an opening field goal, then picked off Cozart and nearly returned it for a touchdown — which they got two plays later anyway.
Ryan Schadler returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to get Kansas within 10-7, but the Jackrabbits answered with two more scoring drives. Both finished with touchdown passes to Wieneke, a sophomore from Maple Grove, who piled up five catches for 125 yards in the first half.