University of Kansas

Game report: Kansas 24, Central Michigan 10

First quarter

Key play: KU receiver Tony Pierson ran a sprint sweep around the left edge, going 74 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

Key stat: KU had just 107 total yards in the quarter.

Second quarter

Key play: On third and long, Central Michigan QB Cooper Rush ran 17 yards, setting up a Chippewas field goal with 6:14 left.

Key stat: KU QB Montell Cozart completed 15 of 22 passes.

Third quarter

Key play: Central Michigan running back Martez Walker ran for an 18-yard touchdown, helping to tie the score at 10-10 with 6:11 left in the quarter.

Key stat: Walker rushed six times on the game-tying drive.

Fourth quarter

Key play: KU QB Montell Cozart hit Justin McCay on a 60-yard, catch-and-run touchdown, giving KU at 17-10 lead with close to 10 minutes left.

Key stat: KU forced three turnovers.

Player of the game: KU linebacker Jake Love. Really, the honor could go to the entire KU defense, which limited Central Michigan to 279 total yards. But Love came up huge during the fourth quarter, finishing with four tackles for loss.

Reason to hope: The KU defense bounced back from a disappointing performance at Duke. Senior linebacker Ben Heeney forced a fumble, and the Jayhawks got some heat on the quarterback.

Reason to mope: Now the Big 12 season begins. The Jayhawks are just 1-26 in the Big 12 over the last three years.

Looking ahead: KU will face Texas on Saturday in its Big 12 opener at Memorial Stadium.

Rustin Dodd, rdodd@kcstar.com

Report card

B-

Offense

Sometimes it was a struggle, and KU didn’t put up big points. But sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart was able to be efficient on short throws, throwing for 226 yards and two TDs with one interception.

A

Defense

It came against Central Michigan, but this was a promising performance, especially in the fourth quarter. The KU defense didn’t flinch in the final minutes.

B

Special teams

Sophomore kicker Matthew Wyman missed a 35-yard field goal, but punter Trevor Pardula flipped the field a number of times and pinned Central Michigan deep repeatedly.

B

Coaching

It could have been cleaner, but the Jayhawks got a much-needed win. The offensive coaching staff smartly put quarterback Montell Cozart in situations where he could succeed.

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