Meier sparkles in debut as Kansas runs over Northwestern State

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Kerry Meier had a splashy debut as Kansas
quarterback Saturday night, passing for two touchdowns, running for
two more and sparking a 49-18 rout of Northwestern State.

Meier, a redshirt freshman making his first start at the same
time his older brother, Dylan, started for Kansas State, was
8-for-18 for 110 yards. He ran nine times for 59 yards, including a
31-yard scamper that made it 49-18 with 3:46 to go.

It was a night of big plays for the Jayhawks (1-0) and a
school-record four field goals for Northwestern State (0-1)

Brian Murph scored on a 70-yard punt return and Marcus Herford
brought back a kickoff 88 yards to set up another score.

Jon Cornish put Kansas on top 35-9 with a 69-yard run in the
third period right after Robert Weeks had tied the Northwestern
State school record with his third 3-pointer. Cornish wound up with
a career-best 140 yards on 13 carries.

Weeks, who was 4-for-7 in field goal attempts last year as a
freshman, was perfect on four tries. He got the record with 1:28
left in the third with a 36-yarder for the Demons (0-1), a Division
I-AA program from Natchitoches, La.

The Demons brought only seven seniors with their 70-man travel
squad and were completely outclassed by the Jayhawks of the Big 12.
Forty-six of their players were either sophomores, freshmen, or
redshirt freshmen.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino, who signed a new five-year contract
this week that raised his salary almost 150 percent to $1.5 million
a year, saw his punting team collapse on its first two tries,
giving up the ball on the 27 and the 13 on successive possessions.

But Northwestern State managed only field goals of 30 and 31
yards for a 6-0 lead, and then the Jayhawks' special teams quickly
turned the game around.

Herford, a converted quarterback, took the ensuing kickoff 88
yards before Justin Perry made the TD-saving tackle on the 7. A
moment later, Meier hit Marcus Henry with a 10-yard TD pass.

Murph's 70-yard punt return followed a few minutes later. He ran
through the last would-be tackler at the 36, giving the Jayhawks a
14-6 lead and 158 yards in return yardage on just two kicks.

Early in the second quarter, the Demons tried to punt out of
their own end zone, but Dexton Fields blew in to block the kick and
Jeff Foster fell on the ball for Kansas' third touchdown.

Meier hit Murph with a 15-yard touchdown pass for a 28-6 lead
immediately after Eric Washington recovered the ball when
Northwestern State quarterback Ricky Meeks fumbled the exchange.

Weeks made it 28-9 and got the school record, which had been
shared by several players, with a 36-yarder with 1:28 left in the

The Demons declined to give him a shot at a fifth field goal,
going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 6. A pass interference
penalty on Kansas kept the drive alive and Meeks hit Ben Bailey
with a 3-yard pass for Northwestern State's only touchdown.

Meier also had a 1-yard TD run in the fourth, after Cornish went
33 yards around left end.