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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — D.J. Beshears was a defensive back last season as a Kansas freshman, but he played multiple roles on offense Saturday night.
Beshears was a running back, wide receiver and kick returner as he scored three touchdowns, including a 96-yard kickoff return, in the first half to propel Kansas to a 42-16 victory over the New Mexico State.
"I guess we've going to have to give him slash, slash," said Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb.
Beshears is glad first-year Kansas coach Turner Gill moved him back to the offensive side.
"I'm very happy," Beshears said. "That's my natural side of the ball. I've always been an offensive guy ever since I was young."
After Seth Smith's 1-yard touchdown plunge for the Aggies (0-3) tied the score at 7-7, Beshears returned the ensuing kickoff, matching the eighth longest return ever for the Jayhawks (2-2).
"I just read it out and hit the hole with speed," Beshears said. "It definitely gave us a boost and pumped up a lot of guys."
Webb had been expecting a game like this from Beshears.
"He's electric," Webb said. "He's fast. He wants to get into the end zone every time he touches the ball. We've been working him in, putting a lot of plays in for him."
Beshears rushed for two touchdowns on carries of 10 and 7 yards, putting the Aggies down 21-7 at halftime.
"We knew he's a good player, but he's an exceptional player," New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker said.
The Jayhawks scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter, including a Jordan Webb 2-yard pass to Tim Biere to cap off a 99-yard 17-play drive. James Sims had touchdowns runs of 11 and 1 yards in the second half.
Webb completed his first six passes for 104 yards, including 35 yards to Jonathan Wilson and 47 yards to Angus Quigley to set up Beshears' first touchdown. Webb finished the night with 17 of 27 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown.
After Kansas quarterbacks had been sacked 12 times in the first three games, Webb and Kale Pick, who came in the fourth quarter, avoided being sacked by the Aggies, who have yet to record a sack this season.
Taveon Rogers returned a Jayhawks' kickoff 51 yards to set up New Mexico State's first touchdown. Rogers finished with a school-record 219 yards on six kickoff returns.
"He was the star of the game, in terms of our football team," Walker said.
Smith, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, then got the final yard of 44-yard drive.
Beshears' long kickoff return became the start of the Jayhawks scoring 28 unanswered points.
Sims, a true freshman, led all rushers with 115 yards on 16 carries.
Smith topped New Mexico rushers with 52 yards on 16 carries, while Marcus Allen had 45 yards on four carries and four catches for 89 yards.
The Aggies scored nine points in the fourth quarter with Allen hauling in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Matt Christian. Tyler Stampler kicked a 20-yard field goal with 9:17 left for the final New Mexico State points
"I had a rough first half," Christian said. "The ball was wet and I might have broken my ring finger. It affected a little bit in the first half, but no excuses. The rain and the wind had a little more to do with than the finger."