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Kansas, Kansas State both coming off thumpings
LAWRENCE, KAN. (AP) - Their playbook is not the only thing Turner Gill’s Kansas Jayhawks should study this week.
A quick review of recent history might also be in order while preparing a game plan and an attitude for Kansas State. While it’s true the Wildcats are coming off a 48-13 thrashing at the hands of No. 5 Nebraska, that does not necessarily mean a demoralized band of K-Staters will tiptoe nervously into Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
Last time Bill Snyder’s Wildcats were humiliated on such a scale was a 66-14 loss at Texas Tech in 2009. They got right up, dusted themselves off and whipped Texas A&M 62-14 the very next game.
Besides, rarely in this emotional series that’s about to be played for the 108th time has style trumped intensity.
Plus, Kansas State might be wondering how Kansas is going to play. In their last game, the Jayhawks were routed 55-7 by a Baylor team that set several team records.
Altogether, the Sunflower State rivals will be meeting after getting pounded by a collective score of 103-20.
“I wish we would have both come off of wins, because that would have been a highly anticipated game,” said Kansas wide receiver Jonathan Wilson. “But it’s still going to be very anticipated. I know they want to win and I know we want to win.”
The Jayhawks (2-3, 0-1 Big 12) have won four of the last six against Kansas State. But going back to last year, they have dropped 12 conference games in a row.
The lopsided losses in their previous games cannot diminish the passion of the players. In many cases, this ancient state rivalry matches players who have competed against one another most of their lives, players with friends and family members with loyalties to both schools.
“It doesn’t take air out of the rivalry at all because we are both looking forward to going out there and trying to win,” said Kansas safety Lubbock Smith. “We want to show that we’re the best team in the state of Kansas.”
The Wildcats (4-1, 1-1) were on the verge of breaking into the national rankings with a 4-0 record before Nebraska and freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez exposed a crippling lack of team speed, on both offense and defense. Nebraska’s shortest touchdown play was 14 yards.
“We were not where we were supposed to be when we were supposed to be there,” said Snyder. “That falls back into our lap. We just have to do a better job of getting our guys where they need to be. It was big plays, obviously. They had six snaps for 303 yards and all were touchdown plays. If we had people in the right spot, if we could get them where they were supposed to be, then at least we would not have had those big plays.”
The Wildcats are also looking for ways to get senior running back Daniel Thomas back on track. He was No. 2 in the nation in total yards rushing until his last two games when he was held to under 80 yards.
His average has dropped to 138.20 yards per game. Talk around Kansas State of Thomas entering the Heisman race has quieted.
“He hurts, like everybody,” Snyder said. “I think Daniel is always the same way. He just wants to do all he can to help this football team. He is very unselfish.”
Snyder also surprised quite a few people when he said there would be no change at quarterback. Carson Coffman struggled against Nebraska and has not been consistent all season.
“(Coffman) is taking the No. 1 snaps because he is doing the best job. In all likelihood, Carson will be our starter,” the coach said
Coffman insists he’s not worried about starting or sitting and is instead focused on beating a team he’s rooted against all his life.
“I’ve always grown up a K-State fan and disliking KU,” he said. “And just for the team, I think it’s big to bounce back after last week against Nebraska and also for the instate recruiting and the future it’s also a big game.”
By Tom Fitton
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