For Kansas State and Kansas, rivalry week is finally here. This Saturday, the two teams will clash in the 110th-consecutive Sunflower Showdown, this year’s at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. And it appears the first dig at a rival has now been taken.
During K-State’s Tuesday media session, senior defensive back Jahron McPherson was talking about the 0-4 Jayhawks’ offense and mentioned that they were actually a very talented team, despite their record. In his comments, McPherson appeared to indicate that the Kansas coaching staff, led by Les Miles, has not been able to capitalize on the talent that exists on the KU roster.
“They have a lot of great talent individually,” McPherson said of the Jayhawks. “They are very talented, individually. That’s what people don’t realize about them. They’re a very — individually, they’re a great team.”
Despite the Jayhawks’ struggles in the Big 12 over the past 11 seasons, they have seen some rather talented players come through the program. Last year, despite going 3-9 overall and 1-8 in Big 12 play, KU placed two players on the All-Big 12 First Team and had seven players earn Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors.
While there still might be some talented players left on the Jayhawks’ roster, that talent level did take a blow this week. All-Big 12 running back and preseason All-American Pooka Williams announced his decision to opt out of the rest of the 2020 season on Monday in order to be closer to his mother, who is battling health issues, according to Williams.
When the ball kicks this weekend at 11 a.m. CT, the Wildcats look to continue their dominance of the Jayhawks in this annual rivalry. K-State has won the last 11 matchups in the Sunflower Showdown and aside from the three-year run where Ron Prince led the Wildcats, has dominated the rivalry entirely. Since former head coach Bill Snyder arrived for the 1989 season, K-State has lost just seven times to KU. November 1, 2008 was the last time that the Jayhawks came out on top in the game.
Despite the dominance by the Wildcats in the series and the struggles of the Jayhawks early this year, K-State head coach Chris Klieman doesn’t plan on taking this week easy. He quickly put any thoughts like that to bed in his press conference on Tuesday.
“We’re not good enough to overlook anybody. Our kids know that,” Klieman said. “Our guys have to play their tail off to have an opportunity and continue to prepare. When we prepare really well, we put a good product out on the field. When we don’t prepare as well, we don’t put as good a product on the field. Our guys know that this game is so difficult and it’s hard to win college football games. You don’t win games on Saturdays. I think you win them Monday through Friday. Our preparation has to have great focus and great energy, and the guys have to be really locked in this week.”