KU v OU Football

Quarterback Jason Bean on the sidelines. Kansas lost 35-23 to Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 23.

After losing on the road to No. 11 Oklahoma State 55-3 last week, coach Lance Leipold and the Jayhawks look to get back on track this week in the annual Dillons Sunflower Showdown versus in-state rival Kansas State. 

The Sunflower Showdown has been a tradition between Kansas and Kansas State since 1902. Kansas currently leads the rivalry with 64 wins to K-State’s 49, however, the Jayhawks haven’t beaten the ‘Cats since 2008. 

“They [Kansas] all had the opportunity to play against a rival school in high school and hopefully there's a lot of things that goes into extra motivation and energy,” Leipold said. “As we continue to build our program, we need to stay focused on the things that we need to do, like daily preparation.” 

As far as preparation goes, Leipold said the game plan for this week is no different than previous weeks. 

“We [the coaches] talked a little bit about some things,” Leipold said. “You gotta look on paper and you do a lot of different things. It's my responsibility here as the coach at the University of Kansas to build this program in such a way that this rivalry is a balanced rivalry and one that our whole state and alums can get behind.” 

Kansas has allowed upwards of 35 points per game in its last three weeks, and K-State is currently averaging 27.5 points per game this season. Conversely, the Jayhawks have scored no more than 23 points in the last trio of competitions. 

Additionally, coach Leipold mentioned that redshirt junior quarterback Jason Bean needs to be able to get going early to supplement the lack of defense. He stressed the production value after the offense went 0-of-13 on third-down attempts.   

“I think the importance of Jason getting off to a good start is important for our football team,” Leipold said. “[Last game] Jason didn't respond the way he wanted to or responded the way we wanted [him] to.” 

Freshman running back Devin Neal told The Topeka Capital-Journal Tuesday that this week is an important one, but the mindset stays the same. 

“Obviously we view every game as important and this is just, like, another part of that series of just trying to string together good games and keep getting better overall,” Neal said.  “And I think we all just have to come on with that mindset that, ‘yes, it is a rivalry week, yes, it is K-State, yeah there’s a lot …more on the line. More pride.’” 

With a K-State win, the team will be bowl eligible with six wins on the season. If Kansas wins, it will be the first victory for the team in 13 years.

The Jayhawks and the Wildcats kick off Saturday at 11 a.m. in Lawrence. 

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