The Sunflower Showdown will mean a little more when K-State and KU meet on the football field this season.
Both teams are playing above preseason expectations and coming off important victories. The No. 22 Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 Big 12), led by Chris Klieman, upset previously undefeated Oklahoma 48-41 on Saturday, while the Jayhawks (3-5, 1-4) downed Texas Tech 37-34 for their first conference victory under Les Miles.
Miles and Klieman have added fresh energy to this rivalry in their first years with both schools.
Here is everything you need to know to prepare for Saturday’s game:
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lawrence, Kansas
Radio: K-State: KKGQ (92.3 FM) in Wichita, KCSP (610 AM) in Kansas City. KU: KFH (97.5 FM in Wichita), WHB (810 AM).
The line: K-State by 6
Five things to know
1. Rare feat: KU put up 527 yards of offense in Saturday’s 37-34 victory over Texas Tech , which marked the second straight game the Jayhawks exceeded 500 yards. The last time KU accomplished that feat: November 2007, which was two months before the Jayhawks finished 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.
2. Top performers: KU’s Carter Stanley (415 passing yards) and Stephon Robinson (186 receiving yards) both ranked second among FBS players in their respective stats last week. Stanley’s passing total also was the second-best mark of his career, ranking only behind the 418 he threw for against ... K-State on Oct. 28, 2017 in the Jayhawks’ 30-20 home loss.
3. Mismatch to watch: KU’s special teams has been a mess recently, which has included the team having four kicks blocked in the last two weeks. ESPN’s SP+ ranking shows this facet as one of the biggest advantages K-State will have Saturday, as the Wildcats are seventh nationally in special teams production while KU is 120th.
4. Rushing resurgence: K-State got back to its power-running ways last week against Oklahoma. The Wildcats rushed for 213 yards and six touchdowns against the Sooners, with quarterback Skylar Thompson finding the end zone four times. With Jordon Brown back to help James Gilbert in the backfield, look for Klieman’s team to keep the ball on the ground this week against the Jayhawks.
5. Biggest rivalry game in years: This has the making of the most anticipated Sunflower Showdown in more than a decade. The Wildcats are favored by 6, which is the lowest point spread in this rivalry since 2010. And both teams have already matched their win totals from last season. K-State has won 10 straight in the series.