A renewed rivalry in 2004?

With K-State and Kansas coming off losses and winless in the Big 12 so far, Saturday's Sunflower Showdown might go a ways in renewing an in-state rivalry that has lost its luster over the years. After all, K-State has defeated KU by an average of 33 points per game over the last 11 years.

In years past, the Sunflower Showdown between Kansas State and Kansas hasn't been much of a game, with the Wildcats each of the last 11 meetings by an average of 33 points.

However, for the first time in many years, both teams come into this contest unranked and winless in the Big 12 Conference.

For the first time in a long time, the in-state battle means something; there is certainly something to play for besides state bragging rights.

K-State is coming off its road loss at Texas A&M, while the Jayhawks are hoping to rebound from its narrow loss to Nebraska last week.

"It's exciting because they are coming in with a lot of confidence because they've played well this season," K-State senior tight end Brian Casey said Tuesday. "We have dominated over the past 11 years, so it angers us a little bit that people aren't giving us as much credit as I think that we deserve. We are going to take it like any other game, and plan for them, practice hard, and go into the game like we always do."

But while K-State has struggled so far this season, Kansas, despite its shoddier record, has generated quite some praise early on and appears to be an improved team from a year ago.

"Yeah, they look better," K-State defensive tackle Jermaine Berry said. "They're a good team. They're a lot better than they were when we played them last year. We want to keep the winning streak going against them, so that's something that we take very seriously."

Senior defensive end Scott Edmonds noted the improvement by KU after seeing them lose its game to the Cornhuskers 14-8 last Saturday.

"We just saw the one this past week against Nebraska and I've never seen Nebraska struggle with KU before," he said. "And that shows me that they're an improved team. They have a good tailback and a good quarterback, and they have some receivers that are going to pose a threat for us. They're a much improved team and we're going to have to put up a good performance in order to shut them down."

Wildcat head coach Bill Snyder said there are actually a lot of similarities in K-State and KU's conference opening losses last week—two teams still searching for identities in the wide-open Big 12 North.

"They had control of the ballgame at the end of the ballgame and we had control of the ballgame at the end of the ballgame," he said. "It was ours to win or lose, it was theirs to win or lose. We were moving the football and two penalties popped up. We were moving the football and a fumble pops up and a sack pops up. We had five drives and 50 snaps coming in five of the first six possessions, and you get points out of three of those, but then there are 20 snaps where you used up a lot of clock, but didn't get any points. Some of the same things happened with the University of Kansas."


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