Sunflower Showdown!

Kansas State has won the Sunflower Showdown 12 of the last 13 years, and they are also currently the ‘Kings of Kansas' after the 12-3 victory last season in Manhattan. The Governor's Cup and bragging rights for a year are on the line Saturday when the Wildcats travel to Lawrence to take on the Kansas Jayhawks.

The home team has won the last three meetings, which bodes well for the Jayhawks, considering the game is being played at Memorial Stadium and KU is also favored to win the game. Kansas (5-5 overall, 2-4 Big 12 Conference) will be fighting for a chance to play in a bowl game.

The Jayhawks need just one more win to become bowl eligible, with this game and the Nov. 25 matchup at Missouri to try and notch that mystical sixth win.

This is the final regular season game for K-State (7-4, 4-3 Big 12). The Wildcats are 9-1 in season-ending games since 1996, and they are also 6-1 all-time when facing Kansas on television.

Kickoff is 2:30 p.m., and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.

Player of the Game on offense: Quarterback Josh Freeman

Freeman is the two-time reigning Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week and also is the only true freshman starter at quarterback in the country to currently have his team in the bowl picture. He has been on fire down the stretch, connecting on 55-of-77 passes for 681 yards and six touchdowns in his last three games. He will need to have another big game against this stingy Jayhawk defense. They are third in the Big 12 in rush defense, allowing only 121 yards on the ground per game, but they are 11th in pass defense, giving up 283.8 yards through the air.

Players of the Game on defense:
Linebackers Brandon Archer and Zach Diles

These two played extremely well last week against Texas, and they will be the biggest factors in stopping the lethal Kansas running back Jon Cornish. Cornish leads the Big 12 during conference play in rushing and is ninth in the country with 115.5 yards per game. He is also second in the conference in all-purpose yards with 130.6 yards.

Archer and Diles are going to have to come up with multiple open-field stops in order to slow down the Cornish and the Jayhawk rushing attack.

Surprise contributor:
Cornerback Joshua Moore

The Jayhawk offense struggles through the air, so it will look to get Cornish a lot of touches in this game. I'm sure Kansas coach Mark Mangino has had plenty of time to study the film of K-State during his team's bye week, and he has seen that Moore is susceptible to the deep ball. I think Mangino will throw the ball towards Moore a lot in this game, and he will come up with a key interception to help his team.

Player you shouldn't expect too much out of:
Defensive end Ian Campbell

Campbell tied the Wildcat single-season sack record last week against Texas. He has 11.5 on the year and he is second in the conference, but he will not get too many chances to get to the Kansas quarterback this weekend. Jayhawk running back Jon Cornish is the leading rusher in the Big 12 this year, and he is going to run all over the 58th ranked Wildcat rush defense.

Three keys to a Wildcat victory:

Keep Cornish under 100 – The Jayhawks' offense is centered around Cornish. If he has a big day, that could spell trouble for K-State. Keeping under 100 means the Wildcats will have eliminated a huge part of Kansas' offense, and that will make the Jayhawks one-dimensional. Kansas has already proven it has a hard time defeating opponents through the air.

Don't have letdown – The Texas game gave the Wildcats a buzz they haven't felt in a few years, and that might mean they have a letdown after such a big win. The Kansas game is even bigger than Texas, and Prince will need to make sure his players know that come Saturday.

Play to your strengths – Lately the game plan has been to let Freeman throw high-percentage passes, and run when applicable. That is a pretty good formula, and as long as Freeman doesn't make too many mistakes, then the Wildcats should be OK.

Final Score: KSU 27, KU 24

K-State proved me wrong, heck, the Wildcats proved everybody wrong last week when they upset Texas. Kansas is favored in this matchup, and I expect it to be a close game throughout. The Wildcats hold on to a late lead, keeping Kansas out of a bowl.

Purple Pride Top Stories