That was Then, This is Now

No Read View Mirror on this Ride as the Cats prepare for the Sunflower Showdown!

That's how Kansas State is approaching the 105th Sunflower Classic set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium when 3-1 and No. 24 ranked Kansas State plays host to 4-0 Kansas. A year ago, K-State defeated No. 4 Texas 45-42 on Week 11 of the season, while Kansas rested.

The next week, the Jayhawks humbled the Wildcats, 39-20.

K-State is now coming off a 41-21 victory at No. 7 Texas, while Kansas, again, enjoyed a bye week.

Flashing back to last year's game, KSU quarterback Joss Freeman had a nightmare of a night: 6 personal turnovers - three lost fumbles and three interceptions; 0 touchdowns.

Asked how long the game seemed: "How long? The game's 60 minutes," Freeman said, adding a slight smirk. "No, it was one of those nights where I felt good, but everything was going wrong left and right. I don't know why it happened or where it came from, but everything went wrong."

Looking ahead to Saturday, Freeman said it's a case of "... last year was last year. We've got two different teams getting ready to play. We're just going to prepare well, and hopefully play well, and just do our job.

"Last year's team that laid the egg at KU is totally different than this one," Freeman said. "I know this team is going to play as hard as it can."

Linebacker Reggie Walker called last year's loss to the Jayhawks "... an emotional letdown that won't happen again this year. It was the worst game we played all year."

Ian Campbell also sees 2007 as an all-new year, with yet another win over Texas having nothing to do with this year's Kansas game.

"They won the last time, we won the year before that, and they won the year before that," Campbell said. "There's talk about our ownership of Texas, but we know it's a one-year lease. This is a new battle with new players, but there's the same drama of its still Kansas State versus Kansas."

And that means, whatever the sport, that a heated contest is assured. But as KSU coach Ron Prince says, "Gary Spani and John Riggins aren't going to play in this game. There's enough of those ghosts that make you say that this is an important game. But the reality is that the coaches that are here today, and the players that are here today are going to go out and compete in this game.

"Whoever prepares the best and shows up at the ballpark with energy to go out and hit the other guy, that's probably the team that's going to win," Prince said. "I don't discount what's happened in the past, I just don't think it's always relevant to what's happening today."

While Prince has instructed his players to forget last week's Texas win, and last year's 39-20 loss to Kansas, as a coach, he admits, "Games where you don't play well, those hang on for a long time."

And games where you don't play well can best be put to rest with a victory the next time the teams tee it up.

That's Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium - Kansas State vs. Kansas - in the Sunflower Classic.

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