Fox Sports' Emily Jones on KU-KSU

Fox Sports has the television broadcast of Saturday's 109th edition of the Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence, Kan., with a broadcast team of Bill Land, Dave Lapham and Emily Jones. Friday, Phog.net spoke with Jones about the contest, and what the Jayhawks need to do to give themselves the best chance of walking out with a win.

At first glance, a comparison between the stat sheet and the sterling 6-0 record of the No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats is likely to create some momentary confusion.

Ninety-fourth in total offense? Fifty-eighth in scoring offense? If they're not gaining gobs of yards and they're not lighting up the scoreboard, how on earth are they doing it?

It's simple, really. They're the exemplification of what a strong defense and a dedication to the little things in football can do.

Delve back into the stats, and one finds a defense ranked 17th and 15th nationally in total and scoring defense respectively. They rank 11th in kickoff returns, they're tied for 11th in interceptions, and - perhaps most importantly - they've turned it over just seven times all season long.

So they play strong defense, force mistakes by the opposition and don't make many themselves.

In short, Bill Snyder might be a wizard.

"It works," said Fox Sports sideline reporter Emily Jones. "The message that he's selling works when you start out 6-0. So if any of those guys had the slightest bit of doubt as to whether this approach would work with a 72-year-old coach, now they believe."

Jones is well familiar with both Kansas and Kansas State - the two in-state rivals who will square off Saturday in the 109th edition of the Sunflower Showdown.

Most recently where the Jayhawks are concerned, Jones was a part of the Fox Sports broadcast Oct. 1, when Texas Tech came to Lawrence, Kan. In that contest, Kansas jumped out to a 20-0 first quarter lead, only to see the offense sputter en route to a 45-34 defeat.

Second-half struggles have been a consistent theme with the Jayhawks this season, which Jones sees as a product of inexperience and youth.

"I think they're experiencing some growing pains," she explained. "They're obviously a very young team, but I think Turner is starting to get the kind of players that he wants in here and it's just going to take time."

In Jones' mind, for Kansas to walk out of Memorial Stadium with a victory Saturday they're going to have to hit Kansas State with a dose of their own medicine.

The Wildcats are an exceedingly run-heavy team, averaging 206 yards per game on the ground to just 130 ypg through the air. But thus far in the 2011 season the Kansas offense has proven equally as prolific on the ground (206.8 ypg) and more capable in the passing game(218.3 ypg).

The Jayhawks offense will need to be methodical and mistake-free to give themselves the best chance. It's a task that has been much easier said than done against the Wildcats this season, but that's where the opportunity for a Crimson and Blue victory lies.

"Fight fire with fire and limit their possession," Jones said. "Therefore limiting their attempts to score. if they can get a ground game going and slow things down a bit, that would benefit Kansas in the long run."


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