News and Notes: Sunflower Showdown

News and notes while hoping the Jayhawks don't believe in moral victories and marveling at how Bill Snyder continually finds ways to turn chicken droppings into chicken dumplings.

· KU (2-4 overall, 0-3 Big 12) will host the surprising 12th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats (6-0, 3-0) Saturday. They'll tee it up at 11 a.m., and it will be on the tube on Fox Sports Net.

· This is the 109th Sunflower Showdown in 122 years of college football on Mount Oread. The Jayhawks are 65-38-5 all-time versus the Wildcats, including a 37-16-2 mark in games played in Lawrence. KU is also 1-15 in their last 16 games against the Bill Snyder-coached Wildcat squad.

· When Kansas takes the field Saturday, they will be playing their seventh straight undefeated opponent this season. Yeah, it's been that kind of year.

· Last time out it was ugly: 59-7, John Deere.

· Kansas has lost the last two in the series after winning the three prior meetings (2006-08). Not-so-coincidentally, Ron Prince was Kansas State's coach from 2006-2008.

· Saturday's game will mark the 101st consecutive meeting between KU and K-State. That ranks as the fourth-longest uninterrupted series in the nation behind Kansas-Nebraska (105), Minnesota-Wisconsin (104) and Clemson-South Carolina (102). The teams have met every year beginning in 1911. The schools played each other eight-straight years from 1902-1909 before not playing in 1910.

· KU is 5-9-1 all time in games played on October 22nd. The last game played on October 22nd was a 44-13 loss to Colorado in Boulder.

· Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is 155-80-1 in his 20th season in Manhattan. Prior to Snyder taking over, KSU was in the midst of an 0-26-1 run. The Wildcats went on to play in 11-straight bowl games between the 1993 and 2003. It took him two seasons to fix most of what Ron Prince screwed up, getting Kansas State into the inaugural Pin Stripe Bowl last season.

· KSU has arguably the best defense in the Big 12. The Wildcats are giving up just 345.7 yards per game and are holding their opponents to only 19.5 points. KSU is especially tough on the run, only allowing 96.8 rushing yards per game.

· LB Arthur Brown leads the Wildcats in tackles with 45 on the season. Brown also has 4.5 TFLs for minus 18 yards.

· In the defensive backfield, Nigel Malone has a team-best four interceptions to go along with 27 tackles.

· Like Kansas, KSU prefers to run the football. The Wildcats average 206.0 yards per game on the ground and just 130.2 yards through the air.

· QB Collin Klein leads Kansas State on offense. Klein is averaging 4.2 yards per carry as he has gained 578 yards rushing on 138 attempts. Klein has also completed 70-of-119 passes on the year, good for 739 yards and seven TDs.

· Klein's favorite receiving target is WR Chris Harper (21 catches, 251 yards, three TDs).

· WR Tramaine Thompson is explosive in the return game as he has returned five punts for 70 yards, while freshman WR Tyler Lockett has a 100-yard kick-off return for a TD.

· Coach Bill Snyder was the Iowa Offensive Coordinator when KU Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Chuck Long was Heisman runner-up for the Hawkeyes.

· Kansas LBs coach Vantz Singletary played linebacker for the Wildcats during the 1988 and 1989 seasons and received his degree from KSU in 1990.

· Kansas Director of Football Operations George Matsakis started his career in football at Kansas State under Snyder, working in the video department from 1993-96.

· The Jayhawks are taking on a team ranked in the top 12 for the third straight week. Four of the seven teams KU has played to date are ranked in both of this week's polls.

· It don't get any easier, either: after playing KSU, three of the Jayhawks' next five opponents are either ranked or are receiving votes in the polls.

· JaCorey Shepherd made his first career start at wide receiver against Oklahoma. He is the second true freshman to start a game for KU this year: fellow frosh Marquis Jackson also started at wide receiver against Oklahoma State.

· RB James Sims scored KU's first touchdown on a 56-yard run on a fourth-and-one play. It was Sims' longest run of his career and the longest run from scrimmage by a Jayhawk since the 2006 season.

· RB Rell Lewis caught a 26-yard pass from Jordan Webb in the second quarter, which marked the longest reception of his career.

· RB Darrian Miller scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season and the team's 14th rushing touchdown of the year. Last year, KU recorded 14 rushing touchdowns all season.

· LB Steven Johnson recorded 13 tackles – six solo – in the game, which marked the fourth time this season he had reached double digits in stops. He also broke up a pass and had a quarterback hurry. He is tied for the Big12 lead in tackles and is 14th nationally with 10.5 tackles per game.

· Johnson intercepted OU QB Landry Jones in the fourth quarter – his first INT of his career and the second INT of the year for KU.

· CB Victor Simmons recorded a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the second quarter, marking his first in each category for the freshman.

· KU's defensive backs recorded six pass breakups in the game, which is the most by a Jayhawk team since the Oklahoma State game last season.

· Kansas gave up just three points in the third quarter, marking the first time this season the Jayhawks have held their opponent without a touchdown in the third quarter.

· P Ron Doherty had three punts downed inside the 20-yard line, which doubled his total for the year.

· K Alex Mueller connected on a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter, his longest of the season.

· The 2011 John Mackey Award midseason watch list was released by the Nassau County Sports Commission on October 17, and KU TE Tim Biere was on it. He has accumulated a career-best 246 receiving yards and one touchdown. The award is given annually to the best collegiate tight end, the award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee.

· Kansas WR/KR D.J. Beshears currently has five-straight games in which he has accumulated over 100 yards in kick returns. With 779 yards this season, he ranks third on KU's single season return yards list behind himself (922 in 2010) and Marcus Herford (888 in 2007). Beshears also ranks third at KU in career kick return yardage (1,701), behind Herford (2,075) and Greg Heaggans (1,885).

· The last time KU had a 200-yard rusher was against Kansas State when Jon Cornish carried 25 times for 201 yards in the 2007 matchup.

· WR JaCorey Shepherd is averaging 20.5 yards per catch on his eight receptions.

· Jordan Webb continues to play good football at the QB position: he ranks second in the Big 12 and 16th nationally in passing efficiency, completing 93-of-142 passes (65.5%) for 1,238 yards and 11 TDs with just six picks. Webb's QB rating is 157.8. Webb is leading a Jayhawk offense that is averaging 8.7 yards per pass.

· Kansas has had 17 different players record a reception on the season, with nine of the 17 players being in either their first or second season with the program.

· Thirteen different KU players have scored the team's 26 touchdowns this season. James Sims leads the way with six TDs.

· KU's offense continues to show much improvement over last season. Of KU's 27 plays of more than 20 yards, nine have resulted in TDs. The Jayhawks only managed 31 plays of more than 20 yards during the entire 2010 season with only five of those plays going for touchdowns. Sophomore RB James Sims leads the way with nine "explosives."

· On October 22nd in sports history: Pimlico Racetrack opens in Baltimore (1870)… Lester Patrick becomes the first coach and general manager of the New York Rangers (1926)… Casey Stengel signs on to manage the Boston Bees (1937)… Cleveland Browns QB Otto Graham sets a club record with four fumbles (1953)… Minnesota Vikings D-lineman Jim Marshall picks up a fumble and runs 66 yards to the wrong end zone for a safety…The San Francisco Giants trade slugger Willie McCovey to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Mike Caldwell, while the Cubs trade Fergie Jenkins to the Texas Rangers for Bill Madlock and Vic Harris (1973)… The Denver Nuggets beat the St. Louis Spirits in the first game played in McNichols Arena in Denver… The Padres' Gaylord Perry becomes the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both the American and National Leagues… Yankees owner George Steinbrenner scuffles with two fans in a hotel elevator (1981)… The California Angels announce they will not offer Rod Carew a new contract (1985)… Mookie Wilson's dribbler to first base rolls between Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner's legs, allowing Ray Knight to score and capping a come-0from-behind 6-5 win for the New York Mets in game six of the World Series (1986)… The Minnesota Twins win their first-ever World Series, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games (1987)… Rene Lachemann is named the first manager of the Florida Marlins (1992)… After just 12 years as a franchise, the Florida Marlins win the World Series, four games to two, over the New York Yankees.

· Celebrating birthdays Saturday: Jonathan Lipnicki, whose head still weighs eight pounds (21)… rapper Shaggy (43)… what would Brian Boitano do on his birthday? (48)… vaguely creepy actor Jeff Goldblum (59)… original Mouseketeer and 60's hotty Annette Funicello (69)… and actor Christopher Lloyd (73).

· Also celebrating birthdays on the other side: LSD prophet Dr. Timothy Leary (91)… irrepressible Stooge Curly Howard (108)… and composer Franz Liszt hits the Big Two-Oh-Oh (200).


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