Wildcats gear up for 114th Sunflower Showdown

K-State fans hold a sign during the football game between K-State and Kansas on Nov. 28, 2015, at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

Head coach Bill Snyder has won a lot of games; 199 of them to be exact, with 20 of those wins coming against Kansas. Snyder and Kansas State will look to get numbers 200 and 21, today when the Wildcats take on the Jayhawks.

K-State is coming off a big victory against Baylor Nov. 19. K-State struggled on both sides of the ball in the first half of that game but turned it around big time in the second half to win 42-21.

The Wildcats’ success came on the shoulders of redshirt freshman running back Alex Barnes. Barnes ran for 129 yards and four touchdowns.

“I knew that we as a unit would have a big day on the ground,” Barnes said of the rushing attack. “So I didn’t realize that it would be me specifically, but I knew that we were going to get it done.”

K-State has rushed for 200 or more yards in its last four games and will keep with the hot hand at running back as Barnes will start the game against Kansas.

Things could bode well for K-State as the Jayhawks have struggled against the run all year. Kansas has the No. 111 rush defense in the nation, allowing 226.8 yards per game.

The Wildcats will also look to take advantage of Kansas’ inability to win on the road. It’s no secret the Jayhawks have been a very bad team the last couple of years and that has especially been true for Big 12 road games. KU’s last Big 12 road win was in 2008 against Iowa State.

Despite all those stats, the Jayhawks come in to the game riding an incredible high. KU had a potential program-changing win against Texas Nov. 19. It was the Jayhawks’ first Big 12 win in two years and the first of head coach David Beaty’s tenure.

The Jayhawks’ newfound success has come with true freshman quarterback Carter Stanley at the helm. Stanley took over late in their game against West Virginia and started the last two games. Stanley threw for 220 yards against Texas.

Snyder said they need to stay focused on playing Kansas.

“When you think about how you try to prepare people in your program,” Snyder said to K-State Sports. “We always talk about keeping it between the white lines and making every thought and every moment in every hour of every day focused on the task at hand. For them, that may be in the classroom or with their family. As it relates to football, it is that total investment in all that goes on. That is true for me and true for coaches as well.”

Today will also be Senior Day for 24 K-State football players. The chance to play one last game in Bill Snyder Family Stadium looms large for those 24. Senior wide receiver Deante Burton said he will most remember the people at K-State.

“Just the people,” Burton said to K-State Sports. “I have been blessed to be around a lot of interesting people. I got an opportunity to be around all of you. You have seen me grow up. I have been around a lot of good people and that is something that I will not forget — so many things that you learn and so many faces after being here for so long.”

The Wildcats and Jayhawks will kick off in Bill Snyder Family Stadium at 11 a.m. The game can be seen on FS1.

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