As the football team gears up to host the Kansas Jayhawks for the Sunflower Showdown, senior running back Harry Trotter gears up for his last meeting with the in-state rival.
But this isn’t the side Trotter thought he’d be playing for. Growing up a KU fan, he thought he’d show up for the Jayhawks in the rivalry, but he’s honored to be a part of it.
“I think [this rivalry] is definitely important,” Trotter said. “I think for all the Kansas kids being born and raised here, it’s for bragging rights, it’s a fun game every year — highly competitive, very emotional game. … I’m super thankful to be here. It’s a fun game every year, and we look forward to it.”
As a senior, he knows it’s his job to make sure his younger teammates understand the importance of the rivalry because the last thing the members of the Kansas State team want to do is lose this game.
“Some of us talked yesterday in a team meeting, some Kansas kids about just how important it was to us,” Trotter said. “We just made it for them like how Texas kids really enjoy playing UT or for Oklahoma kids, like AJ [Parker], they get to play OU, and it’s that type of game for us. They know how important it is, and I’m sure all of the young guys will come ready to play.”
Trotter is having a productive senior season. He rushed for 113 yards on 36 carries along with two touchdowns. Whether it’s scoring a touchdown or helping the team get productive rushing yards, he wants to do whatever it takes to help his team keep the Governor’s Cup.
This is head coach Chris Klieman’s second Sunflower Showdown, and he recognizes its importance to the players and the program.
“I’ve only been here for one year, but for the state of Kansas, it’s a big deal,” Klieman said. “For those kids from Missouri, it’s a big deal. So many of our guys know a lot of players on their team. Anytime you have teams from the same state going against each other at any level, and now you throw in Big 12 and Power 5, I think it’s a big deal. I know it is. Our kids, alums and fan base and community and state, this is a big game. Our guys are excited for the opportunity.”
The Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks last season, and Trotter plans to do his part to make sure the team is ready to do the same this season.
“It was very satisfying [to beat Kansas last season],” Trotter said. “I knew going into the week I was going to be leaned on a little bit more. So, I just tried to prepare the best I could. I thought, as a team last year, Monday through Friday, we had a great week of practice. We stayed away from distractions, and I think that is what helped us win that game. It’s something I will definitely remember, but the past is the past, and we have to play well again this year.”
The Sunflower Showdown will kick off at noon on Saturday in Manhattan on Fox Sports One.