Sunflower Showdown Visits Memorial Stadium

Oct. 5, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The University of Kansas (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) football team looks to return to the win column on Saturday when the team hosts Kansas State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) in the 102nd edition of the Sunflower Showdown. Kickoff from KU’s Memorial Stadium is scheduled for 6:20 p.m.

The contest against the Wildcats also represents KU’s homecoming game and marks the first time since the 1990 season that the Wildcats have been KU’s homecoming foe — a game which the Jayhawks won, 27-24. Kansas holds a 38-47-5 all-time record in its homecoming games and has won five of its last seven homecoming contests.

Sophomore running back John Randle had his best game in a KU uniform last week as the Wichita, Kan., native, set a career-best with 105 rushing yards against Nebraska — the most yards allowed on the ground by the NU defense all season. En route to his second 100-plus yard rushing performance of the season, Randle carried the ball a career-high 23 times.

The KU defense continues to shine as eight different Jayhawk defenders have intercepted at least one pass this season — including two apiece by senior safety Tony Stubbs, sophomore safety Rodney Harris and sophomore cornerback Charles Gordon. Each of the last three seasons, the KU defense has recorded just 12 total picks, leaving the 2004 Jayhawks just one interception shy of equalling that number. In fact, the last time KU had more than 12 interceptions in a season occurred in 1996 when the team collected 15 INTs.

Kansas State enters the game against the Jayhawks after dropping its Big 12 opener, 42-30, at Texas A&M. Led by senior running back Darren Sproles, the Wildcats rank fifth in the Big 12 with an average of 220.2 rushing yards per game. Special teams play figures to be a factor in the contest as both KU (2nd, 24.2 ypr) and K-State (3rd, 23.8 ypr) rank among the league’s top three in kickoff returns.

“I see a lot of good things with this K-State team,” said KU head coach Mark Mangino. “On offense they have Darren Sproles — one of the best running backs in the country. He is strong, quick and makes a lot of plays. He is just a phenomenal player.”

Series Notes – The 2004 renewal of the Sunflower Showdown marks the 102nd all-time meeting between Kansas and Kansas State … Kansas holds a 61-35-5 series advantage over the Wildcats, including a 34-15-2 record while playing in Lawrence … KU’s 61 victories against the Wildcats represent the most wins over any opponent in Jayhawk history … The rivalry qualifies as the sixth-longest continuous rivalry (93 games since 1902) in NCAA history and ranks 15th in most games played between two opponents at 101 games … KSU has won the last 11 meetings … Since 1969, the two teams have played for the Governor’s Cup, which was first established by then-governor Robert Docking … The original trophy was retired following the 1996 season and is now housed in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.