Jayhawk Insider: A Sunflower Showdown Memory
Nearly five years ago a 6-foot-2, 210-pound freshman walked into the Anderson Family Football Complex, set to do whatever he could to contribute to the Kansas football program.
Now, 36 games into his career and 349 tackles (42.0 for a loss) later, Lawrence native Joe Dineen Jr. is on the final leg of his Kansas career.
Many knew Dineen would contribute to the Jayhawk program in one way or another, but few could have guessed the impact he would have on the field, the records books and the community.
Up for a number of postseason awards, including the Senior CLASS Award, Dineen has made many memories in his time as a student-athlete at the University of Kansas. One memory that has yet to be made, however, is coming off the field victorious over in-state rival Kansas State. He hopes to change that on Saturday, when the Jayhawks travel to Manhattan to take on a 3-6 (1-5 Big 12) K-State squad.
Although he doesn’t have that memory of beating the Wildcats as a player (yet), his first recollection of Kansas football is one of that nature.
October 9, 2004:
Dineen brothers Joe and Jay prepared to head to Memorial Stadium with their aunt and uncle to watch the 2-3 Jayhawks take on the Kansas State Wildcats, who were coming into Lawrence with a 2-2 record. The brothers painted their chests in crimson and blue and set off towards The Hill.
The Wildcats were riding an 11-year winning streak over the Jayhawks at that point, but 50,152 fans showed up to Memorial Stadium for the 6:20 p.m. kickoff in hopes of seeing that streak end.
A different kind of electricity was in the air that night, and when KU quarterback Adam Barmann led an 11-play, 53-yard drive in the first quarter that ended with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Lyonel Anderson to give Kansas the first score of the game, the crowd exploded – including the shirtless Dineen brothers, who were perched in the southwest corner of the stadium.
Kansas State answered the opening touchdown by the Jayhawks with field goals of 49 and 37 yards by Joe Rheem in the second quarter to cut the lead KU to just one point, 7-6, at the half.
Out of the intermission, the Jayhawks scored 10 unanswered points in the third quarter, with KU kicker Johnny Beck hitting a 27-yard field goal just under five minutes into the half, then John Randle hauling in a 24-yard pass from Barmann less than two minutes later.
Holding a 17-6 lead, the Jayhawks knew Kansas State could make their move, and they did with Wildcat quarterback and Pittsburg, Kansas native Dylan Meier leading a 15-play, 85-yard drive, that ended with the signal caller scrambling into the end zone from two-yards out. K-State went for two, with running back Darren Sproles converting on the attempt to cut the Kansas lead to a field goal with 2:20 remaining in the third.
With momentum starting to tip the way of the visitors, Meier silenced the Kansas crowd – at least momentarily – by finding wide receiver Tony Madison for an 86-yard score to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game with 13:20 remaining in the contest.
Things looked to be getting out of hand quick. Five plays after the K-State score, backup KU quarterback Jason Swanson was sacked and fumbled the ball, with KSU’s Brandon Archer recovering at the K-State 43-yard line.
Luckily, the Jayhawks defense held pat and forced the Wildcats to attempt a 49-yard field goal, which was blocked by Jermail Ashley, eliciting a noticeable pop from the KU faithful.
With a spark back in the stadium, the Jayhawks took the momentum brought on by the blocked kick and used it to fuel two-straight scoring drives, with a defensive three-and-out mixed in between.
Swanson connected with KU’s Mark Simmons for a 31-yard touchdown pass with 5:28 remaining before the Kansas defense stuffed the Wildcat offense for negative four yards on the ensuing drive to force a punt.
Two plays later, Randle took a handoff 43 yards to the house, with the extra point putting the Jayhawks up 10 with just 3:16 left to play.
Kansas State was quick to score, driving 80 yards in nine plays, with Meier hitting Yamon Figurs for a 51-yard gain, then finding Brian Casey for an eight-yard score, bringing the score to 31-28 after the extra point by Rheem.
With 2:06 remaining, the Wildcats lined up for an onside, needing to recover the ball to keep their hopes alive, but KU’s Charles Gordon recovered the kick and the Jayhawks were able to run out the clock and edge the Wildcats by three points, giving them their first win against K-State since 1992.
The Jayhawk faithful – including the young Dineen brothers – went wild, storming the field to celebrate with the team.
Now, 14 years later, the Jayhawks have lost nine straight contests to the in-state rivals, but many, including Dineen, think it is time for that streak to come to an end.
“To go down there and to win in front of their home crowd…” Dineen continued, “It would be incredible and it would be something for me to be really proud of.”