As Sun­flower Show­downs go, this KU-KSU game has some added in­trigue

The Kansas City Star - - Sports - BY KELLIS ROBI­NETT AND JESSE NEWELL krobi­nett@wi­chi­taea­gle.com jnewell@kc­star.com

by the deep ball as they did last week in a 27-3 loss to Iowa State.

It’s still a tough game to gauge be­cause of the cir­cum­stances and emo­tions in­volved.

Will KU’s play­ers come out in­spired to play for lame-duck Beaty?

And how good will KU’s game plan be, with most of the Jay­hawks’ as­sis­tants deal­ing this week with the re­al­ity they will likely be em­ployed else­where next sea­son?

Kansas has been aw­ful in Big 12 road games re­cently, with its last con­fer­ence win away from Booth Memo­rial Sta­dium com­ing more than 10 years ago. And if things don’t start out well for the Jay­hawks in this one, it’s only rea­son­able to won­der whether KU’s play­ers will be mo­ti­vated to fight through ad­ver­sity on a cold day in a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment.

Beaty has re­peat­edly preached the im­por­tance of fast

starts for his team, and the first quar­ter will be cru­cial in this one.

It’ll likely de­ter­mine whether KU con­tin­ues an “us-against-the-world” men­tal­ity for three more quar­ters ... or per­haps un­der­stand­ably lets up while deal­ing with a dif­fi­cult set of off-field cir­cum­stances.

Just know­ing KU’s road his­tory, I’m more in­clined to think K-State will win this one com­fort­ably.

AND FROM THE K-STATE SIDE­LINE ...

There are few things Bill Sny­der has done bet­ter as K-State’s foot­ball coach than beat the Jay­hawks. He hasn’t lost to KU any­where since 2004, and his last Sun­flower Show­down de­feat at home came in 1989.

But that his­tory will be put to the test on Sat­ur­day in what, on pa­per, should be one of the more com­pet­i­tive re­cent games in this ri­valry.

For once, this feels like a toss-up.

K-State will be lim­ited on of­fense with Alex Del­ton ex­pected to start at quar­ter­back as Sky­lar Thomp­son re­cov­ers from a head in­jury suf­fered last week against TCU. And Pooka Wil­liams won’t be easy for K-State’s de­fense to han­dle.

But the Wild­cats are used to win­ning this game and they will be play­ing at home, where they whooped Ok­la­homa State last month.

Ex­pect K-State to find a way to win a close game.

Kellis Robi­nett’s pick:

K-State 24, KU 21 Jesse Newell’s pick: 34, KU 10 KS­tate

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