Kansas-Kansas St. Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 02, 2012
On the heels of one of the biggest wins in program history, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has cautioned his players of avoiding a letdown as they come out of their bye week. Succumbing to struggling Kansas, however, seems unlikely. The seventh-ranked Wildcats look to win their fourth straight Sunflower Showdown on Saturday and send the Jayhawks to their worst start in more than two decades. Kansas State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) has been off since defeating then-No. 6 Oklahoma 24-19 in Norman on Sept. 22, avenging last October's 41-point home loss to the Sooners. Collin Klein threw for 149 yards, ran for 79 and put the Wildcats up for good with a 5-yard score with 13:16 remaining. "It was a very positive thing, but at the same time, it is just another step,'' Klein said. "It was just another game, and we have to remember why we're doing what we're doing, why we've done what we've done, and where those decisions have led us to now, and then just to keep pressing on forward.'' By beating the Sooners - the highest-ranked team Kansas State has ever defeated on the road - the Wildcats moved up eight spots in the AP Poll. "There's a great deal of pressure on maintaining any success that you have,'' linebacker Arthur Brown said. "Coach Snyder, being as he is, he's definitely going to keep our minds where they need to be in order for us to not stay settled within a moment but to continue to just improve.'' Kansas State should have a good shot of taking a step forward against Kansas (1-3, 0-1), a team it's outscored by an average of 32.3 points in winning the three meetings since Snyder's return from retirement in 2009. The Wildcats have also won 12 straight home games over unranked opponents by an average of 17.8 points, while the Jayhawks have lost 14 consecutive road games. Kansas has been outscored 141-51 in its three contests against ranked opponents over this stretch. The Jayhawks look significantly different from the last time these rivals met, with Charlie Weis roaming the sidelines and ex-Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist running the offense, but that hasn't added up to many wins. Kansas hasn't played since coughing up a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead in falling to Northern Illinois 30-23 on Sept. 22, its third straight defeat. Crist went 10 of 26 for 147 yards and was sacked four times, finishing his second straight game without a touchdown pass. Kansas has opened with three losses in four games for the first time since 2002, and is trying to avoid its worst start since the 1990 team began 1-5-1. The Jayhawks allowed an opponent season-high 220 rushing yards against the Huskies, and that doesn't bode well for facing a Kansas State offense that ranks 14th in the FBS in rushing, averaging 242.0 yards per game. Klein has 289 yards on the ground and a team-best five touchdown runs - to go with his 758 yards passing and five TDs - while John Hubert has a team-high 426 rushing yards. Both ran for 92 yards against the Jayhawks last season, with Klein scoring four rushing TDs and Hubert getting one in a 59-21 victory. The Jayhawks have averaged 128.0 yards rushing in their last two games after averaging 229.0 in their first two, and they'll probably have more trouble trying to move the ball on the ground against Kansas State, which is 15th in the FBS against the run at 93.3 yards per game. Kansas leading rusher Tony Pierson has totaled 65 yards in the last two after amassing 244 in the first two.
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