No. 7 K-State, Kansas meet in Sunflower Showdown


No. 7 K-State, Kansas meet in Sunflower Showdown

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Charlie Weis wanted to give his team a lesson in the Sunflower Showdown ahead of his first game against Kansas State, so the new Kansas coach figured he'd better bone up on it himself.

``I had to go back and find out all about the Governor's Cup,'' Weis said this week, ``see how this has all gone, and read about how it used to be the Governor's Trophy.''

He read about the recent history, too.

While Kansas owns a decisive advantage in a series that stretches to 1902, the Wildcats have dominated it for more than two decades, ever since the arrival of Bill Snyder in Manhattan prior to the 1989 season. There was a stretch of 11 straight victories, and currently three in a row.

``Any time you play an in-state rival, there's something to play for, and the players have to understand there's something to play for,'' Weis said. ``Since Coach Snyder has gotten to K-State, things have gone big-time their way. He's 16-4 in the series himself.''

Most people don't figure the outcome Saturday will be much different.

The seventh-ranked Wildcats (4-0) are rolling after beating Oklahoma on the road two weeks ago, while the Jayhawks (1-3) have blown two fourth-quarter leads this season.

Both teams were off last week.

Kansas State is led by a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Collin Klein, a defense that has gotten better with age, a steady ground game and evolving passing attack.

The Jayhawks' only victory came against lower-division South Dakota State.

So, yes, Weis knows the deck is stacked against him.

``Starting with the head coach, that might be their biggest advantage. Absolutely,'' he said this week. ``Even with all that being said, OK, you still play the game. Not to be sarcastic, I'm just stating the facts. This is who they are. So what you do as a head coach, and this trickles down to the other roles I play, what you then do is say, `What are we going to do about it.'

``You can't just say, `Let's go in there and keep it close. Let's keep it close for the fan base,''' Weis added. ``I'd rather lose by a hundred, trying to win.''

Some years, it looked like Kansas State would win by 100.

Three straight during Snyder's first tenure, the Wildcats piled up at least 50 points against the woebegone Jayhawks. The following year, they merely won 40-6, before a 64-0 win in 2002 that remains the most lopsided game in the history of the series.

Even the years Kansas has been good have been difficult against the neighbors to the west. The Jayhawks were 7-0 and ranked No. 6 when they took the familiar trip down Interstate 70 in 1995, only for the 14th-ranked Wildcats to pin a 41-7 victory on them.

Kansas finally broke through under former coach Mark Mangino, beating the Wildcats in 2004 and then rattling off three straight once Snyder stepped away for a brief retirement.

But things have gotten back to usual ever since the silver-haired fox returned. Snyder beat Kansas in his first year back, one of only six wins by the Wildcats that season, and has shepherded his team to victories the past two seasons by a combined score of 118-28.

``Every game means everything,'' Snyder said. ``This is significant because you've got a lot of youngsters who are from the state, and they talk about bragging rights, etcetera, got to go home in the summer time with the same youngsters who play for Kansas, and it's true for both sides.

``They're all highly motivated,'' he said. ``You get 12 games a season, maybe 13. That's 12 times for a competitive young guy to really be competitive, and that's 12 out of 365 (days). That's it. There isn't any more. How could you pass up the opportunity to do what you love to do and be as competitive as you love to be in any game that you play? I think they all feel that.''

The importance Kansas State places on the rivalry is evident the moment you walk into the football complex, where the Governor's Cup sits in a case in the middle of the room. The rest of the program's hardware, from Big 12 titles to bowl games, is in a separate trophy case.

Kansas hasn't looked at the Wildcats the same way, at least not historically. Sure, it's a game that the Jayhawks always want to win, but their bitter rival has always been Missouri.

Now, with the Tigers off to the SEC, the Sunflower Showdown is the biggest game in town.

``We always felt like it was more important to them, and when you are going into a fight and somebody feels like it is more important to them, that shows,'' said Kansas wide receiver Daymond, a Texas native who has learned to appreciate the rivalry. ``Going into this year, it's mutual.

``You're our rival and we're your rival, so let's get it on.''

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Early favorites for Wizards' 1st round pick; Mark Turgeon joins the show

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Early favorites for Wizards' 1st round pick; Mark Turgeon joins the show

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chris Miller caught up with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon at the NBA Combine.

Turgeon talked about his three draft-eligible players and what this time is like advising them. Chris and Chase Hughes also gave their early favorites for the Wizards' first round pick and their biggest takeaways from the NBA Combine measurements.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Redskins G Arie Kouandjio likely out for the season

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Redskins G Arie Kouandjio likely out for the season

The news about Arie Kouandjio’s quad injury didn’t sound good when NBC Sports Washington broke it a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t sound any better when Jay Gruden said that they were seeking a second opinion. 

And now we have word that Kouandjio will be out for the season, per multiple media reports. While there was some initial hope that he might be able to play at some point this season, he is likely to be put on injured reserve soon. 

The corresponding move is expected to be the signing of guard Isaiah Williams, per JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. He spent training camp with the Redskins in 2016 and 2017 before being released in the final cuts. Last year he also spent time with the Chiefs and the Colts but he has yet to appear in an NFL game. 

At worst, the Redskins have lost their starter at left guard. Kouandjio was set to compete with Shawn Lauvao for that job. Lauvao, who has been the starter at left guard going into the season for each of the last four years, would have been tough to unseat, but the 26-year-old Kouandjio may have had the inside track.

And at best, the Redskins lost experienced depth. Last year, when injuries hit hard along the offensive line, Kouandjio was re-signed and he started six games. It’s tough to lose experienced depth before the players even put pads on.

We will see if the Redskins make a move to shore up the guard position. Over the next couple of weeks, teams will be evaluating their veteran players and their rookies to see if they have younger and cheaper options. That could lead to some serviceable players getting released or some quality options being put on the trading block. 

The Redskins likely are set to get four compensatory draft picks in 2019, which would give them a total of 11 selections. They certainly could afford to deal one of those picks if they are offered a chance to upgrade at left guard. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.