K-State claims 7th straight Sunflower Showdown, 45-14

| November 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The latest installment of the Sunflower Showdown looked a lot like the previous five. The players were different and the crowd was smaller on a frigid day at Memorial Stadium, but Kansas State’s establishment of dominance was as firm as ever.

The Wildcats got off to the fast start they’ve lacked for weeks, then cruised to a 45-14 victory over Kansas to retain the Governor’s Cup.

Aside from allowing a KU touchdown drive to tie the game at seven, K-State was flawless in the first quarter, scoring three touchdowns on offense and another on special teams. The game was essentially decided within minutes of kickoff.

“The first half was satisfying,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “I can’t say the same for the second half. But I’m glad we won, and we played well enough to do so.”

Winston Dimel scored K-State’s first two touchdowns of the day on a pair of runs in the first eight minutes of the first quarter. Just 90 seconds after his one-yard plunge put the Wildcats in front 14-7, Morgan Burns fell on a blocked punt in the end zone.

A week of speculation that KU could score an upset was gone before some fans had reached their seats.

“It’s always significant to start games well,” Snyder said. “Oklahoma State was probably our last one. But we didn’t put two halves back to back, and to be a good football team, you have to do that.”

K-State (5-6, 2-6 Big 12) ran the ball at will against the Jayhawks in the first half and topped 200 yards on the ground for just the third time this season. Joe Hubener led the way with 88 yards and two scores, while Charles Jones added 70 yards on 13 carries.

Hubener also completed 10 of 17 passes for 133 yards.

The Wildcats led 35-7 at halftime. After KU’s 79-yard touchdown drive early in the first quarter, the Jayhawks totaled just 246 yards of offense the rest of the way, which includes a 93-yard drive in the final minutes of the game against K-State’s reserves.

Snyder was pleased with the effort from his defense – for part of the game, anyway.

“I’m glad they didn’t run that same route again,” Snyder said in reference to KU’s 27-yard touchdown completion in the first quarter. “We are capable of being a good team, but you can’t be a good team until you string an entire game together.”

Kansas finished its season 0-12, becoming the first team in Big 12 history to go winless through an entire season.

Beating KU has always been a priority for Bill Snyder, who now has 20 victories over the Jayhawks in his career.

“I appreciate all the people in the state of Kansas,” he said. “Everyone has a side. It means a lot to so many people – KU people, just like it means a lot to K-State people – so, that makes it very meaningful to me.”

K-State’s win sets up a pivotal regular season finale. A victory over West Virginia next week would send the Wildcats to their sixth consecutive bowl game. A loss could keep the Wildcats home for the holidays if they aren’t called upon to fill an empty bowl slot.

Having talked about the importance of a bowl game for weeks, K-State understands the significance of the one guaranteed game it has left.

“Other than the Governor’s trophy, all we talked about (after the game) was preparation for next week,” Snyder said. “It all boils down to that.”

But on Saturday, the Wildcats could only take care of one game, and they did so with an ease that has become the standard in this rivalry.

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