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Originally published November 24, 2013 at 04:07p.m., updated November 25, 2013 at 12:07a.m.

KU football ready to shift focus to Sunflower Showdown

Jayhawks, Wildcats square off at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium

Kansas running back James Sims is trailed by the Kansas State defense during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.

Kansas running back James Sims is trailed by the Kansas State defense during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.

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Minutes after suffering through a bone-chilling 34-0 loss at one-win Iowa State on Saturday, members of the Kansas University football team shifted their focus on to what comes next.

“This’ll be an emotional blow for a day,” KU coach Charlie Weis said after the Jayhawks’ eighth loss of the year. “Because you know who we’re playing next week.”

That team is in-state rival Kansas State, and, for the first time since 1978, the Jayhawks will close out the regular season against the Wildcats at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The matchup is one the Kansas players have been looking forward to for months.

“Definitely,” senior center Gavin Howard said. “After watching film, we’ll forget about (Iowa State). We’ve had K-State circled all season. We’ve had a running clock waiting for this game since the summer. This is the No. 1 game we want to win every single year, so there’s no doubt we’ll bounce back from this.”

KU’s prospects of pulling off its first victory over KSU since 2008 certainly looked a lot better before the team laid an egg at Iowa State. The Jayhawks’ victory over West Virginia on Nov. 16 pumped life back into the program, and with a win at Iowa State, Kansas would have had all kinds of momentum heading into the Sunflower Showdown.

Instead, the Jayhawks (3-8, 1-7 Big 12) enter the week licking their wounds, and the Wildcats, who fell 41-31 to Oklahoma in their home finale, are set to show up in Lawrence as 16.5-point favorites with a 6-5 overall record, 4-4 in conference.

“This is a big game for us and a big game for the Kansas program,” senior running back James Sims said. “A win like this could throw everything out the door. Whatever the record was, OK, we beat Kansas State, our rival, we got bragging rights for a whole year.”

More than bragging rights, Sims said success Saturday would be beneficial to everyone associated with the future of Kansas football.

“It’ll mean a lot to me, as a senior,” Sims said. “And this whole senior class that’s about to get ready to leave, as well as the underclassmen to have something to build on in the offseason. So we’re just looking forward to preparing and getting ready to beat K-State.”

Comments

Bryce Landon 10 months, 1 week ago

If only the fans were looking forward to it. Unfortunately, a Bill Snyder-coached Kansas State team on a bad day is still twenty times better than a Charlie Weis-coached Kansas team on a good day.

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Matt Glassman 10 months, 1 week ago

This will be a game to please those who are nostalgic about the mid to late 90s Sunflower Showdowns.

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Jeffery Barrett 10 months, 1 week ago

2 posts. Wow. Looks like the new policy for commenting is working out well.

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Dirk Medema 10 months, 1 week ago

At least the weather looks to be reasonable.

Maybe we can hang with them for 3 qtrs this year.

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Bryan Mohr 10 months, 1 week ago

Will Weis put another note on Zenger's windshield after the game? What will it say?

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David Kemp 10 months, 1 week ago

Improvement? Scoring offense rank 115/120. Scoring defense 109/120. Numbers speak for themselves, nothing has improved under Charlie Weiss period. And I don't blame the defense due to the 115 offense number.

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Tony Bandle 10 months, 1 week ago

If we beat Kansas State Saturday [granted, this event may qualify in the "monkeys flying out of my butt" category], everyone should get in their cars, drive to Manhattan, Kansas and tear down THEIR goal posts!!!

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Terry N Tom Denner 10 months, 1 week ago

All the Calvary / Super bowl Ring totting coaching staff that Charlie brought to KU and still can't build a team that can win. One more year of this 2 or 3 win crap and Charlie will be moving back to Florida. KST are 16.5 point favorites ?? The game will be over with by the end of the1st qt. End Results will be a score of 56 - 17 KST !!!

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

One or two more years! I thought the standard was two? Also since the majority of comments on here about Turner Gill have been negative since he was fired after two years, I would like to mention that he just tied for his second Big South champlonship in two years with an 8-4 record and did so by defeating a ranked team on the road and scoring over fifty points! Also Zenger said he wanted to take KU football in a different direction and he has. Less wins and no victories over a ranked team as Turner Gill did and the Big Twelve was a far stronger conference during his tenure! Freakin LOL! This is what KU fans wanted, anything but Turner Gill and anyone with a brain that knows anything about anything knows it had nothing whatsoever to do with a lack of wins or coaching ability. If I remember correctly KU was on a seven game losing streak and lost their whole starting offense when he took the job. The chickens are coming home to roost as they always do and I hope all KU football fans who bashed Gill for reasons other than footbll enjoy your crow for Thanksgiving because I know Turner will throughly enjoy his turkey. 8-4, conference champs vs 3-8 losing 34-0 to a last place 1-9 team. Freakin LOL!!!!

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Erich Hartmann 10 months, 1 week ago

Keep tooting the Gill horn, now that he is in a joke conference. Most juco teams could beat Liberty, but you obviously didnt know that. Hey, Im thrilled for Gill that he could go find work against a level of competition he can get some wins. Ahhh, the Liberty-faithful's prayers have been answered! I also heard Liberty has a Men's basketball program, too. Yippee. Regarding KU football, if Weis cannot get 6 wins next year, he's gone too--we shall all see and judge. But Gill was definitely not the answer, as he had no clue (did you watch Turner Gill's press conferences? After the routine 50, 60 point defeats?)

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Jason Keller 10 months, 1 week ago

Now this is a sad state of affairs. KU fans longing for the Turner Gill days.

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Doug Cramer 10 months, 1 week ago

Charles - Gill wasn't gonna get it done here. Either will Weis. I basically have your same opinion...but it's with Mangino. Mangino lost those last 7 games...because those 7 games came after the announcement of an investigation...that was obviously gonna cost Mangino his job. That distraction and Perkins single handed crashed this program.

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Terry N Tom Denner 10 months, 1 week ago

I thought Liberty was in Missouri and was a division lll team ?? No better than the likes of Emporia State NAIA . Just asking and not trying to be a smart butt..

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Len Shaffer 10 months, 1 week ago

It's not in Missouri, it's in Virginia. It was started by Jerry Falwell.

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Jim Jackson 10 months, 1 week ago

Turner coaches in the Big South; this is not a good comparison. We need more Big 12 caliber players; right now we don't have enough.

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

With all due respect there are coaches in the Big South who are not winning. It does not matter what level you are coaching you will lose if you can not evaluate, organize and motivate players. I am sorry but I played college football and we made a huge mistake by firing him after 2 years.

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Erich Hartmann 10 months, 1 week ago

Shoulda never hired him, then we wouldnt have been forced to fire him. I get that people love Gill since he is a man of God & all, but he was in over his head as a BigXII football coach. He never played in the NFL, and was an option/handoff QB for NB. The moves he made with the defense, and the D coordinator after Torbush's illness...was just smacking of cluelessness-->and wouldnt ya know it was said that at Nebr, Gill was the first one to sneak out of the film sessions...that fact doesnt paint the picture of Gill as a student of the game, does it...Gill's best moves should have been to hire competent O- and D-coordinators, which would have allowed him to take the credit. But lets not forget the 12-14 academic ineligibles that Weis found, as well as the "conditioning-is-optional" approach to 4th qtr toughness, as well as the off-field issues by a few. And events proved they were the wrong moves. But dont worry, same logic will apply to Weis if he doesnt get it done next season, but at least he has umpteen ideas, if not the player personnel to run those ideas...and having to "clean house" like Weis did, absolutely did NO favors to the KU roster, and trying to execute Weis's more complex football schemes and plays. Clean-house meant a loooonger rebuild, and unfortunately, KU fans are sufferring through that right about now. Thanks, Mr. Gill, I wish you well, sir.

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Jason Keller 10 months, 1 week ago

Charles, coach Gill lost conference games by an average of like 35 points. Should this discussion continue? For two years he got whipped from start to finish and if anything there were signs of regression.

I see what you're saying about the 2 years thing and that is why I agree that Charlie should get a 3rd year. I'm just not sure I expect anything different.

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Robert Brown 10 months, 1 week ago

If Charlie Weis or any other coach had come in here with a 3, 4, or 5 year plan to reach respectability, the fans would be more forgiving. Instead, he thought he could win right away by bringing in transfers. There is no other reason to bring in Dayne Crist unless you thought you could win last year. Remember, most people thought this was a bad hire.

A new coach would have been better suited to recruit his type of players and let them take their lumps, but watch them develop over the next few years.

Weis brings in two 5 star QBs (who are coached down to 2-3 stars). We all know how important QB is have having seen what Todd Reesing can do. I have to think that Weis came here thinking he could quickly right the ship (and improve is reputation) so he could take a different job in a 2-3 years. That did not work out and so now we are stuck with each other.

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Erich Hartmann 10 months, 1 week ago

Uh, your comment totally left out the same group of WRs who have been frightfully "busy" dropping balls game after game after game, even when the weather was warm...These WRs couldnt catch balls from 2 x 5star QBs...As Ive said before, its time for a wholesale shakeup at WR (except for Harwell + Pierson). I'd have left Turzilli in Iowa, and made him wear an "elijah johnson" jersey up there in Ames...for those "IowaState fans" amusement, since he did nothing, just nothing/ever/never on the field. We are seeing WRs who have NO business in the BigXII, and they kill drive after drive after drive, game after game. Sims got us the WVa win, not the WRs.

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Len Shaffer 10 months, 1 week ago

Erich, you're being way too kind to the wide receivers. They have no business being in ANY division of college football.

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

Eric you are the one who is clueless. If everything you say about Gill is true please explain how he has won everywhere he has been except KU?

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

Eric you are the one who is clueless. If everything you say about Gill is true please explain how he has won everywhere he has been except KU? And if you have not noticed he doing extremely well!!

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Len Shaffer 10 months, 1 week ago

Terry Allen had won elsewhere too. There's a difference between winning at a smaller level and winning in D1. Did you actually WATCH the games that KU played under Gill??? They were HORRIBLE! And it wasn't just a lack of talent; there were all kinds of signs that they had no clue what they were doing out there. As bad as they've been under Weis, they were even worse under Gill. I supported him at first, but was able to clearly see with my own eyes that a change was desperately needed. I can't see how anyone can say that Gill deserved more time at KU.

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Matt Glassman 10 months, 1 week ago

He has had 2 other head coaching jobs other than KU. At Buffalo he went 21-30 with only one winning season. At Liberty his teams have hung around .500 but play in FCS. Winning "everywhere he has been" is not at all accurate.

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

Hover around five-hundred? He just went 8-4 this year???

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

I forgot to mention he played for a national title while quatterback at Nebraska and took Buffalo to their first and only bowl game in their history. His first year at Liberty he was 6-5 but tied for the conference championship. The man is a proven winner! How do you think he got the job at Liberty immediately after being fired by KU? Your comments are baffeling and disingenious. The kids at Liberty have championship rings the past two years. The kids at KU have a 4-20 record because you did not let the coach finish the job that everyone knows takes a minimum of three years in arguebly the toughest conference in the nation at the time.

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

Len, God bless you but surely you cannot be a true Jayhawk football fan if you try to make a point by mis-leading the readers! Number one,Terry Allen did win at UNI before coming to Kansas. However,have you checked his record since leaving KU and coaching at Southwest Missouri? Number two how can you compare Turner Gill's opportunity, who was given two years to Allen who was given five. Have you checked Turner Gill's record at Liberty the last two years? These clues he did not have at KU somehow work really well now. As a matter of fact if Gill was only given three years I would not have an argument. Two years in what was arguably the best conference at that time, are you serious! Ask Kansas State about North Dakota State or Oregon State about Eastern Washington or Michigan about Applalachian State and last but not least Florida about Georgia Southern? So explain the difference to me again the difference between winning at a smaller level,because obviously I have no clue.Oh and by the way didn't Urban Meyer win at Bowling Green and Utah? As far as watching the games I am a college football connoisseur and avid Jayhawks fan. They tried to recruit me in the seventies but I went to and played at UNLV instead. And by the way, Gary Pinkel who came from Toledo lost his first two years at Missouri and where are they now? Its sickening the justification people give for firing a coach after two years in a conference like the Big Twelve. Oh and by the way, breaking news report states that Will Muschamp will return to Florida next year. They are a football tradition school and has top ten recruiting classes yearly. Hello, anybody home? Are you starting to get the picture here Ken? Oh I forgot there is a difference between Turner Gill and Will Muschamp!

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Erich Hartmann 10 months, 1 week ago

Charles, I am truly sorry you feel compelled to defend Turner Gill. That is absolutely your God-given right, if you chose to do so.

It is too bad you werent there to convince the WilliamsFund donor base, who collectively had "enough" of Turner Gill, and privately raised the funds to buy Gill out, just so they could send him packing. I personally didnt have that big of an issue with Mangino, and feel he got railroaded by Perkins. There were unsettling reports of Mangino's behavior...but that got "used" by Perkins. The difference is Gill left an impression on many, many alumni-donors that they (evidently) couldnt tolerate.

To me, next season is a make/break season for Weis. If a "passing"/O-coord background coach cannot get the passing game going, it simply was destined not to be (under this coach). Im a loooong time NFL fan of several AFC and NFC teams--> the biggest problem teams have is talent and/or execution. KU's problem is both. Lets see what happens...RCJH.

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Erich Hartmann 10 months, 1 week ago

Charles, also, not to nitpick...but saying "if what (I) say is true" is no qualifier to your entirely different point about Gill winning elsewhere. It is a public fact, noted in journalism stories about Gill's players' problems with academics, conditioning, and a few off-field issues. You follow KU football, so you really should easily remember these facts. Fact is Gill got fired because he couldnt win HERE, in the BigXII...little to do with winning "elsewhere". A lot of the information from within Gill's program came from his own players. Gill may do fine coaching in the BigSouth, but his own players didnt feel they were being prepped and gameplanned effectively to compete in the BigXII.

Again, I wont condemn you for defending your man Gill. I'm not tied to any 1 KU coach...simply want KU football to be competetive in our conference. No matter who the coach is, as long as he gets that goal accomplished. Personally, I am willing to give Weis 1 more year, if only for the fact we cannot be running coaches off every 2yrs. Yes, it may have been a stark fact to fire Gill after only 2yrs...but, hey, the WilliamsFund people thought they were justified, and ponied up the private $$$ to get it done. Gill angered the wrong people. Again, I am sorry that episode caused you pain, and clearly still does. Take care.

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Randy Bombardier 10 months, 1 week ago

Okay fellas, let's meet in the middle. Truth is that no coach should get fired after two years. Personally I think a coach should have a bare minimum of 4 years with 5 preferably. The only exception is a significant scandal or criminal conduct. Yes TG had a great win over Ga Tech one year but then we were thoroughly embarrassed the next year. And we are more competitive and D is better under Weis although ironically I think Gill had a better O. If things don't get better Weis will probably get 4 and we should be okay with that. For all we know we could finish 6-6 next year and I think we'd all be glad we didn't start all over...again.

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Mark Lindrud 10 months, 1 week ago

I'll say 3-4 years for a coach to turn things around. Unfortunately, this day in age when some coaches can come in and make a winner in a year or two the patience for success isn't like it used to be. We will probably end up with 3 wins this rear and at least that's something. I'm not saying Weis is great, but it's something. Now, year 3 needs to be a major improvement since we had a few minor ones this year. Next year we honestly need to get at least 5 wins for it to be a success.

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Charles Bell 10 months, 1 week ago

Thanks for the feedback guys but its not about Gill being my personal choice. Randy you finally said what I have been trying to illustrate. Two years in the Big Twelve and Reesing, Mier and Briscoe all graduated Not to mention a seven game losig streak, are you serious? Erich the so called problems you just mentioned can be found at Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Miami, etc., Correct me if Im' wrong but wasn' there a quarterback who started for Notre Dame and led them to the national title game who was dismissed for academic cheating? As far as players not being prepped and gamplanned to compete in the Big twelve, does 1-18 sound like were better prepared or gameplanned? Everyone knows the Big 12 is down. There are no Landry Jones, RGIII , Colt McCoy's or Colin Klein playing quarterback. Kenny Stills, Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon are all playing on Sunday. Did you hear the commentary during the Iowa State game? They are young and expecting to be better next year. We had a former 4 or 5 star quarterback and you guys know we expected better this year when the conference is down. I remember watching Bobby Douglas playing Penn State in the Orange Bowl. I remember Nolan Cromwell and John Riggins. We can win at KU but its sickening to see what Missouri is doing because they decided to give Pinkel a third year and he proved them right.

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