Kansas-Kansas State: Five Bold Predictions
After KU's dismal beginning to its season and KSU's humbling defeat at the hands of Nebraska last week, expectations have been tempered for 2010's Sunflower Showdown.
While the matchup may not have an impact on the national level, this game remains significant in the race for first place in the Big 12 North and postseason bowl positioning.
More than that, though, this game takes on extra meaning because of the disgust these teams and universities share for one another.
After years of one-sided affairs in both football (KSU) and basketball (KU), the schools have become competitive in both sports. In turn, this rivalry carries more intensity than perhaps at any other point in its storied history.
Thursday night marks the 108th meeting between KU and K-State, with the former holding the long-term edge in the series with 65 victories.
Here are five bold predictions for tonight's Sunflower Showdown in Lawrence, KS.
KU RB D.J. Beshears Will Gain 150 Total Yards
The KSU defense has struggled all year with keeping speed in check, and in Beshears KU has one of the most electrifying players in the Big 12.
Expect him to make big plays in both the running and passing game for the Jayhawks, who will need all the help they can get from their offense's most dynamic player.
KSU RB Daniel Thomas Will Put Up Big Numbers
KU's defense has struggled more against the pass than the run this season, but they've yet to face a player like Thomas. One of the country's most underrated stars, Thomas is a sure-fire first-day NFL draft pick, combining rare size with very quick feet and burst through run lanes.
Against an undersized and unathletic KU front seven, Thomas could be in the area of 200 yards rushing as the game enters the fourth quarter.
KU WR Daymond Patterson Will Score a Long TD
KU's Patterson is one of the most dangerous players in the conference with the ball in his hands. Against a Wildcats defense lacking speed at a few positions, Patterson will have every opportunity to take a short throw and make a big play with his feet after the catch.
In front of what is sure to be a raucous KU crowd, he is due for a big play.
KSU QB Carson Coffman Will Play One of His Best Games of the Year
Coffman is as maligned as any other QB in the Big 12. Against a Jayhawks defense that will stack the box to stop the KSU rushing attack, he'll have many opportunities to make plays against a young secondary.
Don't be surprised if Coffman and his receiving corps make a couple of explosive plays in the passing game.
KU Will Win a Close Game in the Fourth Quarter
The Jayhawks were absolutely embarrassed their last time out, suffering a horrible 55-7 beatdown at the hands of Baylor. In what is an obvious rebuilding year under head coach Turner Gill, this is KU's first or second biggest game of the season.
Though KSU may be the better team, KU has a sizable home-field advantage in this game. In front of a frenzied crowd, the Jayhawks will make enough plays down the stretch to pull out a narrow, back-and-forth victory.