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Archive for Tuesday, October 4, 1994

CATS COME OUT AT NIGHT

October 4, 1994

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Night football games are not uncommon.

"In high school, we played every Friday night," former Kansas University kicker Bucky Scribner said, matter-of-factly.

The pros, of course, play featured games on Sunday and Monday nights.

Colleges in the state of Kansas, however, generally play Saturday day games, except on special occasions. Which brings up Thursday's ESPN showdown between 3-0 Kansas State and 3-1 Kansas.

The two teams have played 91 times throughout history, yet this marks just the second night game between the natural rivals.

Anybody remember the first?

"Too damn well," former KU quarterback Frank Seurer said.

"I remember that one very well ... unfortunately," echoed Don Fambrough, the Jayhawks' head coach that season.

Think back 12 years ... to Oct. 23, KSU Stadium in Manhattan ... to a game televised nationally.

It was a blowout on the TBS network -- Kansas State 36, Kansas 7 before a crowd of 43,167, the fourth-largest crowd in KSU history.

"It was the most miserable football game I've ever seen," Fambrough said immediately after the game.

Twelve years later, he hasn't changed his mind.

"My blood's boiling right now," Fambrough said at the mere mention of the contest. "Any time you get beat by those people, it sticks in your craw."

That particular blowout sticks with Fambrough like crazy glue.

Off to a 1-3-2 start, the 1982 Jayhawks entered as heavy underdogs to 3-2-1 KSU, which at midseason was lobbying hard for its first-ever bowl bid.

"They had an awfully good football team," Fambrough said of the 'Cats, who finished 6-5 and earned an invitation to the Independence Bowl. "He red-shirted all of his juniors the year before."

Indeed, in an attempt to erase KSU's sorry football fortunes, coach Jim Dickey sacrificed the 1981 season (2-9) for '82.

"Anybody who knew football knew that was a one-year deal," Fambrough said. "They wanted to have that one good year, which they did. It went to pot after that. Nobody had done that before and nobody has done it since."

Eventually Dickey's red-shirt plan flopped. KSU went 3-8 in '83 and 3-7-1 in '84. A 1-10 season in '85 cost Dickey his job.

Yet undeniably, the KSU coach was the toast of Aggieville after dumping the Jayhawks in '82.

"I remember gimmicks they pulled," said Fambrough, who was fired after the '82 season, his team finishing at 2-7-2. "They worked out in one set of uniforms. They went to the locker room, came back, and had another set of uniforms on. I have never understood the strategy behind that. That game had nothing to do with uniforms."

The Jayhawks were amused by the Wildcats' uniform switch.

"They were light grayish purple with purple numbers. They were ugly," said Seurer, now a firefighter in Lenexa, with a laugh. "I don't remember being affected by their uniforms, but that might have given them a boost. Who knows? Maybe it added adrenaline."

At first, the visitors appeared as fired-up as the home team. KU won the toss and drove from its own 20 to the K-State 36 in seven plays.

On third down, three yards to go, Seurer ran a toss sweep to Kerwin Bell, who fumbled. Will Cokeley recovered and KSU proceeded to march 68 yards in 13 plays for the game's opening score -- a 1-yard run by QB Darrell Ray Dickey.

The 'Cats missed the extra point boot but maintained control, thanks to Cokeley, who intercepted Seurer on the next KU possession and lugged the ball to the Jayhawk 12.

KSU covered the distance in four plays, Mark Hundley bowling in on a first and goal call from the two. A two-point try failed, but KU was in a deep 12-0 hole with 4:31 left in the first quarter.

"Scoring on the first drive might have given us a boost," Seurer said. "It might have made a difference, but they were just better than us."

KU went three downs and out on its third possession, then finally held K-State.

Possession No. 4 was a disaster. KU's Robert Mimbs fumbled in KSU territory and the Wildcats recovered as the first quarter expired. The 'Cats concocted a short drive and scored three more points on a 21-yard Steve Willis field goal.

The Jayhawks went three and out, then KSU scored again on a 30-yard strike from Dickey to Mike Wallace, giving the Wildcats a 22-0 halftime advantage.

KSU made it 36-0 in the third quarter, scoring on a 39-yard pass from Dickey to Eric Mack, plus a 1-yard run by Iosefatu Faraimo.

"I remember standing on the sidelines with E.J. (Jones, KU fullback) in the third quarter. I looked at him and said, 'Is this a bad dream?''' Seurer said. "And we knew we'd beat 'em the next year."

KU did come back to paste the 'Cats, 31-3, in '83 at Memorial Stadium.

"I honestly didn't believe we thought we could lose to them," Seurer said. "We knew they had a good team. I remember going in confident. I injured my shoulder the week before against Nebraska, but I said, 'I'm not going to miss this.'''

He wishes he could dismiss it from memory. KU's only score came on a 26-yard interception return by linebacker Eddie Simmons.

"There are a couple games you are supposed to win every year -- K-State and Missouri," Seurer said. "I always pull for KU, especially against K-State. My neighbor is from K-State. We'll probably go to the game together (Thursday). It might come to fisticuffs."

Fambrough also bleeds KU blue, especially against KSU.

"There are certain games you can throw out the records. Like Texas and Oklahoma. Those two teams always had two seasons. The games they played against each other and the conference season. The same way here," Fambrough said. "They might let down the week before or after, but when they play the University of Kansas, K-State will be at its best."

The 'Cats were at their best back in '82 and the Jayhawks weren't.

"You mention that game. There were times we kicked the hell out of 'em," Fambrough said. "When they beat you, you just wish you could play 'em right now, again. I don't care if its under the lights or where it's played. I'd play Kansas State at 12 noon in the middle of Jayhawk Boulevard."

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