LAWRENCE — Autocorrect proved useful this time for Andrew Parchment.
Parchment, Kansas football’s standout junior wide receiver, is preparing to play in his first Sunflower Showdown against in-state rival and No. 22-ranked Kansas State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday inside David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. A student of the game, Parchment took it upon himself Tuesday to poke around Google for more information on the series.
There was a small problem, though — at least initially.
“I typed in ‘Sunshine Showdown’ and they showed me the state of Florida or something like that,” Parchment recalled. “I was like, ‘I know that’s not it.’ ”
Eventually, the Goliath search engine steered Parchment in the right direction.
So what did the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., learn about the rivalry?
For starters, Parchment noticed that the series dates back more than a century, to a 16-0 victory for KU on Oct. 7, 1902. Then he saw that the Jayhawks haven’t won versus the Wildcats since seizing a 52-21 home victory on Nov. 1, 2008. Finally, Parchment noted that recent matchups have been competitive, with KU dropping each of the last two by a combined 14 points.
Statistics and head-to-head records aside, Parchment drew his own conclusion about the rivalry.
“I also know that if you make big plays in this game right here, you’re known forever,” Parchment said. “So that’s what I plan to do Saturday, make big plays and make sure my name is going to be around here for a long time.”
Parchment, who transferred to KU this past offseason by way of Iowa Central Community College, did his offline due diligence as well.
Former Jayhawk great and current Washington Redskins wide receiver Steven Sims was in Lawrence over the weekend for his alma mater’s homecoming festivities, which included a thrilling 37-34 victory over Texas Tech. After Saturday's game, Sims visited friend and former teammate Daylon Charlot, who happens to be Parchment’s roommate.
Rather than celebrate the last-second victory over the Red Raiders, the trio had instead already turned the page to the looming matchup with the Wildcats.
“Just that the game’s going to be very hostile,” said Parchment, who has four 100-yard receiving outputs this season. “They’re going to try to get under your skin. Their fans are going to try to talk to you. Their coach is going to try to talk to you. Just make sure that I ... stay even keel. The ball is going to come my way eventually, so just be patient.”
Despite making the switch at head coach from the legendary Bill Snyder to Chris Klieman, much of how the Wildcats operate looks similar, Parchment observed. That’s especially true on defense, where K-State ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 in pass defense with just 187.1 yards allowed through the air per game.
“They’re going to do their job in the back end. They’re not going to beat themselves,” Parchment said. “We’ve got to make sure we execute in all phases of the game to win. They’re a very smart team and a team that looks to capitalize on other teams’ mistakes as well. I feel like if we don’t give them any mistakes and stuff like that, I feel like we’ll have a great shot this weekend. ...
“I just saw a little bit of what (Sims) did, watched his highlights from that game as well, watched a little tape on what he did against them. Their scheme really hasn’t changed that much on the defensive end, so it’s pretty much the same exact coverage. I know personnel has carried over from the last two years.”
Saturday’s matchup should be a strength-versus-strength showcase, with the Jayhawk offense amassing 1,096 total yards across Brent Dearmon’s first two games as offensive coordinator. Quarterback Carter Stanley has thrown for 725 yards in that stretch, with Parchment accounting for 192 of them on 10 catches.
If there’s been one snag in the Jayhawks’ new-look — or at least new-results — offense, it’s been performance out of the gate. KU fell into a 14-0 hole at Texas, then found itself facing a 17-0 deficit against Texas Tech.
“We’ve just got to start strong. We can’t put ourselves in a 17-0 hole again,” Parchment said. “Unlike Texas Tech, K-State is a huddle team, so if we get down early, they’re going to use the clock and manage it to their advantage like you saw from them in (K-State’s 48-41 victory last Saturday over Oklahoma). When they went up, they tried to conserve the clock. As long as we start early, start fast, I feel like we’ll be in a great position to win the game.”
As mentioned earlier, Parchment is a student of the game, and here’s where his inspiration to research the rivalry originated.
“Just want to know what type of game and type of environment I was getting myself into. Just trying to pay homage as well to the rivalry,” Parchment said. “A lot of people think the only rivals in college football are Alabama and Auburn, but other people play football as well too. I just wanted to check that out a little bit and see what I was getting myself into and see how I can make my name in this game be known for a long time."