This Saturday, when Kansas and Kansas State meet in Memorial Stadium, one team will be fighting to avoid a winless season. The other will be fighting for their bowl life. Neither team met their hopes or expectations for the season. Yet, neither team will match the frustration and disappointment of the game the two schools played on November 7, 1987.
That game ended in a 17-17 tie. The Dunkel Index called the game the battle between the two worst teams in football. Other commentators called it “The Toilet Bowl.” Both teams went on to lose their final two games of the season. KU finished that season 1-9-1. KSU finished 0-10-1. KU fired coach Bob Valesente after the season. K-State coach Stan Parrish lasted only one more season.
In what the late Topeka Capital-Journal columnist Bob Hentzen called “a very entertaining game, given the two teams’ records,” Kansas State drove down the field to set up a game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. That is when the two teams reverted to their futile ways.
The Jayhawks’ Marvin Mattox blocked the 32-yard field goal attempt by the Wildcats’ Mark Porter. The ensuing scramble to recover the ball for some sort of miracle finish proved to be more comical than sensational.
This Saturday’s game looks to be played in cold and rainy conditions. That surely will add to the drama of what I can only hope will be an “entertaining game” that will not end in a comical fashion.