Russ and Camille Wheeler walked through Aggieville on Saturday afternoon clad in K-State gear — or at least that’s how it appeared at first glance.
A closer inspection revealed that Camille had a purple K-State hoodie but also sweat pants with a Jayhawk on them, showing support for the University of Kansas.
That’s a bold fashion statement, particularly on a day when those two football teams faced off for the Sunflower Showdown.
Camille said she wore the K-State hoodie in support of her husband. “We live in Lawrence,” she said. “I’m a KU fan, and he’s a K-State fan. We’re here celebrating our anniversary.”
They said their 11th anniversary wouldn’t be marred by the outcome of the game — which ended up being K-State 56, KU 16 — but it probably didn’t hurt that Camille doesn’t care about the result, and Russ’ team did well.
When the two biggest universities and rivals in the state go head-to-head, there are plenty of families and friends on opposing sides. Many of them watched the football game together in Aggieville.
A couple, Nolan Evenson, of Topeka, and Janna Meyer, of Manhattan, watched the tail end of the fourth quarter from Pat’s Blue Rib’n BBQ.
Evenson is named after former KU quarterback Nolan Cromwell. Meyer grew up in Manhattan. Their fandom was predetermined, but their choice to be together wasn’t.
Evenson said he didn’t think he would ever date a K-State fan. Meyer didn’t feel the same way about dating a KU fan. “I don’t really care,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
The 40-point loss comes after a week during which Evenson said he trash-talked about K-State to Meyer. He continued this during the game, even as it started to slip away from KU in the second half.
“I’m just a confident dude,” he said. “I don’t care what the score is.”
Meyer, who admitted she not as much a trash-talker, said she enjoyed watching K-State’s victory.
“I like it, but I’m nice about it, so I haven’t said much,” she said.
Evenson said it’s just a good time watching the game with Meyer. “We cheer against each other, but we don’t get mad,” he said.
They can’t agree on rooting for the same team, but Meyer agreed that cheering against each other’s teams isn’t too serious. “It’s fun,” she said. “He just talks a lot.”
‘We are so bad’
Despite the blowout victory for the Wildcats, it was a close game at halftime with Kansas State only up by a touchdown.
A group of high school friends from Olathe watched the game together at Rusty’s. Barisa Gemeda, Larry Parker and Colin Dickerson rooted for KU, and siblings Will and Hilary Dahlquist rooted for K-State.
“We’re all friends and stuff, but we already know that K-State is the better team,” Hilary said. “They just have to accept it.”
The halftime score surprised many viewers, since KU was expected to lose big. Even the University Daily Kansan, the KU student newspaper predicted a loss. Thursday’s paper contained the headline “Road Kill Ahead” and a picture of a very muscular Willie the Wildcat grabbing a goal post while a small Jayhawk clung to it.
“It didn’t bother me because it was to be expected,” Dickerson said. However, he said he would have liked the paper to have been more supportive.
“It kind of sucks, our own paper is bashing us like that,” Parker said.
Gemeda said he thought the illustration was funny. “I didn’t see it as offensive or anything,” he said. “I think a lot of the diehard football fans didn’t like it.”
Even as the Jayhawks were down by two touchdowns early in the second half, the KU fans were still in it.
“It’s better than expected for KU, obviously,” Dickerson said. Parker added, “We’ve scored two touchdowns.”
Feeling confident as KU moved the ball down the field, Dickerson said, “And we’re about to score again.”
Just moments later, KU quarterback Dayne Crist threw an interception. “We are so bad!” Gemeda said. “Holy cow!”