WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The University of Kansas and Kansas State University football are ready to hit the ground running in their season openers against a pair of Missouri schools.

To start week one, the Jayhawks play in Lawrence on Friday night against Missouri State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

“Some of the things we’ve experienced success-wise, we’ve got to carry over from the moment the ball’s kicked off,” said Kansas head football coach Lance Leipold.

It’s their third year under Leipold. Last season, the team made their first bowl game appearance since 2008.

The team faced Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl last December. Although they fell short of a victory 53-55 in overtime, it still marked a monumental year for the program.

“People still don’t respect us as much as we think we should be,” said junior wide receiver Luke Grimm, “We’re coming into every game with a bunch of grit and a bunch of tenacity.”

“We focused on the little details all camp to make sure we put ourselves in the best position to go out there and be successful,” explained senior safety Kenny Logan.

In Manhattan, the No. 16 Wildcats hit the gridiron Saturday at 6 p.m. against Southeast Missouri State. The players are excited to make their debut.

“Just to go out there and do it and to show you guys that we’re not going to skip a beat and we’re going to be the same if not better than last year,” said junior tight end Ben Sinnott.

“We’re not taking anything for granted, and I think anyone can tell you that because everyone has a story,” explained senior quarterback Will Howard.

Their story is one full of victories. They were last season’s Big 12 Champions, defeating Texas Christian University 31-28 after Ty Zentner’s 31-yard field goal in overtime.

The Wildcats are playing their fifth season under head coach Chris Klieman. He is excited to test out this year’s talent.

“That’s the key for us is we’ve got to continue to push these young guys because they need to show up and play well on Saturday,” said Klieman.

KU has won both times they played against the Bears. They finished 24-10 against them in 2001 and 44-24 in 2002.

For the Wildcats, coach Klieman has led them to a 3-0 record against FCS opponents. They defeated Nicholls, Southern Illinois and South Dakota over the last few seasons.

Regardless, both teams view their first game as a battle.

“They’ve got some weapons on both sides of the ball, they’ve got good speed, and it’s going to be kind of a wait-and-see many times in this first game as you try to figure out the identity of a team,” said Leipold.

“They’re probably the best team in the OVC this year, so we’ve got to play exceptional football,” explained Klieman.

The playing field is set for two exciting games.