LAWRENCE, Kan. — The KU players know this is a big game. One of the biggest in the nation.

“There’s a lot of energy from students on campus, there’s fans walking around who are giving us, ‘Rock Chalk! You had a good game last week.’ Looking forward to this week, packing the booth,” Quarterback Jalon Daniels said.

But they’re staying focused on keeping an unblemished record.

“We’re not coming out for College GameDay and for the publicity, we’re coming out to play TCU and win,” wide receiver Lawrence Arnold said.

“Definitely excited that we get the opportunity to do that, but we’re kind of locked in to what’s in front of us,” safety Kenny Logan said.

But there’s plenty of hoopla, some of the fans who have long suffered for wins, want to start the party a bit earlier.

The weekly “Hawk Talk” at Johnny’s Tavern West in Lawrence had plenty of old-school fans who have been waiting a long to see the team win.

“It’s been beyond awesome. We’ve been season ticket holders for over 27 years,” Carol Delp said. “We’ve gone to all of them win or lose and this has just made such a difference in this town.”

Greg Simms lives in Lawrence and tailgates for every game. His garage is about as “Jayhawks Pride” as it comes. To see the success is a reward for all the hard luck.

“The last 10 years have been just rough, but this is fun, enjoy it while they got it,” Simms said.

Radio broadcaster Brian Hanni said the interest is only growing.

“The genuine enthusiasm and the excitement that’s just been building week to week,” Hanni said. “It’s been great to see to diehards that were with us through the lean times get rewarded, other people that were kind of waiting until something got moving to hope on the bandwagon.”

With a head coach who’s turned the lean times into good times. One win away from bowl eligibility and more memories to make.

“There’s been some patient and very loyal people and it probably put a different sense of responsibility on me that they deserve something,” head coach Lance Leipold said. “We’re hopefully finding a way to make that come true for them.”