5 Questions, Buffs-Wildcats

Inside, 5 questions about Saturday's Colorado-Kansas State matchup.

1) Can the Buffs fluster Kansas State's young quarterback?

While the CU defense has played well this season, youthful quarterbacks have had more than their share of success against the 1-8 Buffs. Redshirt-freshman Joe Cox led Georgia's comeback against CU five games before Kansas coach Mark Mangino took the redshirt off rookie Todd Reesing, who came in and led the Jayhawks to a win against Colorado. Meanwhile, second-year Missouri QB Chase Daniel threw for 253 yards on the Buffs.

Saturday, CU will match up against true freshman Josh Freeman. The 6-foot-6 Freeman has started the past four games for K-State after taking over for senior Dylan Meier. Teams that have had success pressuring Freeman have forced him into making mistakes. Freeman, who has been sacked 15 times, has thrown nine interceptions and just one touchdown this season.

2) And who does the pressuring?

When a team is 1-8, it's a little harder to find the bright spots. But here's one: Senior defensive end Abraham Wright continues to rack up the quarterback sacks. He's currently tied for third in the country in total sacks with 10.5 sacks.

Wright's helped his speed-rushing game this fall by putting in extra time studying game film of the opponents and paying extra attention to quarterbacks and their snap count tendencies. It's allowed him to anticipate when the ball will be snapped, and therefore given him an edge against his blocker.

Wright needs four sacks in the three remaining games to beat Dan McMillen's school record for sacks in a season (14).

3) Speaking of young quarterbacks: How will Bernard Jackson handle Kansas State's defense?

Seems like every week, it's the same challenge for the Colorado offense. Can Jackson and the Buffs get a passing game going? No doubt, the Wildcats will stack the box and force Jackson to try and beat them with the pass.

4) Which team comes up with the big-play turnovers?

Kansas State has been good at creating turnovers that lead to big plays at times this season. But they've also given the ball away more than head coach Ron Prince would like. K-State is currently +1 in the turnover margin category.

The Buffs have fared much better at turnovers, generating 22, while giving up 15 for a +7. That's second best in the conference.

5) Which coach gets a leg up in their first meeting?

Ron Prince and Dan Hawkins will be tied together for the next several years as both took over Big 12 North programs the same season. With a win Saturday, Kansas State would qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2003. Obviously, that's a better season than Colorado can hope for at this point.

Yet Hawkins and the Buffaloes have the opportunity to delay the Wildcats' quest for bowl eligibility, too.

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