He completed 22-of-26 passes for 251 yards and a career-high two touchdowns to lead the K-State Wildcat football team to a 34-21 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo.
"It was a good game. We came out and did what we wanted to do," Freeman said of his team putting up a season-high 439 yards of total offense. "I feel like I am making strides every week. Today the offense was just clicking and everybody was making plays, it was a good outing."
Freeman was finding receivers with deadly accuracy all game, and Colorado (1-9 overall, 1-5 Big 12 Conference) had no answer for the Wildcat offense. He was 18-of-19 going into the fourth quarter, and he had a string of 15 consecutive completed passes that spanned midway through the first quarter until the beginning of the fourth.
He had a passer rating of 191.2, and his 84.6 completion percentage was just shy of the K-State record of 86.4 set in 1996 by Brian Kavanagh against Indiana State.
"He's a very confident young man who has a lot going for him, and I think he has a very bright future," coach Ron Prince said. "I was really pleased with Josh's demeanor all week. He was very poised and had a good week of practice and that was really helpful. You'd like to think a performance like this will be able to add to his confidence."
The win over the Buffaloes gave K-State (6-4, 3-3 Big 12) the six wins necessary to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2003. The win was also the first conference road win since a 2004 victory over the Missouri Tigers.
Freeman had only bad pass in the entire game, and he was only sacked twice.
I'm going to break down his two touchdown passes and his four incompletions to give you a better idea of just how well Freeman played.
First touchdown pass – 9-yarder to wide receiver Yamon Figurs
K-State was ahead 7-0 midway through the second quarter when cornerback Justin McKinney recovered a Colorado fumble at the Buffaloes 16-yard line.
Running back James Johnson rushed for -2 yards on the first two carries, but a personal foul for a late hit put the ball on the nine-yard line.
Freeman ran a play action pass on the next play. He rolled out to his right and found Figurs in the endzone to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead with 6:53 left in the second.
The pass was Figurs' first touchdown reception of the season. He finished the game with three receptions for 24 yards and two touchdowns – one receiving and one rushing.
Second touchdown pass – 74-yarder to wide receiver Jordy Nelson
Colorado scored touchdowns on its last possession of the third quarter and first possession of the fourth to pull within six points at 20-14.
The Wildcats responded on their next possession with a touchdown of their own.
On the third play of the drive – a third-and-four situation – Colorado decided to blitz Freeman as he dropped back to pass. He saw the blitz and called a hot route to Nelson, who ran a five-yard out pattern. He caught the ball and broke the inital defenders tackle. He then took off and received crucial downfield blocks from Figurs and running back Leon Patton as he sprinted 74 yards for his first touchdown of the year, giving K-State a 27-14 lead with 11:55 remaining in the game.
Nelson had his best game of the season as he led the team in receptions (5) and receiving yards (117).
First incompletion to Figurs
On the first drive of the game, Freeman tried to hook up with Figurs on a 10-yard comeback route, but Figurs dropped the pass on what appeared to be a pass interference penalty that went uncalled by the referees. Figurs' defender got to him too early causing him to miss the catch, but Freeman responded by completing his next 15 passes.
This play occurred on third and seven from Colorado's 10-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Freeman rolled out to his right, and threw the ball out of the back of the endzone after seeing that all of his receivers were covered by Buffaloes. He decided to not risk throwing an interception and he knew that just throwing it away would give his team a chance at a field goal, which kicker Jeff Snodgrass made on the next play.
Third incompletion to tight end Jeron Mastrud
Prince called a play-action pass that was ran to perfection early in the fourth. The defense bit and Mastrud was wide open on the right side of the field. Freeman hit him in the chest with the ball, but Mastrud just dropped the pass.
Fourth incompletion to tight end Rashaad Norwood
The Wildcats were running out the clock in the final drive of the game, and Prince decided to try and pick up a few more yards by calling another play-action. Norwood had three defenders around him, but Freeman decided to try and rifle the ball in between them all. He overshot his tight end, and the ball went right through the outstretched arms of a Colorado defender. This was easily the worst pass of the game for Freeman, but the Wildcats were still able to run out the clock and win the game.
Freeman was also helped out with a very productive rushing attack, as the Wildcats racked up 188 yards on the ground. Patton led the way with 96 yards and one touchdown on only 12 carries for an eight-yard average per carry.
Running back James Johnson got the starting nod for the second consecutive week. His number was called 21 times and he responded with 63 yards rushing. Figurs had a 30-yard rushing touchdown on a reverse midway through the fourth quarter, which was his second touchdown on the ground this season.
The Wildcats also converted on 8-of-14 third downs, which is the highest conversion percentage of the season.
Freeman is now 3-2 as a starter, and some of his teammates said they see him doing great things in his career as a Wildcat. "He's going to be phenomenal. I've never been around a quarterback that can throw the ball as well as he can," said Snodgrass, who was around during Ell Roberson's tenure when K-State won the Big 12 Championship in 2003. "He can throw 40-yard passes on a line, just wait till next year."
Next year will have to wait a little while longer, because the Wildcats are going bowling in December.