Freeman: "I'm Here to Win Games!"

Josh Freeman never played better than he did in last Saturday's 41-39 loss to Oklahoma State. He put up Monster numbers on a night that he set multiple records, which makes it even more "bitter-sweet". Still growing in his role, Freeman took something aside from records away from the game.....

Josh Freeman never played better than he did in last Saturday's 41-39 loss to Oklahoma State.

He passed for 404 yards, fourth high in Kansas State history.

He completed 36 passes, a Wildcat single-game record.

He heaved it 51 times, fourth high in K-State's 1,074 games played.

He rifled three touchdowns, plus a two-point conversion.

A bitter-sweet performance, Freeman was asked?

"Just bitter," said the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Wildcat signal caller. "We tried to win and couldn't get that done. It wasn't good enough to win."

But still pretty fancy numbers, Mr. Freeman: "Coach did a good job of calling plays that I felt good about. I'm trying to learn from each week, and to get better from week to week."

While not demeaning his quarterback's performance, coach Ron Prince was saying the same thing about the evening of football in Stillwater. Kansas State lost the game.

"Quarterbacks are ultimately judged by how many pelts they bring home," Prince said. "Ultimately, if you're on a championship caliber team, and you were the quarterback, then you did what it took in tight games, or in comebacks to win games. That's ultimately how you're evaluated."

Freeman is 8-7 as a starting quarterback. In just a season, plus seven games, Freeman is now seventh in all-time attempted passes (566), fourth in career completions (327), and ninth in career passing yards (3,697).

To such numbers, Freeman said he was unaware, and unconcerned.

"I'm here to win games," Freeman said. Prince continues to call Freeman "a true sophomore with a bright future." He praises his 19-year-old QB for making better and better decisions, which includes not taking sacks that put the offense in long-yardage situations.

Plus, Freeman hasn't thrown an interception in his last 78 passes, and has been without a pass to the other colored shirt in four of his last five games.

Prince also liked the fact that in the final four minutes against Oklahoma State, Freeman directed an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.

It's a part of the game that his quarterback failed to do in close losses to Auburn and to Kansas, when late fourth quarter drives ended with an interception.

A year ago, Freeman had six touchdowns to 15 interceptions and completed 52 percent of his passes. This year it's eight TDs to seven interceptions and a 63 percent completion rate.

Freeman uses the word "consistency" as the biggest area of improvement from the 2006 season, but wants even more consistency in the areas of "... third-down percentage, completion percentage and a better touchdown-to-interception ratio."

What he would like is a completion percentage over 70, and a third-down success rate of over 50 percent. K-State's current third-down rate is just .386, which ranks 10th in the Big 12.

While not where he wants to be, Freeman says his improvement has been vast since Sept. 30, 2006, when he started the second half of a 17-3 loss to the same Baylor Bears Big 12 franchise that he will be playing Saturday in a 2:35 p.m. kickoff at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

In a scoreless second half, Freeman was 11-of-33 for 196 yards and three interceptions. Freeman gives a definite, "No," when asked if he was ready to be a Big 12 quarterback on that night.

"I was out there just throwing it around being careless," Freeman said. "This year I'm a lot more prepared. Last year just basic defensive looks were confusing to me."

Prince said of Freeman, "He has work to do, but he has the talent. He wants to be a factor in trying to win games.

"He had a good performance, but we lost (to OSU)," Prince said. "Ultimately, that's what quarterbacks are judged by."


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