2-0, But How Good?

Kansas State has opened the season with victories over North Texas (45-6) and Montana State (69-10) to start the 2008 season. How good does that make the Wildcats? That's a good question, but there are multiple reasons to believe the 2008 K-Staters can be pretty darn good.

Two games, two wins … that should have been wins.

That sums up Kansas State's early play in 2008. While the games give little definition as to just how good these Wildcats can be, there's still good reason for optimism.

No. 1, that starts with No. 1. "He was terrific," coach Ron Prince said of Josh Freeman's play Saturday in a 69-10 victory over Montana State. "He is a young man that has really progressed. No one has done it under a microscope like he has."

But one doesn't need a microscope to study Freeman's two-game numbers.

No. 1, No. 1 has accounted for nine touchdowns – five passing and four rushing – in two games.

No. 2, No. 1 has completed 34-of-45 passes for 520 yards and a 5-to-0 ratio in touchdowns-to-interceptions.

No. 3, No. 1 has also rushed the ball 10 times for 58 yards.

Totally satisfied, Josh? "I wouldn't say I ever have complete control because there were obviously some incompletions," said the Wildcats junior quarterback. "We still have stuff that doesn't go perfectly, but I feel I have a good feel for what we're trying to do."

With all eyes on Deon Murphy being Freeman's go-to receiver in 2008, partially due to injury and partially not, Murphy has been the "other" pass catcher.

The junior college receivers have stepped into D-I football and played with excellence. Brandon Banks has 9 catches for 183 yards and Aubrey Quarles has 8 catches for 109 yards, plus returning wide-out Lamark Brown has 7 catches for 82 yards and tight end Jeron Mastrud has 7 catches for 59 yards.

In addition, Freeman has distributed the ball to all positions with wide receivers having 29 catches, tight ends 14 and running backs 1, which is sure to change.

The defense remains a work in progress of working in the old with the new.

First-year starters have included cornerback Blair Irvin, plus linebackers Ulla Pomele and Olu Hall. And, in all reality, coming off redshirt-type seasons are the Moores – Joshua at cornerback and Antwon at linebacker.

Encouraging defensively is the amount of depth K-State plays as Courtney Herndon, Ray Cheatham and Brandon Harold have all been impact players in second-team roles.

While K-State played without turnovers in the first week, the Wildcats forced four take-aways against Montana State, not to mention blocking two punts for touchdowns.

"That is how we have to play at Kansas State," Prince said. "It is part of our culture, history and tradition. It is jut what we have to do."

Special teams are in good hands when it comes to return men as Murphy, Quarles and Banks are all of Big 12 ability, and Brooks Rossman can kick the ball with anyone.

The question remains in punting the football. Transfer George Pierson punted twice for a 42.7 average in the opener, but wasn't even called on against Montana State.

But all things considered, bring on the Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats are in need of a tougher test. That comes Sept. 17 in Louisville in a game televised by ESPN.


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