Freeman: Trick or Treat?

It's Kansas State – Kansas time and Wildcat quarterback Josh Freeman hopes this time is different … in a lot of ways. First, Freeman is 0-2 against KU, and secondly, his turnover numbers are ghastly with nine in two games. Kickoff Saturday is 11:30 a.m. with the game on Fox Sports Net.

Two games, six interceptions, three lost fumbles and five sacks.

Oh yes, and losses by counts of 39-20 in 2006, and, 30-24 in 2007.

When Josh Freeman thinks of the Kansas Jayhawks, those numbers come to mind.

Turnovers in the first game that included "… stuff that never happens," and then last year when he said, "It was just rough."

With continued turnover-woes – K-State had five last week against Oklahoma – wins are going to be hard to come by. The Wildcats have a negative-seven turnover-ratio for the season, which ranks No. 103 in the nation.

With that in mind, coach Ron Prince says, "For us to compete and defeat this team, turnovers and the kicking game will be the key."

And, play better overall defense, which includes turnovers.

Kansas, which had five turnovers last week in a loss to Texas Tech, and for that matter has given it away five times in the last two games with K-State, has had some defensive troubles of its own.

In fact, check out these two numbers K-State and KU have had against Oklahoma and Texas Tech this year.

K-State has given up 116 points, 1,176 yards and 16 touchdowns; KU has allowed 108 points, 989 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The big and small of the two quarterbacks is that Freeman is big (6-6, 250) and KU's Todd Reesing (5-11, 200) is not.

Both, however, have humongous numbers. Reesing: 69 percent completion, 309 yards per game, 19 TDs, 8 interceptions.

"Players like him are like Brandon Banks (5-7, 142)," Prince said. "The tape doesn't lie. If the dimensions of a player doesn't startle you, you talk yourself out of recruiting him when in reality, he's a very good player."

Prince praised Reesing's competitiveness and marveled about his "uncommon vision and poise in the pocket."

K-State defensive end Ian Campbell said, "He does a tremendous job making people around him better. He's kind of a gun-slinger running and gunning."

Freeman: 61 percent completion, 278 yards per game, 15 TDs (another 13 rushing), 5 interceptions.

"It all starts with their quarterback," said KU coach Mark Mangino. "He has really matured and he looks in command. He is doing a better job of looking for his second and third progressions than he has done in the past."

While 2-0 against Freeman, the Jayhawks are well aware of the fact that he's thrown for 549 yards in the two games.

The KSU QB needs 336 total offense yards to break Ell Roberson's career record of 7,917. Kansas enters the game 2-2 and 5-3; K-State is 1-3 and 4-4. That means the game's winner will either be in first place, or just one game out, at the end of the weekend.

It leads Ian Campbell to say, "If we win, we're 5-4 and the North remains wide open. If we lose, it's not good, no question about it."

Kansas leads Kansas State in this series 64-36-5, which includes a 36-15-3 record in Lawrence.

KU has won the last two games and three of the last four. Prior to that, Kansas State had won 11 games in a row from 1993-2003. The last time KU defeated KSU three times in a row was 1988-90.

This is the 15th most-played rivalry in the nation, and the fourth-longest uninterrupted series.

Mark Mangino was an assistant at K-State from 1991-98, while KU defensive end coach Joe Bob Clements played for the Wildcats from 1995-98., and later was on Bill Snyder's staff from 1999-05. Mangino has a 10-4 record in his 14 games in this series.

With its consecutive losses to No. 4 Oklahoma, 45-31, and No. 8 Texas Tech, 63-21, Kansas fell out of the polls for the first time in 19 weeks dating back to Oct. 7, 2007.

At 5-3, Kansas needs one more victory to become bowl eligible. After going 12-1 last year and playing in the Orange Bowl last year, the Jayhawks have never played in bowl games in consecutive years. Coach Mark Mangino has led KU to the Tangerine Bowl in 2003, Fort Worth Bowl in 2005 and Orange Bowl in 2007.

K-State starts a starting 22 of 3 seniors, 16 juniors, 1 sophomore and 2 freshmen. Kansas will go with 10 seniors, 5 juniors, 3 sopomores and 4 freshmen.

Sunflower State products will be starting at running back with KU's Jake Sharp (Salina) and K-State's Logan Dold (Garden Plain).

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