It seemed such an insane thing for Kansas State football coach Ron Prince to do at the time. He benched the senior, Dylan Meier, who had worked so hard to come back from shoulder surgery, in favor of the true freshman, who couldn't possibly be ready for Big 12 football.
Josh Freeman, a 6-foot-6, 238-pound freshman quarterback out of Kansas City, wasn't ready five weeks ago when he took over for Meier midway through a 17-3 loss to Baylor.
He's ready now, and the hype for the Nov. 18 Sunflower Showdown - can somebody please come up with a rugged nickname more befitting football? - shifts to freshman vs. freshman, instead of Meier vs. Meier.
Prince knew what he was doing when he gambled on Freeman's physical and mental aptitude. In victories over Iowa State and Colorado the past two weeks, Freeman has completed 36 of 46 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
He wasn't the only young quarterback to torch those defenses, but that won't prevent the performances from enhancing the confidence of Freeman, who before those games had completed 41 percent of his passes, none for a touchdown, and had thrown eight interceptions.
In victories over the same teams, KU freshmen quarterbacks Kerry Meier and Todd Reesing combined to complete 27 of 38 passes for 340 yards and five touchdowns and threw two interceptions.
Looking at the comparative scores of the state's only two Division I football programs against the two worst teams in the Big 12 doesn't provide much of a window into trying to forecast the Nov. 18 game.
K-State outscored the two punching bags, 65-31. KU won by a combined margin of 61-25.
Look elsewhere to find indicators. Such as:
Advantage KU: The game is at Memorial Stadium, and given the rivalry and a two-game winning streak, KU's students should fill it with noise.
Advantage K-State: Receiver Jordy Nelson, who missed three consecutive games because of knee troubles, is back. He had 117 receiving yards and a touchdown against Colorado.
Advantage KU: While the Jayhawks heal their aches with a bye week Saturday, the Wildcats battle the bigger bodies of Texas.
Advantage K-State: Freeman has shown what he can do with a deep, talented receiving group against weak pass defenses, and Kansas qualifies.
Advantage KU: In the second half Saturday, Colorado rushed for 223 yards against the Wildcats. Jon Cornish should have a big day.
Advantage K-State: The Wildcats gained bowl-eligibility with a sixth victory Saturday. The pressure is off.
The game is a huge one for Kansas for reasons that extend beyond bowl-eligibility. Mangino said he would use the bye week in part to step up recruiting efforts. Top targets will be at the Nov. 18 game as guests of KU, and many are being recruited by K-State.
Back when Freeman was throwing interceptions and KU was blowing big leads the way Mike Tyson blows money, it didn't seem as if the Sunflower Showdown would be much of a game. Now it's a duel worthy of a nastier nickname.