Monday, November 6, 2006


Keegan: K-State’s gamble pays off


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.

Suggestions, anyone?


beenahawk 13 years, 2 months ago

Free State Fued

Kansas Convincer

Kansas' Range War

Wild West Show

Battle of (or on) the Kaw

Eliott Reeder 13 years, 2 months ago

How about:

'The Wheat-State Wrangle'


'The Kansas Quibble'


'The I-70 Corrivalry'

or... (last but not least)

'The Battle of Two Rather Bad Football Teams'

BunE 13 years, 2 months ago

How about

"wait til basketball season" vs "we're not just an ag school"?

or Fat man v. Bald man?

or 2003 big 12 champs v. 2006 big 12 chumps?

Thomas Thompson 13 years, 2 months ago


rockbrooklynchalk 13 years, 2 months ago

"one historically mediocre football program" vs "one historically awful football program with an inexplicable glory period spanning 8 years"

megt_33 13 years, 2 months ago

Here's a few suggestions:

Flint Hills Fued

Midwest Melee

Rock Hills Rumble

Wheat State Wrangle

but I have to agree that Culture vs Agriculture is by far the most fitting.

David Robinett 13 years, 2 months ago

I kinda like Tweed vs. Hayseed (Wearing sheep instead of breeding them)

But seriously folks...

Battle of Bloody Kansas

Flint Hills Fireworks

Path to the Rockies Rumble

All Hawk vs All Talk

other KSU descriptors...

K-State - Proof Our School Board Is All Wrong About Evolution

GIHAWK 13 years, 2 months ago

How about KU was 4 points away from winning the BIg 12 North...

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