Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman, last week's Big 12 Conference player of the week, entered Saturday's game against Kansas University as the league's "it" player, but left looking like another befuddled freshman.
In K-State's 39-20 loss, Freeman threw three interceptions and lost three fumbles while completing 22 of 44 passes for 244 yards.
"It was just one of those days," Kansas State coach Ron Prince said.
At the game's outset, it looked as if Freeman would have one of his best days and a performance that would resemble his 19-of-31, 269-yard, three-touchdown showing during last week's 45-42 victory over Texas.
On the game's first play, Freeman connected on a 66-yard pass to tight end Jeron Mastrud, which led to a field goal. His play spiraled downward from there.
With 4:15 left in the first quarter, Aqib Talib intercepted Freeman's pass to set up a Jon Cornish touchdown run and give a KU a 10-3 lead. On the Wildcats' next series, defensive end Russell Brorsen scooped up the freshman's fumble to halt a drive.
The second quarter ended even more disastrously for the Wildcats.
With Kansas State backed up inside the 10-yard-line, James McClinton forced a Freeman fumble, and Brorsen pounced on the ball for a touchdown, giving the Jayhawks a 20-10 lead.
The fourth quarter featured more costly Freeman turnovers.
Cornerback Anthony Webb returned an interception 42 yards for a score. On the next Kansas State offensive possession, defensive end Jeff Wheeler forced another fumble, and KU took over on the Wildcats' 12-yard line.
After the game, however, Freeman took an odd perspective on the action. He did not criticize his performance and said he did not face any more pressure than he did last week.
"I felt like I played my game minus missing a couple of passes," Freeman said. "We hurt ourselves. They didn't do anything we couldn't handle or hadn't seen before."
Despite Freeman's setback, the freshman still has the Wildcats (7-5, 4-4) poised for a bowl game. And he finished the regular season with 1,651 passing yards - the most by a Kansas State freshman and the 16th most in school history.
"He's a freshman quarterback who's done unbelievable things," Prince said.
Prince talked candidly with Freeman after the game and said the game only represented a bump in the road for the precocious quarterback.
"Josh has a lot of bright days ahead of him," Prince said. "He has a very bright future. He's going to do great things."