He looked anything but the two-time reigning Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week and Cingular National Offensive Player of the Week, as he threw three interceptions – one of which was returned for a touchdown – and lost three fumbles – with one recovered in the endzone for another Jayhawk touchdown.
Kansas scored 30 of its 39 points off Wildcat turnovers. The only other scores were a career-high three field goals for kicker Scott Webb.
“It was a tough day, but you gotta give it to KU,” Freeman said. “They came out and capitalized on our mistakes. They played a good game and we didn’t. They did a good job gameplanning us for those two weeks and we could never get anything rolling.”
Freeman completed 23-of-44 passes for 244 yards and also had the three interceptions in the game.
K-State received the opening kickoff, and the team’s first play from scrimmage was a 66-yard pass play from Freeman to true freshman tight end Jeron Mastrud. Mastrud beat the coverage over the middle, but was run down from behind at the 14-yard line. The Wildcats settled for a field goal, and that would prove costly.
Freeman threw a pick and lost a fumble on the Wildcats next two possessions, which took up the remainder of the opening quarter. K-State was down 13-3 at the start of the second quarter, and running back Leon Patton sparked some life into the Wildcats, as he broke a couple tackles on his way to a 44-yard touchdown run with 11:27 left to play in the second quarter.
He was one of the lone bright spots for K-State, as he finished with 102 yards rushing. This was the third 100-yard performance of his career, and the true freshman has now scored five rushing touchdowns in his last five games.
The only punt of the half came on the next Wildcat possession. Then came Freeman’s fumble in the endzone that was recovered by Russell Brorsen, which gave Kansas a 20-10 lead with 1:32 left to play in the opening half.
K-State came out flat in the second half, and was forced to punt on three of its next four possessions. The Kansas defense completely knocked the Wildcats out of their rhythm, and the Kansas offense made sure K-State stayed down for the count.
“We wanted to win this game, and we wanted to finish out the season with not losing in November,” senior offensive tackle Greg Wafford said. “We didn’t accomplish that. Knowing we have a bowl game is just another chance for us to go out and win another game, but I still would have liked to win this one.”
Jon Cornish ran all over the Wildcat defense.
The Kansas running back rushed for 201 yards and scored two touchdowns in the game. It was the first time a K-State opponent has rushed for 200 yards since Troy Davis of Iowa State ran for 225 against the Wildcats in 1996.
“Obviously there was too much Cornish, he is a terrific runner,” K-State coach Ron Prince said. “We knew that we would have to control the ball and do some things and perhaps get an early lead so that they couldn’t work us over with No. 29 the rest of the game.
“Not only did we not do that, but we did all the things that magnify his ability and gave him extra possession after extra possession on turnovers. Most of our issues were self-inflicted and those are some of the things that you can’t do if you want to be a successful team.”