Cats Prepare for CU Air and Ground Games

The Colorado Buffs have been able to score both through in the passing game as well as the running game and this week, players like Ian Campbell say the Wildcat defense needs to be ready. On the CU Side, they say size does matter and bringing down one player is crucial.

Sure, it's going to depend somewhat on down and distance, but for 60 minutes of play Saturday, Kansas State's defense better be ready for an equal number of Colorado plays by ground and by air.

"They're not going to do a lot of gimmick things," said KSU defensive end Ian Campbell. "They're going to play straight up football and probably run it down hill a little more than KU did."

Through six games, Colorado has run the ball 230 times for 811 net yards, and thrown it 226 times for 1,467 yards. The Buffs have 18 touchdowns: 10 passing, 8 rushing. Last week the Wildcats gave up 170 ground yards and 267 passing to Kansas, leaving Campbell to say, "It's not like it's back to the drawing board, but we definitely have to go back to work. We have that bend, but don't break mentality, but we were breaking. We weren't just bending."

Hugh Charles leads CU's ground attack averaging 70 yards per game, while redshirt-freshman Cody Hawkins has completed 57 percent of his passes, but has also thrown an interception in every game and a total of 10 on the year.

"They put their quarterback in a position where he doesn't have to go win the game, although he has the ability to do so," Prince said.

Hawkins has passed for two touchdowns in each of the last three games with his improvement coming from game experience and "... things starting to slow down."

Against K-State's defense, the Buffs admit that it will be tough to play in a non-panic mode.

"The thing that really sticks out is how aggressive and physical they are, and I mean all of them," said coach Hawkins. "They come off the ball and come after you. They can run and they have good size and strength."

A defense, Hawkins says, that can be put in the same category as Oklahoma and Florida State, which are teams that CU has already played this season.

What Kansas State must do is demonstrate is an ability to run and pass, like Colorado. In K-State's three true tests this year, it has rushed for only 27 yards against Auburn, 95 versus Texas, and 53 against Kansas. Leading rusher James Johnson has had 14, 77 and 20 yards, respectively, in those games.

"We need to be able to run to win," Prince said. "The number of times you run and pass during the course of the game is one thing, but there comes a time where you need to be able to run to get the tough yards, and to be able to score.

"We have good runners. We need to be able to get the ball in their hands. We're doing that in a variety of ways and not just running, but we do have to improve in that area," Prince said. "I'll continue to say that a running game is a quarterback's best friend. If you don't have a running game it takes quite a bit of your passing game away from you."

While Josh Freeman has passed for at least 268 yards in four of K-State's five games, he continues to have turnover problems with seven interceptions to just four touchdowns. For his career, it's 10 touchdowns to 22 picks.

"I'm sure it is youth a little bit," Hawkins said. But the CU coach added, "He's mobile and even if you're lucky enough to get to him, you better have somebody big tackle him or you're not going to get him down."

Freeman was never better than in last year's game when completed 22-of-26 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns … and without an interception.

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