October 18, 2008

Freeman, Wildcats roll back into Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. -- There are things Josh Freeman still remembers about his first and only trip to face Colorado at Folsom Field. In his fifth-career start as a true freshman, Freeman helped Kansas State to build a 17-0 lead at the half, then led the Wildcats to a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 34-21 win, giving first-year coach Ron Prince his first and only win on the road in 2006. Freeman remembers the K-State fans. He also remembers the air.

Yes, the mountain air. Seems some believe that the high altitude can zap a team's energy. It's been a topic for years.

"The air doesn't matter," Freeman said earlier this week.

Senior Ian Campbell remembers the game as well. The eventual first-team All-Big 12 selection was in the midst of his breakout season at defensive end and the Wildcats held a Big 12 opponent scoreless in the first half for the first time all season. He also remembers something else, though.

"That win made us bowl eligible," Campbell recalled. "That was a pretty good feeling."

K-State certainly left Texas A&M last weekend feeling good after it sucked all of the air out of Kyle Field during a 44-30 win, which marked Prince's third road win in 13 tries and improved the Wildcats to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12.

Coming off their worst home loss in 12 years, the Wildcats were in desperate need of discovering some good vibes. They found them against the Aggies, who entered the contest collectively as the worst offense in the Big 12. As the Wildcats seek their first back-to-back wins on the road since 2003, they get struggling Colorado, 3-3 and 0-2, which now finds itself as the league's worst offensive team.

Once an early-season media darling following a 17-14 overtime win against No. 21 West Virginia, the Buffaloes then suffered a 39-21 loss at Florida State, a 38-14 loss to No. 5 Texas and a 30-14 loss at No. 16 Kansas. It's the first time in its 119-year history that Colorado has started a season by following three straight wins with three consecutive losses.

It could be considered an ideal set-up for the Wildcats, who will enter the 6 p.m. kickoff on Fox Sports Net seeking their third straight win in the series for the first time since they won four straight between 1997 and 2000.

Still, Prince insists, "I don't think there's a lot of carryover. If there was, we wouldn't have had a chance to win at A&M, where we hadn't won since 1996 and we wouldn't have won at Texas last year. Every game is singular and it's a different circumstance. (Boulder) is a challenging place to play. Kansas State has had its moments up there, but it's a very tough place to play and I know (Colorado) will be ready."

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