Cotton Bowl Countdown: John Hubert closing in on 1,000 rushing yards

How easy is it to focus on Collin Klein as the driving force of Kansas State’s rushing attack?

I’ll let Wildcats co-offensive coordinator Dana Dimel answer.

“In putting game plans together I started to find we were putting in a ton of quarterback run game,” Dimel said. “And at times I had to catch myself and say, ‘Hold on a second. John Hubert has a chance to be a 1,000-yard rusher.’ You’ve got to make sure you give him some touches, too.

“That’s what I would find ourselves doing, getting engulfed into what Collin could do and start forgetting that we have some tailback run game, as well.”

Some pretty good tailback run game, too. Not as good as the last two years, when current NFL running back Daniel Thomas was the focal point of the offense, but pretty good.

John Hubert, a sophomore running back out of Waco, Texas, is the best running back on the roster, and he is closing in on a 1,000-yard season. Few would have predicted that before the season, but Hubert steadily worked his way to 933 yards. He had a breakout game against Miami (166 yards and a touchdown) as well as a huge game against Iowa State (120 yards and a touchdown).

With another quality game, he will end the season with 1,000 yards.

The yards have not come easy. At 5-foot-7 and 185 pounds, nothing ever has for Hubert, who was mostly overlooked by college recruiters because of doubts his power-running style would work at the next level.

“I knew I had to go out and compete every week,” Hubert said. “That’s what I did. I got the starting spot and I’m very proud of myself, I have surprised myself. I knew I could get it. I just had to work for it. I like working for it, and I don’t like anything handed to me.”

He had a tough three-game stretch in which he didn’t eclipse 40 yards, but coaches have said he was dealing with injuries during that time. Now that he is rested and healthy, the coaching staff isn’t afraid to give him a few extra rushing attempts.

You know, the ones Klein normally takes.

“I have a lot of confidence in John Hubert,” Dimel said. “John had a good season.”

He still has two seasons left after this one. A 1,000-yard season would be a nice spring board into next year.

Not that he won’t be ready if he ends up with 999.

“I just motivate myself,” Hubert said. “I’m very strong. I have good balance and I have great heart. I may not be as big, I may not be as strong or fast, but I have a lot of heart. In my mind, if I want something and I want to do it, I’m going to do it.”

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 6, the Kansas State football team will face Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. With that in mind, I began counting down to the big game in Cowboys Stadium on Dec. 6 by attempting to write 31 blog posts in 31 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas at the moment. I’m confident that I can go 31 for 31, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com.