Oklahoma State jumped out to an early lead. The Wildcats owned the second quarter and pulled away in the third quarter. Then Collin Klein left the game with an undisclosed injury and everyone’s attention turned to the sideline.
He did more than enough while he was in the game to help K-State win, and the Wildcats picked up another important victory. They inched closer to a Big 12 championship and a possible spot in the BCS championship game.
How did it happen? A look at all that and more in this week’s Sunday Rewind:
1. Collin Klein’s undisclosed injury is … still undisclosed.
The status of Kansas State’s senior quarterback is unknown. He missed most of the second half with an injury after throwing for 245 yards and rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown, but he didn’t show any pain while watching from the sideline. He talked to his brother, prayed with teammates, walked out onto the field and offered advice during timeouts. He clapped following big plays and gave out high-fives. When the cameras zoomed in on him, he was often smiling. He met with trainers following a touchdown drive early in the third quarter, and they determined he wasn’t fit to return. That decision could have been precautionary. He didn’t put ice or bandages on his extremities, and he didn’t head to the locker room until the game was over. ESPN was still suggesting this morning that Klein injured his right wrist, but he completed three passes on his final drive and clapped several times after he came out. His wrist seemed fine. He more likely suffered a blow to the head. Video replays show him getting hit hard on that drive. Coaches took his helmet away, so that’s a possibility. But he was interested in the game and never stopped talking. He wasn’t woozy. He’s played through pain before, but Snyder wouldn’t comment on Klein’s injury this time, other than acknowledging it occurred on his final drive of the night. He said he didn’t know if Klein would be able to play against TCU. It may be a while before we learn anything new on Klein.
2. Here comes Oregon.
Most experts are predicting Oregon to jump Notre Dame in the BCS standings today. The Ducks piled up yards and points while beating USC on Saturday, and the Fighting Irish needed all kinds of good fortune to hold off Pittsburgh. So Oregon is now the team K-State fans love to hate. It has challenging games remaining against Stanford and Oregon State and possibly a trip to the Pac-12 championship game. If the Ducks go undefeated, their strength of schedule could help them jump K-State in the BCS standings. One thing to keep an eye on, though, is Texas. The Longhorns, coming off a strong win at Texas Tech, no longer look like a pushover. They are 7-2, and if they keep winning they could help K-State’s strength of schedule in Decemeber. TCU winning at West Virginia on Saturday also probably helps the Wildcats in that department.
3. Daniel Sams looked capable.
If Klein isn’t able to start against TCU, and Sams has to lead the offense, it will be interesting to see how K-State changes it strategy on offense. Sams completed five of six passes for 45 yards on Saturday, and he seemed to be at his best when coaches opened up the offense for him. But his throwing motion is more unconventional than Klein’s, and he is known as a run-first quarterback. His speed could cause some problems for a defense, especially with Angelo Pease in the backfield with him, but he has never had to do more than play at the end of blowouts. With the pressure on against Oklahoma State, he led K-State to a pair of field goals. Coaches questioned his knowledge of the offense at the beginning of the season, and that’s a main reason why he fell behind Tavarius Bender before he left the program. He is still untested, but Sams appears to have progressed in the past few months. “Daniel did a great job,” center B.J. Finney said. “He stepped up and knew what to do. He was calling plays and calling checks that were great checks that Collin would have made. We just had to execute better up front to give him that yardage and that time.”
A few that were good:
It didn’t take long for the people who hand out the Walter Camp national Player of the Week award to choose a defensive player today. By making three interceptions against Oklahoma State, Chapman (aka Bubba) was an obvious pick. The cornerback returned one of them for a touchdown, and broke up two other passes. He almost made four interceptions, and played his second straight quality game.
“Bubba had a great game with those turnovers,” linebacker Jarell Childs said. “It got us a lot of momentum.”
Another nice game from the senior receiver. He made five catches for 89 yards, including an impressive diving grab. He has turned into a big-play threat over the last three weeks.
Forget what his father and uncle did at K-State, Lockett is on pace to leave his own legacy. The sophomore receiver caught five passes for 75 yards and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. He has been a consistent deep threat for the Wildcats this season, and will likely earn all-Big 12 honors for the second straight year.
His thoughts on the kickoff return: “I had to be able to read my blocks and follow Tramaine (Thompson), because he is going to take me where I need to go. There are 10 other blockers out there who know what they are doing and are doing their part, so I’ve got to do my part also.”
John Hubert scored two touchdowns, but Pease churned out yardage. The running back rushed for 72 yards on nine carries, and looked good in open space. He spun off defenders and used his speed to his advantage.
He knew his playing time was going to go up without Tre Walker in the lineup, and he handled the extra responsibilities well. The linebacker made a team-high eight tackles and broke up a pass.
The defensive end also made eight tackles and recorded a sack. He was active at the line of scrimmage.
Moments after K-State scored on a kickoff return, Oklahoma State scored on a kickoff return of its own. Desmond Roland and Justin Gilbert combined for 160 return yards. Snyder was displeased by that effort afterward. Though they were better than Oklahoma State’s coverage unit. On Lockett’s kickoff return, kicker/punter Quinn Sharp sprinted out of Lockett’s way instead of trying to make a tackle.
Randall Evans/Ty Zimmerman
Both have been reliable defensive backs this season, but they allowed Austin Hays to easily catch a 54-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Evans let Hays by him, thinking Zimmerman would cover him deep. But Zimmerman was moving forward, trying to cover other receivers. Hays slipped by undetected and walked into the end zone.
Another quiet game after a strong start.
Collin Klein was under more pressure than normal and Hubert only managed 38 rushing yards. Not a good day up front for the Wildcats.
Said center B.J. Finney: “The offensive line has got to play better.”
Key play you may have overlooked
Kansas State ran its first successful trick play of the season. It came on a flea-flicker pass from Klein to Harper. The handoff fooled Oklahoma State’s defense, and when Klein got the ball back he found Harper open on the right side. Harper then took off up the sideline for big yardage. That was a nice change for the Wildcats, who failed to execute trick plays against Miami and Texas Tech.
Nobody motivates his team to respond faster than Bill Snyder. K-State fell behind early against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, but methodically answered back with touchdowns. The Wildcats led both games at halftime and were in control in the second half. They are making flawless adjustments right now.
Teams rarely answer one kickoff return touchdown with another kickoff return touchdown, but when they do K-State seems to be involved. Lockett and Roland had back-to-back touchdown returns Saturday. K-State and North Texas traded touchdown returns two years ago as well. Weird.
Quote to note
“We don’t want to settle, because we haven’t done nothing yet we haven’t proven anything. We’ve got a lot to prove. There are three games left. Who knows what might happen.” – Tyler Lockett