MANHATTAN, Kan. -- As college football approaches its crescendo, its not enough to watch one football game, especially when the top three of the Bowl Championship Series standings are locked in battle.But in the aftermath of Kansas States 44-30 victory over Oklahoma State that kept the Wildcats No. 2 in the BCS undefeated, the biggest question involved the status of quarterback Collin Klein, who didnt play the fourth quarter because of an injury.He obviously was injured, or we wouldnt have taken him out, K-State coach Bill Snyder said.No program keeps injury information closer to the vest than Kansas State, so specifics werent offered. Klein spent the fourth quarter on the sideline. He was seen chatting with teammates while watching reserve Daniel Sams bring the victory home, kept his hands in his jersey pockets and didnt appear shaken. That Klein didnt spend the remainder of the game in the locker room might be interpreted as positive.But again, who knows?Kleins status becomes the major issue for the Wildcats going forward.The Wildcats faithful almost had another blockbuster to process. After Kansas State had marched lockstep to the locker room, LSU was leading top-ranked Alabama by a field goal. The Wildcats entered the week third in the polls and second in the BCS. A Crimson Tide loss likely would have pushed K-State into the top BCS spot.But Alabama rallied for the triumph and, as fourth-ranked Notre Dame did earlier by surviving a triple-overtime marathon with Pittsburgh, the Tide remained perfect.Kansas State, 9-0, did the same thing because it got enough from Klein, the defense and special teams to hold off a physical and motivated Oklahoma State team that, as the defending Big 12 champion, knows something about winning.Kleins night of 245 passing and 64 rushing yards should be enough to keep him in the Heisman Trophys drivers seat. Tyler Locketts 100-yard kickoff return gave the Wildcats their first two-score lead, and kicker Anthony Cantele kicked three field goals.The night, however, was about turnovers and Kansas States clean slate opposed to Oklahoma States five giveaways.The Cowboys are strong enough to play with anybody, but this season no Wildcats opponent can get even a little bit sloppy with possessions. The biggest cliché in football the one about avoiding turnovers that is uttered matter-of-factly by coaches before every game, becomes a frustrated mutter of Kansas State opponents every week.For everything else working for the Wildcats this season, the most jaw-dropping statistic is 111-0.Kansas State has turned opponents turnovers into 111 points, including 21 against Oklahoma State. One of cornerback Allen Chapmans three interceptions on the evening went for a touchdown.Opponents have turned Kansas State turnovers into zero points. Now, Kansas State doesnt kick it around much anyway. They wake up today as the team with the fewest turnovers in the nation, four.That was the number of Oklahoma State miscues by the end of the first possession of the third quarter. Like two of the previous three, Kansas State turned this one into a touchdown, driving 93 yards for a 38-17 margin and knocking Cowboys quarterback Wes Lunt out of the game in the process.Profiting from all opportunities is merely one slice of this amazing K-State pie. Heres another one: Saturday marked the eighth time in nine games that the opponent did not score without Kansas State responding with a score.It didnt always happen immediately after Oklahoma State points, but the Cowboys didnt score without Kansas State answering.Think about that. An opponent punches it in the end zone, as Oklahoma State did on its first possession Saturday. After forcing a Wildcats punt on their first drive, the Cowboys looked sharp and struck on a long pass play to open the scoring. Another home crowd in excess of 50,000 was hushed.Until K-State got the ball back. Six plays and 75 yards later, Klein got off an option pitch to John Hubert just in time for Hubert to reach the pylon from the 1.This answerability, combined with the Wildcats handle-the-ball-with-care mind-set applies pressure that opponents have not overcome. Its how Kansas State has battled past three opponents, all ranked: West Virginia, Texas Tech and now the Cowboys.The chase continues in full stride for a Big 12 championship and anything beyond. But until more is known about Klein, one of the toughest players to have ever pulled on a Kansas State uniform, a bit of uneasiness will envelop the Wildcats.
Posted on Sun, Nov. 04, 2012 12:22 AMShare Email Print Order Reprints
Wildcats look like champs, but Kleins injury puts a scare into K-State
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