MANHATTAN, Kan. — Three weeks ago, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
By TONY ADAME
The Wichita Eagle
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel changed that.
So how does that affect the Wildcats heading into Saturdays regular-season finale against Texas?
If you listen to the principal characters, not one bit.
Its there, but again, at this point it still doesnt matter its insignificant from where were at as a team and what weve got on our plate this week, Klein said. Like Ive said before, its hard to get away from that stuff with social media and everything around, but I do the best I possibly can we do the best I possibly can to stay focused on what were doing this week and go from there.
All that after-the-season stuff will take care of itself.
Kleins less-than-stellar performances in the Wildcats last two games a 23-10 win at TCU and a 52-24 loss at Baylor after K-State moved up to No. 1 in the BCS standings contributed as much to his fall-off from Heisman favorite as Manziels big games in wins over No. 1 Alabama, Sam Houston State and Missouri.
Against the Horned Frogs, Klein passed for 145 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 50 yards and two touchdowns in 15 carries.
Against Baylor, the bottom fell out in the Wildcats first loss. Klein threw for 286 yards, two touchdowns and a season-high three interceptions. He rushed for just 39 yards in 17 carries.
In that same stretch, Manziel threw for 892 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 259 yards and four touchdowns. The Aggies are 10-2 and Manziels 4,600 yards of total offense are a Southeastern Conference record. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo is also considered a top-three candidate for the prize along with Klein and Manziel, but the 12-0 Irish have already finished the regular season and will play for the BCS title on Jan. 7 in Miami.
Along with their Heisman status, all three are among the finalists announced Wednesday for the Walter Camp player of the year award.
We definitely need to get back on track, Klein said. The last two performances havent been stellar so theres a lot of motivation. Texas is a very good team with very fine athletes that run around and get to the football.
Even with Manziel as the favorite, its not out of the realm of possibility for Klein to make it a race again with a huge game against Texas in front of a national audience also Kleins final home game for No. 7 K-State, 10-1. The Wildcats can clinch their first Big 12 title since 2003 and a Fiesta Bowl bid with a win or an Oklahoma loss.
I really havent had time to think back, or wanted to, Klein said. Its like something that my dad has always said to me and that coach (Bill) Snyder has said to me you do the best you can and think about that, not about what you want to accomplish.
Snyder qualified his response when asked if he thought at all about Kleins Heisman hopes when game-planning for Texas.
No, I dont, Snyder said. But that doesnt reflect my feelings toward Collin. I would love for him to play extremely well, but Im like Collin in that I want him to play well for his team and provide them the opportunity to be successful. Thats one of the things that makes him such a significant and wonderful young guy is that he cares about other things than himself.
Hed like to win (the Heisman), Im sure, but we all know thats in somebody elses hands.