Kansas State keeps on rolling
AMES, Iowa — This weekend's matchup of Kansas State and West Virginia was supposed to break the tie atop the Big 12.
There's no doubt who leads the league now.
No. 4 Kansas State (6-0, 3-0) emerged from Saturday's 27-21 win over Iowa State (4-2, 1-2) as the Big 12's only unbeaten team — both overall and in the conference.
Although the Wildcats would lose their grip on the league lead with a loss at No. 17 West Virginia — which is no doubt smarting after the 49-14 shellacking by Texas Tech on Saturday — they woke up Sunday as the unquestioned class of the conference.
Just don't tell coach Bill Snyder that.
“I'd like for us to have played better than we did across the board,” he said. “There were times we played extremely well ... but, by the same token, we still had some issues.”
Kansas State's winning formula has been simple: Play sound, disciplined defense, and let Collin Klein handle the offense.
Klein was brilliant again Saturday, posting 292 total yards and three rushing TDs against an Iowa State defense that entered the weekend ranked third in the Big 12, allowing fewer than 16 points per game.
Klein converted a series of crucial third downs on a key drive in the fourth quarter. It produced a field goal and, more importantly, ate up more than eight minutes when the Cyclones desperately needed to make something happen on offense.
Klein also responded with a quick touchdown drive after Iowa State seized momentum with a 30-yard TD pass from Jared Barnett to Ernst Brun late in the first half.
“He's an All-American in my book. He doesn't get the attention because he's not as flashy and doesn't put up the gaudy numbers that some of the other college football players do,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said of Klein. “But he has a 6-0 football team that is ranked in the top five in the country.”
Perhaps the most troubling problem for Snyder was penalties. Kansas State had just nine all season, but it committed nine more in Ames.
“It was tremendously out of character for us,” he said. “We had been the least penalized team in the country, and now we look like the most penalized team in the country. That's a matter of discipline.”
But given how well the Wildcats are playing, Snyder likely was resorting to nit-picking.
“They can play,” Rhoads said, “with anybody in the country.”