Kansas State QB Klein is on a rush
Kansas State senior Collin Klein doesn't fit the description of a traditional Big 12 quarterback.
Klein is a strong runner who's also a highly efficient passer. He isn't a threat to throw for 400 yards and six touchdowns like some of his counterparts, but he leads the only remaining undefeated team in the conference against West Virginia on Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“He doesn't throw for gaudy numbers. That's what the game has become right now, but because he doesn't do that, he's unique,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “He's as good a quarterback at doing what his team needs him to do in college football.”
Klein has passed for 1,074 yards and rushed for 510. His 17 total touchdowns include 10 rushing.
He ranks 17th nationally in passing efficiency and is responsible for Kansas State checking in at 10th in third-down efficiency. (WVU is No. 14.)
“You look at them throwing the ball, and it doesn't look good, but it goes exactly where you want it to go,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Kansas State is 16-3 since Klein became the starter, including 6-0 this year.
“I was a pro-style quarterback in high school. And we threw more than we ran,” Klein said in July. “That's what I was originally recruited to Kansas State to do. Last year took on a little bit of a shape of its own to where, ‘I'll do whatever I have to do to win.' I ended up running the ball a lot. But whatever I need to do, I'll do it.”
Klein is as comfortable running the ball as he is passing. His ability to do both will test the Mountaineers' defense.
“A lot of times, he'll look like he's running the ball, then he'll pretend to run but throw it deep — and he has the arm to complete it,” linebacker Doug Rigg said. “We can't assume it's going to be a run and give up receivers going deep.”
Klein understands his role as a multi-purpose quarterback under coach Bill Snyder. Thanks to his comfort level with the offense, Klein relishes his effectiveness as a runner.
“I have probably become more patient as I have gotten older and run it more,” said Klein, who averages 5.2 yards per carry. “I know that it is a balance because sometimes you have to wait and feel your way through it, and other times you have got to go. If you wait, then it will go from bad to worse. It is just a feel thing.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.