Or, “Where does this Collin Klein performance stand on the all-time Wildcat carts for a single game?”
Addressing both questions, take into consideration what was on the line, and the fact West Virginia was ranked No. 17 in the nation prior to the over-whelming 55-14 victory.
For starters, on the line was maintaining a first-place hold on the Big 12 Conference standings with victories now over the top two contenders, and both coming on the road, and against a team ranked No. 17 nationally.
It was an absolute total domination.
The Wildcats won on the road against a ranked team for unprecedented fourth game in a row, which includes “W’s” over No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 24 Iowa State and now No. 17 West Virginia in the first seven games of this season.
The 41-point margin, 55-14, ranks as the most lop-sided win over a ranked team in K-State history, with the 55 points against a ranked team being second only to the 1969 Wildcats that defeated a No. 11-ranked Oklahoma squad, 59-21.
While K-State’s offense was relentless, equally impressive is the fact that the Wildcat defense allowed just 14 points on 263 yards to a West Virginia team that had been averaging 46 points on 544 yards.
Oh, and this. It was a game where Collin Klein accounted for seven touchdowns and passed for over 300 yards for the first time in his career, and Tyler Lockett caught passes for 194 yards, which ranks fifth in K-State history … and more than his father, Kevin, ever caught in a single game.
This scribbling isn’t to say Saturday’s toying with the Mountaineers is the greatest game in K-State history, but it’s certainly one for that conversation with other considerations of most dominating performance being:
• 2003 – No. 13 K-State 35, No. 1 Oklahoma 7 for the Big 12 title
• 1997 –No. 10 K-State 38, No. 14 Syracuse 18 in the Fiesta Bowl
• 1969 – No. 18 K-State 59, No. 11 Oklahoma 21 for KSU’s first-ever win against a ranked team
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said afterward, "We lost to a very good football team tonight. You have to give Kansas State a lot of credit. They were mistake-free on all sides of the ball.”
And, then there were the words that almost make you chuckle from the ever-so-hard to please Mr. Snyder: “We played well. We made mistakes and need to get better, but collectively, I think we did a nice job."
This is not to correct Mr. Snyder’s assessment, but “a nice job” might be the understatement of the night.
Now, concerning Mr. Klein’s performance, once again, maybe … that’s maybe … one can find a better 60-minute Wildcat performance, but then again, maybe not.
Klein set an all-time K-State record for accounting for seven touchdowns … that’s seven – four rushing and three passing – in a single game.
In doing so, he became only the 12th different quarterback in K-State history to hurl the ball for at least 300 yards, with his 323 total ranking 23rd on the single-game list.
Oh yes, he did so on just 21 passing attempts, of which 19 were completions, to go along with his 12 carries for 41 yards and four scores.
Let me do the math for you:
• That’s averaging 17 yards per completion
• That’s averaging 15 yards per attempt
• That’s averaging one touchdown per seven passing attempts
• That’s averaging one touchdown for every three carries
Let’s further detail that. That’s 33 total plays that Klein was involved in with the result being seven touchdowns for Klein, who was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week.
Best game ever? Maybe … maybe not. But again, when one considers the setting, and what was on the line for the team, it’s a performance that’s in the same conversation with:
• 1969 – Lynn Dickey passing for 380 yards against No. 11 Oklahoma for the Wildcats first win over a ranked team
• 1997 – Michael Bishop rushing for 77 yards and passing for 317, accounting for five touchdowns in a 35-18 win against No. 14 Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl
• 1998 – Michael Bishop rushing or 140 yards and passing for 306 against No. 11 Nebraska for KSU’s first win against the Big Red since 1968
• 2003 – Ell Roberson passing for 227 yards and four touchdowns, plus rushed for 62 yards in a stunning win over No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game
• 2011 – Collin Klein accounting for six touchdowns in a 53-50 four OT win over Texas A&M when he rushed for 103 yards and five scores and passed for 281 and another TD
Here’s guessing where Holgorsen’s vote would go as following the game the West Virginia coach said of Klein: "He doesn’t do anything wrong. He doesn’t make mistakes. He is the same guy we saw on film. He is exactly the same guy we thought he would be. He’s hard to tackle, he gets in good plays and doesn’t turn the ball over. You can say what you want about his throwing motion, but it goes exactly where he wants it to go. He is a good football player."
This is not to correct Mr. Holgorsen’s assessment, but “a good football player” might be yet another understatement of the night.
Mr. Klein is much, much more than a “good football player,” as Saturday’s primetime performance may be/should be Klein’s defining moment for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.
After all, K-State’s No. 7 has out-played, and defeated, Oklahoma and its Heisman Trophy candidate in Landry Jones, and now out-played, and defeated, West Virginia and its Heisman Trophy candidate in Geno Smith.
Democrat or Republican, how difficult of a vote does that make it for the Heisman?