Heading into the last stretch of the season, all eyes are on four teams: Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame. Three of those teams are frequently connected with dominant football teams. Granted, Notre Dame experienced a bit of a cold streak in recent memory, but their grandeur of its past football dynasties remains.
Kansas State is a little different. The dark horse coming out of the Big 12 caught people off guard, mostly due to the tantalizing play of quarterback Collin Klein. There is no other way to say it: Klein has been incredible. In the first part of the season, many classified him as an elusive quarterback who will be at the mercy of linebackers once defenses adjust. It’s true he is a running quarterback. He has rushed for 698 yards and 17 TDs. But a one-trick pony? He is certainly not that, as he leads the nation with a 174.4 passer rating. He has completed 71.1 percent of his throws — for comparison, Oregon freshman Marcus Mariota sits at 70.5 percent — and Klein averages 10.1 yards each pass, with 12 touchdowns.
A Kansas State team with Klein at the helm is definitely something Oregon needs to fear. Last week, the Wildcats took down their fourth ranked opponent in Oklahoma State in impressive fashion and proved they are for real.
Unfortunately, in the second half of that game, Klein was pulled from the game and consensus is that it was due to a concussion. K-State head coach Bill Snyder has yet to announce if Klein will play this week on the road against TCU, a team with a brutal defense that leads the conference in both sacks and run defense.
How big of a threat does that pose? Maybe a smaller one than you would expect. The Kansas State defense has become somewhat of an unsung hero due to the high-octane offense, but it has played nothing short of brilliantly.
Kansas State has taken advantage of opponent turnovers to the tune of 111 points, while giving up an incredible zero points off turnovers. Maybe even more impressive, they have thrown only two picks and fumbled twice, yet they are forcing turnovers at a rapid rate, stealing five in the Oklahoma State game.
Maybe Klein will sit out on Saturday, maybe not. One thing is for sure — a team that has reached 9-0 in a BCS conference is more than one player. Klein is the Heisman frontrunner and has accomplished special things on the field this year, but Kansas State is much deeper than they get credit for. Duck fans are right to fear K-State.