One of the more surprising teams in college football this season has been Kansas State.
The Wildcats, who are 7-0 and 4-0 in the Big 12, are No. 8 in the latest BCS rankings. Kansas State has had some impressive wins this season, including a big win at Miami (Fla.), 28-24, on Sept. 24. Kansas State used the Miami win to build momentum and that has carried through the first half of its Big 12 schedule. The Wildcats beat Baylor and Missouri at home and got a big win at Texas Tech, which is looking a lot better after the Red Raiders upset Oklahoma last week. Kansas State crushed in-state rival Kansas last week.
This week, however, the Wildcats get their toughest test thus far when No. 9 Oklahoma comes to town on Saturday (3:30 p.m. on ESPN). The Sooners are likely to be fired up after the bad loss last Saturday night against Texas Tech, a game in which Oklahoma fell behind 31-7 and eventually lost 41-38. The entire country will find out if Kansas State is truly a Big 12 contender.
When asked if his players were aware of how big Saturday’s game against Oklahoma is, head coach Bill Snyder said his players know.
“I think they are. It is not like there are seven weeks of preparation and then there is an isolated week,” Snyder told reporters during his press conference on Tuesday. “We still have to prepare the same way we have always done. Whether that is good or bad, I do not know, but that is the way we know how to do it. It does not mean that this is another game. They all understand the significance of the ballgame and the tremendous team that we are playing, but how you prepare does not or should not really change.”
Snyder has done a solid job since returning to the sidelines. Kansas State went 6-6 in his first year back in 2009 and 7-6 last season with an appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Snyder will surely get some support for national coach of the year if the Wildcats continue to win.
Tough junior quarterback Collin Klein has been a big reason for Kansas State’s success. Klein is the team’s leading rusher with 670 yards and 14 touchdowns. Klein has also passed for 934 yards and eight touchdowns.
Klein reflected on the success of this season on Tuesday.
“It has been an awesome journey so far,” Klein told reporters. “We have really come together in a very special way, and I know that we can definitely continue that improvement. At this point, we just need to keep focus on the next step, and there will be a time where we can look back and see that it has been pretty special, but it is not over yet. The job is not done and we have to make sure that we keep our nose to the grindstone and not look too far ahead or back behind to distract us.”
John Hubert has helped Klein with Kansas State’s solid running game. Hubert has 637 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas State is 19th nationally in rushing yards per game, averaging 213.86.
Kansas State begins a brutal stretch with the Oklahoma game on Saturday. After playing the Sooners, the Wildcats go to No. 3 Oklahoma State, then home to No. 16 Texas A&M and then a road trip to No. 24 Texas.
The Wildcats, however, have found a successful formula for winning games. In addition to the rushing attack, Kansas State is No. 1 nationally in time of possession (34:52 per game). Kansas State is also +8 in turnover margin (1.14 average margin, tied for 10th best in the nation) and the defense is ranked 29th nationally (337.14 yards per game).