Collin Klein came out of nowhere last season to lead Kansas State to a seven game win streak, which included an upset over eventual Heisman winner Robert Griffin III and 15th ranked Baylor, to begin the 2011 season.
The Wildcats finished with a 10-3 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl. In fact, the three Wildcat losses were to three top nine teams in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.
A tip in the cap of the Colorado native Klein is that the quarterback is 2-0 as a starter vs. Texas. When Kansas State is defeating Texas in back-to-back seasons, Klein must be doing something right.
Not only is Klein doing something right. He is breaking school and conference records in the process of leading the renaissance in Manhattan, Kansas, with head coach Bill Snyder.
With his 27 rushing touchdowns in 2011, Klein tied former Texas and Heisman winning running back Ricky Williams for the most rushing touchdowns in the Big 12 in a single-season. The 27 trips to the end zone also tied him with former Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season.
Klein also established a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback with his performance during 2011 managing to rush for 1141 yards on a whopping 317 carries.
A bit of a throw-back type of player who brings out the best in his teammates, Klein also threw for 1,918 yards and 13 touchdowns and only throwing six interceptions to compile a 125.6 quarterback rating.
Room for growth exists in the passing game, and Bill Snyder may not like seeing his quarterback take so many hits, but at 6-5 and 226 pounds, Klein has the frame to dish out some pain on his runs through the defense.
Kansas State enters this season ranked 22 in the initial AP poll, so some voters have to be thinking the success of the 2011 squad is not likely to be repeated.
Another 10 win season may be tough to repeat in 2012 with five ranked teams on the schedule, including road dates to Oklahoma, West Virginia, and TCU, but with Klein at quarterback, I would not bet against them.
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.