|Collin Klein vaulted into the Heisman lead Saturday night. (US Presswire)|
Kansas State Won.The Wildcats went on the road as underdogs and dominated West Virginia in vintage K-State fashion, methodically orchestrating nine scoring drives on ten offensive possessions en route their seventh consecutive win. The Mountaineers' prolific offense was frustrated from start to finish, outgained by more than 200 yards, and never came close to threatening Kansas State's lead.
Why Kansas State Won. For all intents and purposes, Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein was perfect, completing 19 of 21 passes for a career-high 323 yards and three touchdowns, good for the highest pass efficiency rating (266.8) recorded against an FBS defense this season. Fifteen of those 19 completions went to two receivers, Tyler Lockett and Chris Harper, who combined for 290 yards and all three touchdowns. Oh, and Klein added four touchdowns rushing, too. At one point, the Wildcats scored touchdowns on seven consecutive possessions, and were never stopped.
Defensively, the deliberate tempo heavily favored K-State: The fast-paced Mountaineers ran just 62 plays on offense, well below their season average, and more than half of those snaps came with the score already well out of reach in the second half. But Geno Smith and his band of prolific receivers didn't do anything with the ball when they got the chance, failing to score an offensive touchdown until well into garbage time in the fourth quarter. (Prior to that, WVU's only other score came on a second quarter kickoff return by Tavon Austin.) West Virginia's first eight possessions of the night resulted in five punts, two interceptions and a turnover on downs.
When Kansas State Won.Austin's kickoff return briefly cut the Wildcats' lead to 24-7 with a little more than four minutes remaining before halftime, and was the only point at which West Virginia gave any indication that it might fight back. But K-State answered emphatically, marched right back down the field on the subsequent possession for another touchdown – Klein's third scoring run on as many drives – effectively slamming the door at 31-7 going into the half.
What Kansas State Won.The Wildcats not only remain in sole possession of first place in the Big 12 standings: They obliterated a home favorite that was ranked in the top five just eight days ago, giving them arguably the two best road wins (at Oklahoma in September and at West Virginia) of any team in college football. From here, K-State will inch forward against in the next BCS standings, and should be favored to win the rest of its games down the stretch. By any standard, it is a serious contender to play for the BCS championship.
What West Virginia Lost. WVU was blown out for the second week in a row, this time at home, emphatically ending its hopes of a Big 12 championship or a return to a BCS bowl. Geno Smith, the ostensible Heisman frontrunner for most of the year to this point, has ceded the title to Klein, and likely will not return to the race. From here, just two weeks removed from ascending into the upper reaches of the polls themselves, the Mountaineers are just looking to fend off a spiral into the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – or worse.