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Quick Hits: Kansas State 44, Oklahoma State 30

By Matt Hinton | Blogger

KANSAS STATE WON. They had to finish the job without their star quarterback, Collin Klein, but the Wildcats cleared another hurdle to the Big 12 championship and a perfect regular season in impressive fashion. In four games against ranked teams this season, the Wildcats are 4-0 by a combined margin of 91 points.

HOW KANSAS STATE WON. Before he left the game with an unspecified injury in the third quarter, Klein was his usual, hyper-efficient self, completing 16 of 22 passes for 245 yards and adding another 64 on the ground. In seven possession with Klein under center, the Wildcats scored on four of them, including a pair of extended touchdown marches covering 75 and 93 yards. For the game, K-State racked up a nearly 16-minute advantage in time of possession and held Oklahoma State's prolific, up-tempo offense to a season-low 71 plays.

The defense and special teams had a hand in the scoring, too, first on a 100-yard kickoff return by Tyler Lockett in the second quarter, quickly followed by a 29-yard interception return by Allen Chapman just before the half. Chapman's pick-six was one of four Kansas State interceptions, and five takeaways altogether, pushing the Wildcats' turnover margin to a remarkable plus-21 for the season.

WHEN KANSAS STATE WON. The Wildcats closed the first half with back-to-back interceptions off the Cowboys' freshman quarterback, Wes Lunt, one of them resulting in Chapman's touchdown, which extended the K-State lead to 31-17 at the break. On the other side of halftime, they proceeded to pick Lunt for a thirdtime on the opening drive of the third quarter, setting up a 93-yard march by the offense that extended the lead to 17 points on Klein's only touchdown, a one-yard plunge that marked the end of his night.

Though Klein did not return to the game, he did remain in uniform on the sideline, and his condition did not appear to be serious.

WHAT KANSAS STATE WON. In the conference picture, the Wildcats took another giant step toward the Big 12 title, and effectively eliminated another would-be contender in the process. They also created a cushion: With Oklahoma State now sporting two losses in the conference standings and a head-to-head win over second-place Oklahoma already in the bank, K-State can actually afford a stumble in one of its final three games and still claim the conference championship – along with the automatic BCS bid that comes with it – based on the tiebreaker with the Sooners.

Of course, the national picture is not as forgiving. With Notre Dame's close call against Pittsburgh, the Wildcats will almost certainly remain ahead of the Irish in the BCS standings, though most projections still have them being leapt by Oregon as the Ducks' strength of schedule improves over the final month of the season. In the final equation, K-State is probably still holding out hope for an Alabama or Oregon loss down the stretch to move into one of the two available slots for the BCS Championship Game, but it remains very much in the discussion.

WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE LOST. The defending Big 12 champs are virtually eliminated from any chance of a repeat, and likely will not be seen in the polls again for a few more weeks, at least; at 5-3, they're still seeking one more win for bowl eligibility, as well, with a tough stretch ahead against West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma before closing at Baylor. That's not entirely unexpected, but as of tonight, it's official: After the best two-year run in school history in 2010-11, 2012 is a rebuilding year.

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