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Curtis Kitchen's Blog

Curtis Kitchen has followed the Big 12, Kansas State and national college basketball beat including K-State's run to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 in 2010. You can currently follow his work at his blog: In the past, he also covered the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) for Major League Soccer's site as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals for the other sports station in town. His freelance portfolio ranges media outlets and publications, including (part of the Rivals network), and the Miami Herald.

Curtis Kitchen: K-State: Klein-or-bust or busted Klein?

From the Kansas State media packet for this week's game against Texas A&M:

"Quarterback Collin Klein has certainly been the workhouse (sic) offensively for Kansas State this season, which is roughly 65.9 percent."

That has to be a typographical error, or is it?

House certainly seems to fit the description better than horse.

It has been a season to remember for the brickhouse of a junior quarterback, whose career to this point was notable really only because of his switching positions from quarterback to wideout to quarterback. Not to mention, his inability to unseat Carson Coffman as the starter a year ago.

The world's view, from ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit on down, has changed for the 6-foot-5, 226-lb. signal caller. Herbstreit, earlier this season, said Klein is the "best quarterback you've never heard of." Best might be stretching just a bit, unless by "best," Herbie meant "tough."

Go back to that earlier quote from the media packet, and think about the percentage of offense - 65.9 percent? Combining his throwing and rushing attempts, Klein has been in on 398 of K-State's 631 plays.  That doesn't really sound all that remarkable until one realizes the QB has more rushing attempts (206) than throws (192).  That margin was larger until KSU opened up its playbook more in the past few games. The negative side would say that's inexcusable considering the amount of supposed talent K-State was thought to have on offense this season.

Truth is, Tyler Lockett (who may be out this weekend, perhaps longer) proved to be the big-play threat that KSU needed, both in the return game and in the offense. But, as a true freshman, it took time for him to acclimate himself to the college game. John Hubert is a perfectly average running back - good enough to contribute. Chris Harper has had a reasonable season considering, before Lockett, he had no help down the field against opposing doubleteams and schemes.

So, the workload fell to Klein. Or, it might be better at this point to say it has fallen on him because the kid isn't nearly 100 percent healthy after toting the rock 206 times already this season (the next highest total in the Big 12 is 151 attempts by Texas A&M running back Cyrus Gray).

More than a month ago, Klein wouldn't shake my hand in postgame because his hands were too sore. A devout Christian, he told me that by God's grace he felt better than he should have been that point. Since then, he has knocked around several times.  Bleeding from his arms and hands is now common. More noticeable was the way Klein refused to take part in the custom march off the field at halftime in Stillwater last Saturday.

In the replay, it appeared as if one of the linemen wanted to lock arms with Klein, which is protocol as the team moves to the locker room. Except, he refused because it looked like he was favoring his shoulder. Yet, we know how the rest of the game played out. Klein's running and throwing, along with also-banged up Lockett's big plays, put K-State in position to almost derail Oklahoma State's season.

I've seen the guy after games multiple times this year, just the same as I've seen every one of the 2129 total yards Klein has racked up. It isn't often that I'm surprised anymore, but I'm shocked every time Klein peels himself off the turf after a hit at this point. That said, he has done exactly that.  With another 94 yards rushing, he will hit the benchmark of 1000 yards throwing and rushing this year. Also, he needs just one more rushing touchdown to make it 20 on the season.

Those things are afterthoughts for Klein. He's driven, no doubt, but it's by the thought of winning. Because of that, he's one of the top two or three reasons K-State has a shot to have a 10 or 11-win season in a year where most picked the Wildcats to have half of that.

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Topics : Sports
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People : BleedingCarson CoffmanChris HarperCollin KleinCurtis KitchenCyrus GrayJohn HubertKirk HerbstreitTyler Lockett

11/11/2011 1:50PM
Curtis Kitchen: K-State: Klein-or-bust or busted Klein?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
03/19/2012 10:16PM
Best Quarterback You've Never Heard Of
I am a K-State fan and I totally agree. He is maybe not the best but he is definetely the toughest. After playing at Miami on the baseball field, Collin Klein has been scratched up and he has never recovered.He keeps fighting through it. That shows a lotof toughness.
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