By Mark Janssen
Kansas State played to its strength, and Texas demonstrated it had none.
That was the story Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium as the Wildcats became bowl-eligible for just the second time in the last seven years with a 39-14 whippin' on the Longhorns.
And the mood of claiming that needed sixth win to be eligible for postseason play, senior Wade Weibert said, "It's nice because people will stop asking you when you'll get that sixth win. Now we're ready to rock and roll and start winning more games."
It wasn't necessarily a three yards and a cloud of dust offense, but K-State opted to run the ball until Texas stopped the attack, which it never did. First-time starting quarterback Collin Klein rushed for 127 yards on 25 carries, while Daniel Thomas accounted for 106 yards on 18 carries. Both scored a pair of touchdowns.
It marked the first time since 2006 - James Johnson (127) and Leon Patton (112) - that two KSU players topped the 100-yard mark in the same game.
All total, 261 of K-State's 270 yards came on the ground as did all five of the Wildcat touchdowns.
"I don't think that was the plan originally," Klein said of the run game. "We started off with it early, and just never went away from it. Again the offensive line was just great, and even the receivers were doing a great job of blocking when they weren't getting many balls, which speaks to their character."
Coach Bill Snyder said of the game plan, "If it gets you in the end zone, I'd be disappointed if we changed course. That wasn't necessarily the direction we chose to go going into the ballgame. We didn't say we were going to run it all day and throw for 9 yards, but we were having some success and our defense was playing so well in getting turnovers. We were having success, and the score was such that it allowed us not to have to take any particular chances. We were running OK, so we kept running."
Overall, it was a game of extremes with the 'Cats using a stop us if you can running attack, a ball-stealing defense and played flawlessly in the special team's area. Texas did none of the above.
"We did what we needed to do to win," said Klein. "Hats off to the defense and the short fields they set up with interceptions."
KLEIN GETS START: Collin Klein enjoys making music on the piano, violin and mandolin, but against the Longhorns he let his dancing feet make music in his first career start as a Wildcat quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 233-pounder rushed for 127 yards on 25 carries, which included second-quarter touchdown runs of 12 and 10 yards.
While Snyder said Klein knew around 10:30 in the morning that he would start over the banged-up Carson Coffman, Klein said it was " ... about 30 minutes before the game."
After an 0-of-2 passing effort in the first half, Klein's first completion was at the 7:29 mark of the third quarter on a flare pass to Daniel Thomas that went for four yards. Klein finished the game 2-of-4 for 9 yards with both passes going to Thomas.
The four passing attempts set a school record for the fewest in a game, and the nine passing yards were the fewest since the school record of -3 yards set in 1955 against Oklahoma State.
HOW ABOUT THESE STARTS! K-State scored on the second play of the game on a 34-yard run by Daniel Thomas just 53 seconds into the game.
In the second half, Tysyn Hartman intercepted UT's first snap, and K-State scored on another Thomas run on KSU's second play just 48 seconds into the half.
HOW ABOUT THIS NUMBER! K-State scored five interceptions - two each by Ty Zimmerman and Tysyn Hartman, and one by Stephen Harrison ... all against Garrett Gilbert.
"Any time you create five turnovers, you have a good chance to come out on top," said Zimmerman. "We had guys step up today."
Including a Zimmerman pick in the end zone at the end of the first half, K-State opened the second half with a Hartman interception on the first play, and after a KSU score, Zimmerman was thieving again three plays into UT's next possession. That made three interceptions in five UT plays.
Oh, the five picks were not a single-game record. That standard is seven versus Missouri in 1938 and again in 1951.
WOEFUL 'HORNS: With a roster filled with 5- and 4-Star recruits, Texas has now scored just 10 touchdowns in its last seven games, and no more than two in any of those games.
In the first half K-State rolled up a 24-0 lead as Texas allowed a 62-yard kickoff return by William Powell to open the game; a 34-yard run for a touchdown by Daniel Thomas on the second play of the game; had a bad snap that went for -18 yards on a fake field goal; threw three interceptions; twice fumbled kickoffs, but recovered; failed on a fake punt; and, had a holding call negate what would have been a 70-plus yard touchdown.
First-half drives ended with a botched fake field goal, interception, punt, punt, fake punt, interception and interception.
Oh, the first play of the second half?
That was yet another K-State interception that was returned 34 yards to the UT 14-yard line.
In addition, UT embarrassed itself with unsportsmanlike penalties, plus blocked a KSU extra point, but then allowed kicker Josh Cherry to pick it up and run it in for a two-point conversion.
UT has now lost three Big 12 Conference games in a row for the first time in the Mack Brown era - Iowa State, 28-21; Baylor, 30-22; K-State, 39-14.
THOMAS UPDATE: Daniel Thomas made the most of his first carry of the game as he zoomed 34 yards for a touchdown. On that single run, he went past the 1,000-yard mark for the year, moved to No. 4 on the all-time KSU rushing chart, and scored his 22nd career TD to rank No. 8 in Wildcat history.
Thomas ended his night with 106 yards on 18 carries for an average of 5.9 yards per carry. He also scored TDs of 34 and 9 yards. Thomas did not play in the fourth quarter. His 23 career TDs ties him with Michael Bishop and Mack Herron for sixth high in a career. It was his 11th game of at least 100 yards in his career.
KSU RECORD BOOK: No. 1 Darren Sproles, 4,979; No. 2. Ell Roberson, 2,818; No. 3. Eric Hickson, 2,537; No. 4. DANIEL THOMAS, 2,367.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: Asked who would start the next game at quarterback between Carson Coffman and Collin Klein, Snyder quipped, "We'll have to get the coin out." Turning serious, he said he didn't know.
SPORTS EXTRA GAME BALLS
Offense - COLLIN KLEIN had 127 rushing yards on 25 carries and two TDs; DANIEL THOMAS had 106 yards on 18 carries and two TDs; OFFENSIVE LINE of Wade Weibert, Zach Kendall, Kenneth Mayfield, Zach Hanson/Clyde Aufner, and Manase Foketi supplied the blocking for the run game.
Defense - STEPHEN HARRISON had an interception that set up a KSU field goal; TYSYN HARTMAN intercepted the first play of the second half and had two for the game; TY ZIMMERMAN scored an interception in the end zone late in the first half, and added a second in the second half to go with seven tackles; true-freshman TRE WALKER had 11 tackles; BLAKE SLAUGHTER had 10 tackles.
Special Teams - WILLIAM POWELL, the national leader in KOR, opened the game with a 62-yard kickoff return; STEPHEN HARRISON recovered a fumble on a fake field goal, plus made a tackle on a fake punt.
THE BOWL STORY: Seven Big 12 teams are already bowl eligible with at least six wins - MU, NU, OU, OSU, BU, KSU and A&M. Every other team still has a chance to reach six victories, but it's likely no more than two will do so giving the Big 12 nine eligible teams for the eight bowls the league has contracts with.
Texas Tech (5-4) - at OU, Weber State, Houston
Iowa State (5-5) - at CU, MU
Texas (4-5) - OSU, Florida Atlantic, A&M
Colorado (3-6) - ISU, KSU, at NU
Kansas (3-6) - at NU, OSU, MU (in KC)
BIG 12 BOWL PARTNERS: (In order of selecting)
BCS - Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1, Tempe, Ariz.
AT&T Cotton Bowl (vs. SEC), Jan. 7, Dallas, Texas
Valero Alamo (vs. Pac-10), Dec. 29, San Antonio, Texas
Insight (vs. Big Ten), Dec. 28, Tempe, Ariz.
Bridgepoint Holiday (vs. Pac-10), Dec. 30, San Diego, Calif.
Texas (vs. Big Ten), Dec. 29, Houston, Texas
New Era Pinstripe (vs. Big East), Dec. 30, New York, New York
Dallas Football Classic (vs. Big Ten/ACC), Jan. 1, Dallas, Texas
• The 25-point margin of victory was not a KSU record in this series. That happened in 1998 when K-State harnessed Rickey Williams and the 'Horns by 41 points, 48-7.
• K-State has now defeated Texas in each of the last three games. Since the start of Big 12 play, K-State is 5-2 against UT.
• The attendance was 46,734. The season total of 298,897 is the largest for a six-game home season in KSU history and the average of 49,816 is the third-highest in school history.
• In home games under Bill Snyder, K-State is now 97-19-1.
• Before the game, 22 seniors were introduced prior to their final game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
• Texas coach Mack Brown became a grandpa in the last week to Tyler Dillon. Of course, gramps is already calling him "TD."
NEXT WEEK: Kansas State wraps up its season with three road games at Missouri, Colorado and North Texas. Next Saturday's game in Columbia, Mo., will have an 11:30 a.m. kickoff on Fox Sports Net.