By Mark Janssen
It was on Tuesday that K-State football coach Bill Snyder last spoke as to who might be the starting quarterback today when Kansas State faces Colorado in a 1:10 (central time) kickoff in Boulder, Colo.
"I do not have a time limit on when we are going to make a decision," said the Wildcat coach at his weekly press conference. "Whenever it seems apparent to do what is best for us, we will make that decision."
From that game, Snyder said, "Both graded out quite high, but that doesn't take away the fact we made some dramatic mistakes that were very costly."
Klein has rushed for consecutive 100-yard games, which is a first for a K-State quarterback since Allen Webb did so in 2004. As wild as it sounds, Klein's two-game rush total of 268 yards - 127 vs. Texas and 141 vs. Missouri - is more than the fleet-footed Michael Bishop ever rushed for in consecutive games from the quarterback position.
An interesting fact, Snyder will agree, but he will add, "In one game it was significant because we won; in one game it was not as significant because we lost."
No matter which quarterback starts, Snyder indicated that, like last week, both quarterbacks will likely play.
One thing that is certain is that 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior Cody Hawkins will quarterback for Colorado.
The son of coach Dan Hawkins, who was released from his position two weeks ago, Cody needs 331 passing yards in the final two games (KSU and at NU) to catch school record-holder Joel Klatt's mark of 7,375 yards. He currently holds the CU school record for most touchdowns accountable for - rushing and passing - with 61.
"He's a very competitive young guy and a quality leader," Snyder said of Hawkins. "He's a gym rat-type guy who has been around the game all his life and is really into it. He has the capacity to manage the game quite well because of his knowledge in the system. He's elusive and a good scrambler."
Last week following his father's firing, Hawkins completed 16-of-24 passes for 266 yards with three touchdowns in CU's victory over Iowa State.
"I admire him for that performance under those circumstances," Snyder said. "I'm sure that provided a great deal of motivation."
IT'S NOT ABOUT ALTITUDE: Snyder dismisses the chatter about how difficult it is to play in the Rockies and at Folsom Field.
"The first couple years (early-1990s) we took all those oxygen tanks and prepared for the altitude," Snyder said. "After doing that a time or two, I said, 'This is nonsense.' It doesn't make any difference. If you were up in the mountains it might be a different story, but it's not up in the mountains."
KEY TO THE GAME: Taking care of things at the line of scrimmage will be a key for K-State. The 'Cats rank second in the Big 12 and 21st in the nation in running the football (200 yards per game), and will be going against a rush defense that ranks second in the league and 35th in the nation (132 yards per game).
DID YOU KNOW: K-State finishes the season facing two interim coaches. Brian Cabral is coaching the Buffs after taking over last week for Dan Hawkins.
Cabral won is his debut last week over Iowa State, 34-14.
On being in charge of the entire team as opposed to being a defensive specialist, Cabral said, "That's probably the most draining and emotional game that I've ever been a part of. As a defensive coach, you're in it when the defense is on the field, but when they come off you take a little break and have the opportunity to laugh and kid the players."
"I've never experienced a game where I was in charge of everything," he said. "I did enjoy it, but it was intense."
Offensive coordinator Mike Canales has taken over from former prep coach Todd Dodge at North Texas. The 3-7 Mean Green is 2-1 under Canales, which included an opening win over Western Kentucky, 33-6.
SERIES NOTES: CU 44, KSU 20, Tie 1 ... K-State has won three of the last four games, but only four of the last nine ... from 1985-1996, K-State went 0-11-1 against the Buffs, but then the 'Cats won four in a row from 1997-2000 ... in games played in the Rockies, K-State is only 5-26 ... with the Buffs headed to the Pac 10, this is the last scheduled game between the two teams.
UPDATING MR. THOMAS: Daniel Thomas has rushed for 1,168 yards, which is 97 yards shy of his 2009 total of 1,265. No K-State back has had a higher total through 10 games than Thomas' 2010 start. Darren Sproles had 1,151 after 10 games in 2004, and 1,099 yards in 2003. Last year Thomas had 1,087 yards after 10 games.
Thomas has rushed for 14 touchdowns, which is three more than last year. His 116.8-yard-per-game average is second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally.
"If we're going to have any chance, we have got to be able to tackle that guy," Cabral said.
CHASING HISTORY: Thomas is just 104 yards away from tying Eric Hickson for third on the all-time rushing charts. Every back ahead of Thomas played four seasons at K-State. Thomas has played two seasons and just 22 games. Of those, he has been over 100 yards in 11.
1. Darren Sproles, 4,979; 2. Ell Roberson, 2,818; 3. Eric Hickson, 2,537; 4. THOMAS, 2,433.
QUOTEABLE QUOTE: On playing K-State and facing coach Bill Snyder, here's CU interim coach Brian Cabral: "They're just old fashion smash-mouth football. I kind of like that; I kind of respect that. I have an awful lot of respect for him, but I don't know if we've ever met. To a certain degree it will be an honor."
WATCH THE GAME AT K-STATESPORTS.COM: A live webcast of today's game is available free to current monthly or annual subscribers to K-State All-Access. Fans who are not subscribers to the service can view the game, and all other exclusive video content available, by registering for either a monthly ($9.95) or annual ($79.95) subscription. To sign up, go to www.k-statesports.com/allaccess and create a login account. For questions or technical issues, fans are encouraged to visit cbssportscs.custhelp.com. Current subscribers can log in to their K-State All-Access account and begin watching the game.
BY THE NUMBERS:
1 - K-State leads the league in fewest penalty yards with 39.7 yards per game.
1 - Colorado leads the league in possession time with 32:34.
2 - Colorado needs two more wins - K-State and at Nebraska - to become bowl eligible.
8 - CU had eight sacks last week against Iowa State.
9-10 - The Buffs are ninth in the league scoring defense (28.8) and 10th in scoring offense (22.9).
49,816 - That was K-State's fan average for its six home games this season. CU averages 48,007 per home game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
• LB TRE WALKER (No. 50) led the team in tackles last week with 12. Walker is a true freshman.
• WR AUBREY QUARLES (No. 89) has caught nine, nine and six passes in three of the last four games. Against the Tigers, he had 133 yards on nine receptions.
• RB RODNEY STEWART (No. 5) ranks third in the league in rushing with 103 yards per game.
• QB CODY HAWKINS (No. 7) is the son of former head coach Dan Hawkins. Hawkins ranks 10th in the league in passing yards at just 118 yards and has thrown just nine TDs. Last week he was 16-of-24 with 266 yards and three TDs. He was the Big 12's Offensive Player of the Week.
• LB B.J. BEATTY (No. 59) ranks fifth in the league with 11 tackles for negative yards.
• WR PAUL RICHARDSON became the first CU freshman to have two 100-yard receiving games.
NEXT WEEK: K-State concludes regular season play at 3-7 North Texas at 3 p.m. next Saturday.