Nov. 14, 2011
By Mark Janssen
Saturday will go down in history as one of those "remember when" games.
"Remember when" K-State defeated Texas A&M 53-50 in quadruple overtime?
"Remember when" K-State never led the Aggies in regulation, but won in 4 OTs.
For you more mature readers, "remember when" K-State would be down by six with two minutes to go in Ahearn Field House and a Steve Henson or a Lon Kruger would "will" the Wildcats to victory?
Well, there's a football version of that taking place at Bill Snyder Family Stadium starring Collin Klein.
Held together by duct tape and bailing wire, with a mega-dose of courage and toughness, Klein had that "remember when" game with five rushing scores, plus another pass for six points.
Klein says he feels blessed to be K-State's quarterback, and for certain, K-State is blessed to have him at quarterback.
K-State's No. 7 is indeed today's version of former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow in that he absolutely does not allow his side to lose.
As teammate Tramaine Thompson said of his teammate, "There are no words to explain Collin."
Well, except for one: winner.
Argue if you like, but Klein's performance Saturday will forever be in the conversation of "remember when" games by a Wildcat. He had 384 yards of total offense, five rushing scores, one passing and led his team from a deficit five different times in a game. Five!
It's right there with, if not ahead, of Michael Bishop's 317 passing yards and four TDs against Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl, or his 446 yards of total offense against Nebraska; or any of Darren Sproles' big days of 292 and 273 rushing yards; or Ell Roberson's heroics in games against Nebraska in 2002 and 2003; or Chad May's 489-yard passing day against the Big Red in 1993; or Josh Freeman producing 501 yards in total offense against Oklahoma in 2008; or Lynn Dickey's 380-yard passing day against Oklahoma in 1969.
Klein's day against the Aggies on Nov. 12, 2011, will be in that debate.
And while K-State has had "remember when" games of the past like the 2003 Big 12 title game with Oklahoma, and the 1998 40-30 streak-stopper with Nebraska, or even down to the wire non-league games with Ohio, Cincinnati and Marshall, or the 1989 last-play victory over North Texas ... this one against A&M might top them all.
Never before has K-State played in a game that went four extra periods, with a "Klein Time" performance, coming from 10 points down in the last seven minutes, coming from behind five times, for a sixth win in a single season by seven points or less.
"It's about resiliency," Klein said.
And it's about team, as Nick Puetz says, "It's a matter of heart over power."
Vai Lutui adds, "Breaking down is not within our system."
While not all under Snyder's watch ... yes, give Ron Prince some credit ... isn't it interesting, if not amazing, that K-State owns an 11-4 record against teams from the state of Texas - A&M (3-0), Texas (3-0), Baylor (2-2), Tech (1-2) and North Texas (2-0) - in the last six years?
And that includes a perfect 6-0 mark against the Longhorns and Aggies. Those are rosters loaded with four years of recruiting 5- and 4-Star franchise-makers, while Snyder collects the castaways and molds a football creation.
Coach of the Year? No coach in the nation has done more with his talent than Bill Snyder. All of the experts looked at K-State as a 4- to 5-win team and no higher than seventh or eighth in the Big 12. Twice recipient of the national honor, never has Snyder, and staff, coaxed more out of a K-State roster than in 2011.
Player of the Year? No, Collin Klein won't likely be in that conversation, but he certainly should be. No one has scored more touchdowns nationally; he's the second leading quarterback in rushing; and no quarterback has rallied his team to victory six times in the second half, with five of those being in the fourth quarter.
To the nation, take note.
Bill Snyder is a national story, and Collin Klein is a national story, and Kansas State football is a national story ... that just haven't hit nationally ... yet.
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