Nov. 18, 2011
By Mark Janssen
K-State Sports Extra
How many of you have heard of Ricky Dobbs, quarterback of the Navy Midshipmen?
Here’s guessing the answer is none, and you’re saying, “So what?”
In 2009, Dobbs rushed for 27 touchdowns in 13 games, which stands today as the all-time NCAA record for quarterbacks.
Through 10 games in 2011, Kansas State’s Collin Klein has rushed for 24 touchdowns with three games left to be played – at Texas, Iowa State and a postseason bowl game. That also leaves him three shy of Ricky Williams’ all-time Big 12 record of 27 six-point runs in a single season.
“I think his fortitude and his genuine desire to continue to improve week in and week out. He really does take that seriously,” said K-State Coach Bill Snyder on what impresses him the most about his quarterback. “He strives to be the very best that he can be and all the other things we have talked about in here so often – leadership, toughness, etcetera.
“Not that we haven’t had other quarterbacks who haven’t tried to stay the course that way, but he may have taken it to a different level,” Snyder said of Klein.
Already holding K-State’s single season touchdown record, Klein has rushed for three or more TDs in five of the last six games. Last week’s five ground scores against Texas A&M tied the school record of Jonathan Beasley for a single game set against North Texas in 2000.
Heck, his 24 six-point runs this year ranks seventh in school history for a career, and is one more than Michael Bishop rushed for in his two seasons as a starter in 1997 and 1998.
The 6-5, 235-pound junior has carried the ball 241 times this season, which is 52 more than any other Big 12 player and is third high nationally.
Klein debuted as a starter last year against Texas when he rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a 39-14 Wildcat victory.
Asked what he knew about Klein, Texas coach Mack Brown said, “For four-and-a-half hours I watched him run up and down the field and we never tackled him. He ran over us; he ran around us.”
Brown went on to say of Klein, “I’ve never seen anybody this big that can run like that. This guy is a tight end playing quarterback that can run a 4.4. He’s really a freak of nature when you look at him. He will bring it at you on every play, so you’d better be ready.”
Oh, and now Klein is also throwing the ball averaging 256 yards on 19.5 completions in the last two games, after averaging 124 yards on 11.2 completions in K-State’s first eight games.
“I think putting him in a position to do what he has done, the capacity to have some balance in our offense, which you are not as quite as predictable in terms of when you are going to throw it and when you are going to run it helps a great deal,” said Snyder of Klein’s new-found balance to the game. “We have had some fine performances from some of our receivers that have made some very, very fine catches as well. It is a collective thing. It is not just Collin, but is everybody who is involved with it.”
This year Klein has accounted for 85 percent of K-State’s offensive touchdowns (34 of 40) and 69 percent of the team’s run-pass yardage.
The Wildcats play at Texas on Saturday starting at 7 p.m.
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