MANHATTAN The excitement that usually follows victory was subdued by the unknown status of Collin Klein on Saturday night.
Though No. 3 Kansas State defeated Oklahoma State 44-30 in front of 50,781 fans at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, no one felt like celebrating after Klein, the Wildcats senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy frontrunner, spent most of the second half on the sidelines because of an undisclosed injury.
Klein took an awkward hit while trying to score a touchdown early in the third quarter and was clearly shaken up. He stayed in the game and scored on a 1-yard run on the next play, but then met with trainers. They examined him for a few minutes and decided to keep him on the sideline for the rest of the night. Klein threw for 245 yards and rushed for 64 yards a touchdown.
They didnt treat any of Kleins extremities with bandages or ice, and he never left for the locker room. Instead, he stayed interested in the game, clapping after big plays, giving high-fives and smiling in between conversations and prayers with his teammates. He continually offered advice and showed no pain.
But coaches took his helmet anyway, and asked him to sit the rest of the game out. They could afford to be careful with a 38-17 lead. Still, K-State football coach Bill Snyder added to concerns by saying little about Kleins status afterward.
Obviously he was injured or we wouldnt have taken him out, Snyder said.
When he was asked if Klein would be able to play next week against TCU, Snyder shrugged.
I dont know, Snyder said. We will have to wait and see.
Klein was not made available for interviews. His status will obviously be key moving forward, but he played through several nagging injuries a year ago.
After Klein left, backup quarterback Daniel Sams led the Wildcats to a pair of field goals that clinched the game.
With the victory, K-State, 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Big 12, has a one-game lead on Oklahoma and is two games clear of everyone else in the Big 12 standings. The Wildcats also kept pace with the other undefeated teams at the top of the BCS standings.
The Wildcats were ranked second behind top-ranked Alabama and ahead of Notre Dame and Oregon. All four teams won, and K-State likely will remain No. 2 when the new standings are released today.
Other than a slow start and finish, K-State dominated once again. They matched Oklahoma States early intensity. The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Wes Lunt to Austin Hays, but John Huberts 1-yard touchdown run tied the score at 7-7 with 5:58 to go in the first quarter. The Wildcats took a 31-17 lead at halftime and took total control of things following a Nigel Malone interception and Kleins touchdown in the third quarter.
K-State took the lead with scores in every area. Hubert found the end zone twice, Anthony Cantele kicked three field goals, Tyler Lockett returned a kick 100 yards and Allen Chapman returned an interception 29 yards.
Chapman had three interceptions on the night, and almost came up with a fourth. Aside from Hays long touchdown catch and an 80-yard kick return from Desmon Roland, K-States defense and special teams made it hard for Oklahoma State, 5-3, 3-2, to move the ball.
He did a great job, linebacker Arthur Brown said. Im proud of him. He definitely had a great game and helped us to achieve what we did tonight.
It didnt seem like K-State would be in for an easy day when Oklahoma State stuffed it on its first drive and scored quick the first time it possessed the ball. But no lead is safe against the Wildcats. They rallied from an early deficit to beat Texas Tech 55-24 last week and pounded West Virginia 55-14 the week before that.
They keep coming at you. They keep winning, too. Even with Klein watching part of the game from the bench.