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Kellis Robinett’s Big 12 Report (Nov. 5)

  • Published Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at 4:11 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at 4:34 p.m.

SNYDER COY ON KLEIN

Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder didn’t get into specifics about the status of senior quarterback Collin Klein on Monday, but his comments were more encouraging than what he shared following a victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday night.

“He seems fine to me,” Snyder said.

When asked if Klein will play on Saturday against TCU, Snyder replied, “I hope so.”

Klein missed most of the second half against the Cowboys after leading the Wildcats to their final touchdown early in the third quarter. He took several hard hits, including some to the helmet, during the drive and was checked by team trainers when he came to the sideline. After a few moments, coaches confiscated his helmet and Klein watched the remainder of the game from the bench.

That raised concerns that he was suffering from concussion-like symptoms. But Snyder, who rarely speaks publicly about injuries, didn’t indicate why Klein’s helmet was taken.

“He’s had his helmet off before,” Snyder said. “Maybe they’re uncomfortable.”

Klein stayed interested in the game and talked to his teammates between plays. He showed no pain. Before exiting, he threw for 245 yards, rushed for 64 yards and scored a touchdown.

Backup quarterback Daniel Sams finished the game by throwing for 45 yards and rushing for 20 yards.

The situation was similar to the end of Baylor’s victory over Texas Tech a year ago. Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion in the second half, and Nick Florence took his place. Griffin mingled on the sideline while he was out, and didn’t seem woozy.

He returned to action for Baylor’s next game, where he led the Bears to a victory over Texas.

“When those things happen in the course of a game, you go with it,” Baylor coach Art Briles said Monday. “Their kid (Sams) came in and did a nice job.”

Baylor prepared to play the next week with Florence, but quickly switched back to Griffin when it was obvious he was healthy.

“Robert suffered a concussion and he passed all of his tests, so he was ready to go early in the week without any contact,” Briles said. “By the end of that week he was ready to play that next week. He took most of the reps. Our first practice we split him a little bit, but as the week went on he got all the first-team reps. By about Wednesday afternoon we had the green light on him.”

There’s no telling what approach Snyder will take this week, though he would prefer to practice the way he normally does with Klein, the current Heisman frontrunner, taking most of the snaps.

TCU coach Gary Patterson said the Horned Frogs will prepare the same way they always do, regardless of the quarterback.

“It’s no different than getting ready for Oklahoma State and their two quarterbacks,” Patterson said. “Collin Klein is a really good player, but I’ll tell you their offensive line is maybe the best in the Big 12 that we’ve seen up to this point, their receivers definitely don’t get enough credit … you’ve got to get ready for those other 20-odd-some guys. It’s the same offense no matter how you do it.”

HOME-FIELD DISADVANTAGE

Want to know the Big 12’s strangest stat? Teams are playing worse at home than they are on the road.

Home teams are 11-16 since the start of conference play, with only K-State going undefeated in its own stadium. Four teams have one home loss, three have two and two have three.

“It’s a little mind-boggling,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “But it’s just the strength of the teams. They can pretty much win anywhere.”

The Red Raiders are a good example of the trend. Their best conference victories have come at TCU and at Iowa State. But its only home Big 12 win came against West Virginia. Texas and Oklahoma both beat the Red Raiders in Lubbock.

TCU hasn’t won a conference home game, but has beaten Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia on the road. Not what he expected, but he hopes the road success continues.

“We have been better on the road, because when you’re on the road you play in front of crowds of 50,000-85,000 people,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “I think kids get more jazzed up to play in those sort of games.”

DRAMA KINGS

Last year, K-State played in the majority of the Big 12’s closest games. This year, TCU is carrying the flag. The Horned Frogs played in their second multi-overtime game Saturday, defeating West Virginia 39-38 on a two-point conversion in double overtime.

Patterson is becoming known as a gambler in those situations, and that’s a good thing as long as his players execute.

“They have handled it well,” Patterson said.

TRADING PLACES

Texas and Texas Tech have gone in opposite directions lately. Two weeks ago, the Red Raiders were red hot and coming off wins over West Virginia and TCU. Today, they are coming off losses to Kansas State and Texas. The Longhorns looked all but dead last month, and ugly wins over Baylor and Kansas didn’t help their reputation. But a solid win at Texas Tech moved them to 7-2. They might go to a quality bowl game.

AWARD WINNERS

Allen Chapman and Tyler Lockett earned Big 12 player of the week honors. Chapman was defensive player of the week for intercepting Oklahoma State three times. Lockett was special teams player of the week for returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

K-State’s Anthony Cantele was named a semifinalist for the Groza Award (top kicker).

WHO’S HOT

Mike Davis: Texas receiver had 165 yards and two touchdowns in important win at Texas Tech.

Allen Chapman: Three interceptions in one game, and he could have had four.

Brennan Clay: Rushing for more than 150 yards against Iowa State is no easy task.

Josh Boyce: Caught a 94-yard touchdown pass against West Virginia with the game on the line.

WHO’S NOT

West Virginia secondary: If the Mountaineers could defend the pass, they would still be ranked.

Kansas offense: Could only manage 342 yards and 14 points against Baylor’s soft defense.

Tommy Tuberville: His stock has dropped with back-to-back losses.

Oklahoma State offense: The Cowboys can move the ball with the best of them, but they turn it over too often.

WHAT TO WATCH

Must-see games: K-State at TCU.

Worth watching: Iowa State at Texas, Baylor at Oklahoma, West Virginia at Oklahoma State.

Avert your eyes: Kansas at Texas Tech.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Kansas State (9-0, 6-0): All eyes are on Collin Klein.

2. Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1): Sooners bounced back well at Iowa State.

3. Texas (7-2, 4-2): Longhorns look dangerous again.

4. Texas Tech (6-3, 3-3): Red Raiders should get back on their feet against Kansas.

5. Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2): Turnovers hurt Cowboys at K-State.

6. TCU (6-3, 3-3): Horned Frogs are bowl-eligible in first Big 12 season.

7. West Virginia (5-3, 2-3): Remember when the Mountaineers were a top-five team?

8. Iowa State (5-4, 2-4): Cyclones miss Jake Knott already.

9. Baylor (4-4, 1-4): Bears won’t go winless in Big 12 play.

10. Kansas (1-8, 0-6): Jayhawks are running out of chances.

Reach Kellis Robinett at krobinett@wichitaeagle.com.

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