MANHATTAN, Kan. — I'm calling horse-hockey on Bill Snyder.
Kansas State's detail-obsessed coach claimed last week that he pays no attention to the Bowl Championship Series standings, nor does he have anyone on his staff monitoring the polls and computers involved in it.
No chance that is true, especially after Saturday's results.
No. 1 and undefeated Alabama scored with 51 seconds left to nip LSU 21-17. No. 3 and undefeated Oregon held off USC 62-51. No. 4 and undefeated Notre Dame survived a three-overtime thriller with Pittsburgh.
So with No. 2 K-State taking care of No. 24 Oklahoma State 44-30, you can bet every calculator in the Wildcat football complex will be programmed to run the numbers.
Anyone still doubting that Kansas State (9-0) is a real national title threat isn't paying attention.
Flashbacks hit me throughout Saturday night, and I promise it wasn't from spending too much time beforehand in Aggieville. Watching the Wildcats systematically keep a very talented OSU team at bay brought back memories of football played in the 1990s two hours north of here on Highway 77.
That would be in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Squint hard enough and the purple people look a lot like scarlet-and-cream teams that executed you silly and pounded you down with relentless effort.
Stare down at the stoic guy on the sidelines with the headset, add some red-tinged hair and you could imagine Tom Osborne sticking to his game plan and dialing up an occasional trick play like Snyder did Saturday night.
Not even a third-quarter injury to star quarterback Collin Klein — an apparent throwing arm issue, though he stayed on the sideline and underwent no treatment — could derail things.
And that was even with the Wildcats set up for a letdown. The first weekend in November often produces some unusual results, and they were facing a ranked team for the fourth straight week.
The start was far from clean.
Kansas State punted on its first series, then gave up a 54-yard touchdown pass on Oklahoma State's sixth play. Before six minutes were gone, KSU's almost-never-penalized offensive line had a false start, plus two timeouts were burned because of offensive confusion.
Klein soon fixed that, in Scott Frost-like fashion.
His 50-yard bomb off of play action created a first-and-goal. His 6-yard keeper got the ball to the 1. Then on a play all Husker fans know and love — an option pitch to the short side — KSU scored its first touchdown.
Soon, Kansas State's defense — with middle linebacker Arthur Brown patrolling like NU All-American Ed Stewart — forced a fumble which led to an early second-quarter touchdown.
(Stewart, now associate commissioner of the Big 12, was in the press box Saturday night. He can't comment on individual teams, but he didn't disagree with my flashback theory.)
Then the special teams got involved. Tyler Lockett, a ringer for ex-Husker speedster Corey Dixon, zipped 100 yards with a kickoff return for a 24-10 lead. Oklahoma State responded with an 80-yard kickoff return and was on the march toward a potential tying touchdown with 2:43 to go in the half.
But K-State cornerback Allen Chapman restored the two-touchdown lead before half by jumping a route like Barron Miles would have, intercepting a pass and returning it 29 yards for a touchdown.
The action from the first half equaled a season-highlight film from the Big Ten, and it didn't slow down in the third quarter.
Oklahoma State drove deep into K-State territory on the first drive, but another interception stopped the march.
Klein then led a 93-yard touchdown drive that created a 38-17 lead and essentially ended the night's drama. Among the key figures in that march? Offensive linemen from the Kansas towns of Andale, Salina and Abilene, reminiscent of the Husker Pipeline.
The sign of a great team is making a win over a good team look relatively effortless despite suffering a key injury and not playing with total polish.
Kansas State was outgained 504 yards to 481. But the Wildcats were plus-five in turnovers. Their offense has played six Big 12 games without losing the football.
Klein's status, as per Snyder's injury policy, won't be revealed beyond the coach saying, “He obviously was injured or we wouldn't have taken him out.”
That's a potential big worry for Kansas State. But it is one of the few for a team that looks like it is on a magic carpet ride.
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