The Kansas State players had simple answers to what just could be the most exciting football game in the school’s history.
That’s 53-50 in quadruple overtime over the Texas A&M Aggies. That’s a game where K-State never led in regulation play, and had to come from behind five times in order to pick up the win.
“It’s about resiliency,” said game-hero Collin Klein.
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.”
A heart-stopper? Yes! Multiple times, in fact.
It left the 72-year-old Bill Snyder saying, “I told the players that tonight convinced me that they really want me out of here.”
After watching his Wildcats come from 10 points down with 6:38 to play in regulation to tie the game at 31-all, Snyder said, “There’s no give-up in them. I’m awfully proud of them for that. That’s a life lesson.”
This one was truly amazing for Mr. Klein: 35 carries … a record for a K-State quarterback and 10th most for any Wildcat player; 103 rushing yards for five touchdowns … a record tying Jonathan Beasley’s five rushing scores against North Texas in 2000; plus, a career high 281 passing yards and a touchdown.
“I’m just so proud of everybody. We just kept hanging in there when nobody thought we had a chance, but we did,” said Klein.
Quizzed specifically about carrying the ball 35 times, Klein admitted to being surprised: “35? Cheech … that’s a lot.”
With his 103 rushing yards, he now has 1,009 for a season, becoming only the second KSU quarterback in history to go over the 1,000-yard mark joining Ell Roberson who had 1,032 ground yards in 2002.
It left Snyder only to say, “He’s pretty dog-gone good. He’s all everyone says he is. He’s a pretty special young guy.”
He added of his improved passing number, “He just keeps getting better, and better and better.”
With 6:38 left in regulation, Klein, who would end up accounting for 384 total offensive yards and six TDs, had enjoyed a decent day with three rushing touchdowns, but his Wildcats trailed the Aggies, 31-21.
During those last minutes, plus the four overtimes, Klein accounted for three touchdowns with a 53-yard pass to Chris Harper –
“A major play, a big play,” said Snyder – plus runs of 25 and the winning 1-yard run. He had another TD in the first OT, but he fumbled into the end zone where Tramaine Thompson made the TD recovery.
In the four OT periods, K-State snapped the ball 12 times (plus a penalty) with Klein running or passing on 11 of those for 60 of the 65 yards the Wildcats gained after regulation.
While K-Staters were left scratching their head for a more exciting victory in K-State history, the Wildcat coach was keeping things in ‘his’ perspective: “What was really significant to me was that the young people in our program improved and we became better. Winning is a product of improvement. If you improve the chances of winning gets better.
K-State has now made second-half comebacks for victories in five games this season, which includes four of those in the fourth stanza.
• Eastern Kentucky: KSU trailed 7-0 in the fourth quarter, but won 10-7.
• Miami: KSU trailed 24-21 in the fourth quarter, but won 28-24.
• Baylor: KSU trailed 35-26 in the fourth quarter, but won 36-35.
• Texas Tech: KSU trailed by eight at halftime, but won the second half 21-6 for a 41-34 victory over the Red Raiders.
• Texas A&M: KSU trailed by seven going into the fourth quarter and by 10 with 6:38 remaining, but won 53-50 in four overtimes.
Saturday against A&M, K-State trailed five different times – 14-0, 21-14, 28-21, 41-38 and 50-47 – but found a way to take the lead each time. K-State never led in the game during regulation play.
In a 10-game season, K-State has played seven games decided by seven points or less. They are 6-1 in those games. The wins were by 3 over Eastern Kentucky, 7 over Miami, 1 over Baylor, 7 over Missouri, 7 over Texas Tech and 3 over Texas A&M.
The loss was by 7 to Oklahoma State.
LOCKETT RULED OUT FOR THE SEASON:
It was announced prior to kickoff that freshman Tyler Lockett will be out for the rest of the season due to a kidney injury suffered on his touchdown reception in the Oklahoma State game.