Last week, we circled Kansas State's game against TCU as its toughest remaining challenge in the way of an unbeaten regular season. Gary Patterson's talents as a coach and the Frogs' knack for playing their best when outmanned were factors, but we might have just seen an even bigger one: Collin Klein, IMHO the country's best player and certainly the player most critical to a top-10 team's success, is not a sure thing to take the field.
Will Collin Klein play Saturday? "I hope so," Bill Snyder says. Does he know so? "I hope so," he said.— David Ubben (@davidubben) November 5, 2012
That doesn't tell us much. All we know we know: Klein left last week's Oklahoma State game early, huddling with teammates after having his helmet taken away. Dan Wetzel later reported the concussion.
The 6'5 senior ranks as the nation's most efficient passer, throwing for an absurd 10.1 yards per attempt, ranking fifth in completion percentage and tossing only two interceptions. He really might be the prototypical Snyder quarterback. And his arm is just one of many killer tools -- he also ranks third in the Big 12 in rushing yardage with 703. One way or another, he's accounted for 29 of K-State's 51 touchdowns.
Backup Daniel Sams came aboard with a scholarship offer from Oklahoma (though I'd have to assume the Sooners didn't offer him the chance to play quarterback) and has gotten plenty of reps, with 32 carries for 235 yards and a handful of garbage time pass attempts, none of which went all to tatters. Here's what he looks like in action (he's a much more believable running threat than Klein is, for sure):
But he's a freshman, and Patterson's very good at confusing quarterbacks. That he's much more experienced as a runner than a passer might bode well for the Frogs, who rank No. 8 in rush defense and only No. 58 against the pass.
However, TCU's also dealt with quarterback issues of its own, with Casey Pachall's exit giving way to the nimble Trevone Boykin, who's been very shaky (interceptions in four of his last five games, 41 percent completion against West Virginia's supple defense).
If Klein can't go, we could see a mess of a game, but K-State remaining undefeated won't be out of the question. Snyder's pulled these things off before. (And so has Patterson. We're getting nowhere here. And Klein could play. We're definitely getting nowhere here.)
Vegas has yet to put a line on the game, due to Klein uncertainty.
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