(AP) — Collin Klein’s running ability was a known commodity entering this season.
The Kansas State quarterback showed once again in Saturday’s 55-14 win over West Virginia that he also has evolved into one of the top passers in the country. Klein, in a head-to-head matchup with Mountaineers Heisman Trophy hopeful Geno Smith, was 19 of 21 passing for a career-high 323 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
The unheralded senior was 77th in the country last season with a passing efficiency rating of 125.6. He completed 57.3 percent of his passes and threw just 13 touchdowns along with six interceptions.
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Following Saturday’s performance, which boosted Klein’s Heisman chances, he’s now second in the country behind Alabama’s A.J. McCarron with a passing efficiency rating of 175.8. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season while completing 70.5 percent of his passes.
Klein had plenty of help against West Virginia. That included a 194-yard receiving effort from sophomore Tyler Lockett, whose performance was the best in the country last week.
The spotlight, however, was squarely on Klein’s shoulders – and his right arm.
TUNED UP: Klein’s emergence as a legitimate passing threat this season hasn’t come at the expense of his running game.
In fact, it’s done nothing but enhance his ground game.
Klein had four rushing touchdowns Saturday, bringing his season total to 14. He’s now rushed for 551 yards on 110 carries this season for an average of five yards per carry. That’s an improvement from the 3.6 yards per carry he averaged last season – when he finished with 1,141 yards on the ground.
Klein is the seventh-highest rushing quarterback this season with an average of 78.7 yards per game on the ground. He’s 63rd overall in rushing.
QUARTERBACK CONFERENCE: Another Big 12 quarterback leads the country in total offense.
Baylor’s Nick Florence, who accounted for 421 yards of offense in a 56-50 loss to Texas on Saturday, tops the list with an average of 407.2 yards per game.
West Virginia’ Smith, after being held to 128 total yards against Kansas State, is fifth with an average of 352.9 yards per game.
GROUNDED TIGERS: Passing the ball is great and all, but LSU is doing its best to win without an air attack this season.
The Tigers had 97 yards passing in their 24-19 win over Texas A&M on Saturday. They are now 109th out of 120 teams in passing offense, averaging 177.4 yards passing per game.
DON’T FORGET DEFENSE: Offense is the name of the game in college football these days, but the top four defenses in the country have a message they’d like to share with you.
Alabama (8.3 points allowed per game), Notre Dame (9.4), Rutgers (11.3) and Florida (12.1) are a combined 28-0 this season.
EXTRA POINTS: New Mexico’s Kasey Carrier had the top rushing performance of the week, carrying the ball 39 times for 338 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-23 loss to Air Force … Carrier’s 138.3 yards rushing per game is now second to Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson, who is averaging 156 yards per game … Alabama and Louisiana Tech are the only two teams to not throw an interception so far this season … The three teams who lead the country in turnover margin – Mississippi State, Ohio and the Crimson Tide – are a combined 21-0.