MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Kansas State has never had a Heisman winner, but this time last year, Baylor didn't have one, either.
Robert Griffin III made history a year ago, and through more than half the 2012 season, there's no denying it anymore: Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein is in position to do the same at Kansas State.
After racking up seven touchdowns (four rushing, three passing) and throwing for a career-high 323 yards in Saturday's 55-14 win over West Virginia, Klein is the new front-runner for the most prestigious individual award in sports.
After Klein completed 19 of 21 passes Saturday, receiver Chris Harper even took to calling him "John," an homage to John Elway, who also wore Klein's No. 7.
In their typical understated fashion, neither Klein nor Kansas State coach Bill Snyder had much to say about the award. Klein's main message? It's out of his control. Snyder? "We'll see," he said.
Still, the significance is inescapable. Klein has been the biggest benefactor and catalyst of Kansas State's rise. With the Wildcats' spotless 7-0 record and ascension into the top five of the BCS rankings, Klein's moved atop the race for the stiff-arm trophy, overtaking West Virginia's Geno Smith with his latest move.
"It would be wonderful for Collin and his family and teammates," Snyder said. "It'd be wonderful for everybody."
Klein might have to make sure his team stays undefeated to remain on top of the list, but his lack of eye-popping numbers (Saturday night aside, anyway) don't tell you enough about how he plays.
"His numbers are not always indicative of the fact that he has great command of the game," Snyder said. "His very fine leadership, [he] runs the ball well, manages the game well, throws the ball well and that's not always indicated in the numbers. Sometimes they're up, sometimes they're not."
It's safe to say on Saturday, they were way, way up. Klein turned in a career performance with more on the line than he'd had in any other game of his career. His reward? A spot at the front of the line for the Heisman. Not bad.
"I'm just a man on a great team that's playing extremely hard and playing together, and anything I can do for them, whatever we gotta do, I'll do," Klein said. "That's the mentality of all of us, and it's paying off."