Friday, October 19, 2012
Kansas State puts 'fourth' best effort
By Mackenzie Kraemer
Getty Images/Matthew Holst
Collin Klein and Kansas State have been very good at the end of games.
Over the past two seasons, only seven schools have more wins than the Kansas State Wildcats' 16. One of the biggest reasons has been K-State's ability to win close games. The Wildcats are 10-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less since the start of 2011, including 2-0 this season. That success has been fueled by their play in the second half.
In the fourth quarter, Kansas State outscores opponents by an average of 11 points per game (15.7 to 4.7), the largest margin in FBS this season, and the largest fourth-quarter margin by any team since 2004.
This includes a come-from-behind 24-19 road victory against Oklahoma when the Wildcats outscored the Sooners 14-6 in the final 15 minutes.
In 19 fourth-quarter drives, Kansas State has scored 12 touchdowns (11 rushing), the best percentage (63.1) in the nation. Only two other schools have scored touchdowns on at least half their drives.
The Wildcats also average 100 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, the best by any team in the past nine seasons. Running back John Hubert is third in FBS with 244 rushing yards in the fourth quarter (9.4 yards per carry). They are also one of just four FBS teams not to allow a sack or a turnover in the fourth quarter this season.
Though the rushing numbers earn most of the praise, quarterback Collin Klein has also been his most efficient late in close games.
When the score has been close in the fourth quarter, Klein has come up big. He's 8-for-9 for 107 yards, and has 13 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown in situations in which the score is within eight points or fewer in the final quarter.
Klein might have to throw the ball more than normal for the Wildcats to knock off the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Though West Virginia allows 37.3 points per game and 496 yards per game, most of the damage against the Mountaineers has been done through the air.
West Virginia allows only 3.3 yards per rush, tied for 20th-best in FBS, but allows 9.6 yards per pass, third worst in FBS.
No Big 12 team runs the ball more than Kansas State (69 percent of the time). While that formula has been very successful, it plays right into the Mountaineers' hands.
Against a West Virginia team that averages 25.8 points per game in the first half of games, it’s vital that Kansas State doesn’t fall too far behind and abandon the run. In the most recent Bill Snyder era (since 2009), Kansas State is 0-9 when throwing the ball at least 30 times.