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Longhorns faced with big challenge

AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown could have turned the dial.

He knew what was going to happen. Everyone knew what was going to happen.

But Brown listened anyway, behind the wheel of his car, driving home Saturday evening. Kansas State was in its fourth overtime against Texas A&M. Bodies were being pulled off the pile at the goal line.

"I don't think he's scored," the announcer said. "But it's six inches, and Kansas State's got the ball."

"Well, he's going to score," Brown said to himself.

Of course, Collin Klein was going to score. That's what he does. He moves forward. While every other quarterback drops back to pass, Klein plows forward to punish.

The Wildcats' quarterback averages 101 rushing yards per game. He has 241 carries. That's third most in FBS -- and not just among quarterbacks.

"You just go by the stats and not the hype and the sideshow ... go by what the film says, he plays a lot like Tim Tebow played at Florida," Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said.

Klein does not have a statue or the public craze that seems to follow Tebow. But he does have an arm.

Anyone want to guess which is more valuable?

"The improvement he has shown in the passing game from last year to this year that's the most notable thing, we have to respect that," safety Blake Gideon said. "We can't just load the box and have everybody's eyes in the backfield playing the run. We have to go out and cover."

Or they are going to have to duck and cover coming off the field Saturday night.

Following the Missouri loss and given Texas' struggles against Kansas State in the last few years, the fans are getting slightly restless around DKR. A win against No. 16 Kansas State (8-2, 5-2) would be raw meat to the hungry.

Include the players in that group.

"I really despise ... at the same time, I am going to be excited to play this opponent."

That was linebacker Emmanuel Acho, briefly cracking and showing some true emotion to the press before catching himself. It is just a glimpse of how Texas truly feels about Kansas State.

"We owe those guys, because they've had our number," Gideon said.

They have had Texas' number like almost no one else. Kansas State has three straight wins over Texas. It has a 6-5 overall record against Texas. Only two other teams who have played Texas at least 10 times have winning records over the Longhorns -- Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.

OK, so go figure on that last one. But it is not hard to figure out how Kansas State beat Texas last season or how it has eight wins this season.

"[Klein] has just taken the team on his back," Brown said.

And broken a few along the way.

Against the Aggies, Klein accounted for 384 yards and five touchdowns. To add to his rushing ability, he is averaging 150 passing yards per game.

In Tebow's 2008 national championship season, he averaged 48 rushing yards and 196 passing. The three leading receivers off that Florida team are currently in the NFL. Go ahead and try and name a Kansas State receiver.

Tebow, because of the players he had around him, had more options to throw. Klein's first, second and third options are to run.

"I don't believe it's a major secret that he's going to run the football," Diaz said. "They're not surprising anyone. So he has done it against everyone they've played."

Even though everyone is expecting it. The way the Wildcats have managed to continue to run is by a series of shifts and disguising the plays.

"They're basic with their plays, but they've got a lot of imagination," Brown said.

"They try to disguise what they're going to do, but you know who is going to have the ball," Acho added. "It doesn't matter what the disguise is, you just do away with it and realize he is going to end up carrying it."

And being 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds allows Klein the ability to carry it with confidence.

"Nobody runs with that style," Acho said. "Klein will try to run through you and over you."

Just like he did in the fourth overtime against Texas A&M.

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation

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