MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Turns out Collin Klein can throw the ball a bit, too.
The gritty run-first quarterback of No. 21 Kansas State was nearly perfect through the air on Saturday, throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown – and of course, adding 71 yards and three more scores on the ground – as the Wildcats pounded Miami 52-13 on a sun-splashed afternoon.
This was no repeat of last season, when the Wildcats needed a defiant goal-line stand in the closing minutes to eke out a 28-24 victory in Coral Gables, Fla.
Behind the masterful play of Klein, who was 9-of-11 passing, the Wildcats scored on their first four series, led 24-6 at halftime and then tacked on a couple late scores for good measure.
”It’s a step in the right direction,” said Klein, who burnished a national reputation by bulldozing his way for 27 touchdowns rushing last season. ”Credit our coaches with a great game plan going in, and putting us in some good opportunities.”
Not just for Klein, either.
John Hubert added 106 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Daniel Sams had two scores on the ground as the Wildcats (2-0) rolled up 498 yards of total offense while holding Miami to 262.
”They were excellent. They beat us in all three phases,” Miami coach Al Golden said. ”They outplayed us, outcoached us, starting with me, and that’s it. No excuses. They deserved to win.”
Stephen Morris threw for 215 yards for Miami (1-1), but was sacked five times. The Canes lost three fumbles and managed 40 yards rushing – an average of 1.4 per attempt.
Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown, who began his career with the Hurricanes, ground a bit of dirt in their wounds. The Butkus Award candidate recovered a fumble in the first quarter to set up a short TD drive, then helped cause a turnover-on-downs with a third-quarter sack.
The senior captain finished with a game-high 10 tackles.
”Guys kept saying on the sideline, ‘This is fun,”’ Brown said. ”This is what we prepare for.”
The Wildcats improved to 6-0 at home against BCS non-conference opponents under Bill Snyder, who has the program he elevated to elite status humming again. Kansas State hosts North Texas next Saturday, which means it likely will be 3-0 heading to No. 5 Oklahoma on Sept. 22.
”We’re a work in progress,” Snyder said, ”but we’re vastly improved.”
Hard to say the same for the Hurricanes, whose performance was summed up by a 5-second span in the fourth quarter: Morris fumbled the ball away while getting sacked, and Sams sprinted 15 yards on the next play to give Kansas State a 45-6 lead with 10:51 remaining.
Miami (1-1) scored its only touchdown in the closing minutes, when backup quarterback Ryan Williams completed a short scoring pass following a long kickoff return.
”That’s basically what football’s about – adversity and overcoming it,” Miami running back Duke Johnson said, ”and that’s something we try to do time and time again.”
The Canes, opening with consecutive road games for the first time since 2005, certainly looked like an inexperienced bunch against the senior-laden Wildcats. Fourteen players appeared in their first game a week ago, including 12 freshmen from a roster that has 42 first-year guys.
Johnson, their talented freshman tailback, managed only 19 yards on the ground after gaining 135 in last Saturday’s win at Boston College, when Miami rallied from an early 14-0 deficit.
The Canes’ defense never gave them a chance to come back this time.
Kansas State’s first empty possession was its fifth one, when Anthony Cantele missed a short field goal. Klein had touchdown runs of 1 and 6 yards, and hit Curry Sexton down the seam for a 27-yard scoring strike before the Hurricanes even knew what hit them.
”The thing is we had such a good game plan,” Sexton said. ”We just had to execute.”
The Hurricanes had trouble doing the same thing, their best drive coming while running their 2-minute offense. Jake Wieclaw’s second field goal at the end of the first half made it 24-6.
Klein answered with his third touchdown run early in the third quarter, and after the Wildcats held Miami on fourth down deep in their own territory, the senior quarterback led Kansas State on a 97-yard drive highlighted by a 58-yard pass to backup tight end Zach Trujillo.
This time, it was Hubert capping the drive with a touchdown run.
Klein’s day was done after that, and when Miami fumbled on its next possession, Sams took over the offense. The elusive freshman needed one play to scoot 15 yards for a touchdown, and then added an 11-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter to punctuate the victory.
”We know where we’re at right now as a team. We’re building,” Golden said. ”I didn’t think we had arrived last week, and clearly we can’t play that way against Kansas State out here and spot them a lead and think we’re going to come back.”