Even Daniel Thomas said of his 34 carries Saturday in a 27-20 victory over Iowa State, "It was hot and muggy, and to be honest, I did get rather fatigued, but it's something you have to fight through."
Thomas did just that in a 181-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Cyclones.
"I don 't have a number for him (of carries)," said coach Bill Snyder of Thomas' day. "If he does not carry the ball at all, but we play well, I would be happy. If he carries it 50 times and we do well and gain success from it, I'm happy with that, too."
KSU offensive guard Zach Kendall said of Thomas' game against Iowa State, "He's amazing … amazing, but he's amazing every day."
Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein added, "He's a hard runner. He's a hard runner, he's big and strong, but then he shifted and showed he had speed too. I just can't give him enough credit. He played a hard game."
Thomas has rushed for 552 yards in the first three games this year. That is the highest three-game total to start a season in K-State history.
It's also the highest three-game total since 2003 when Darren Sproles rushed for 648 yards in consecutive games at the end of the year against Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.
Thomas has now rushed for 1,817 yards in his 15-game KSU career to rank 10th in school history. He needs 57 more yards to pass Cornelius Davis, who ranks No. 9 KSU history. The 34 carries against ISU was the highest attempt count since Allan Evridge rushed 30 times against Nebraska in 2005.
Thomas' day allowed Kansas State to move the ball 64, 67, 59, 54 and 83 yards on possessions against ISU numbering nine to 13 players.
"I think those numbers show a lot about our conditioning that sometimes gets overlooked," said Kendall. "I think our conditioning shined today because I think we just wore them out running the ball, running the ball, running the ball. Ten- and 11-play drives is a long time to keep their defensive team on the field, and we did that."
Center Wade Weibert said the play of the line is that of a "grinder's" mentality. "We just stay after it and stay after it until the job is done. We have to have the mentality that we're tougher than anyone and drives like we were able to sustain says a lot about our toughness."
Speaking of toughness, let's go back to Thomas. Snyder said of his running back's durability: "I know one thing, he doesn't get weaker as the game goes on. He's durable."
Here's the three-game per quarter breakdown for Thomas:
1st Quarter – 27 carries for 135 yards, 2 TDs
2nd Quarter – 20 carries for 111 yards, 0 TDs
3rd Quarter – 18 carries for 176 yards, 2 TDs
4th Quarter – 18 carries for 130 yards, 2 TDs (did not play in the final period against Missouri State.
As running back coach Dana Dimel said earlier this year, "Daniel may only run a 4.6, but he runs a 4.6 with pads on and a 4.6 in the fourth quarter. He's one of the toughest backs I've ever been around."