It's hard to put this 2011 Kansas State football year into believable words.
How ironic is it that Kansas State started the season ranked No. 8 in the 10-team preseason Big 12 poll, and then ended up the year No. 8 in the nation in the Bowl Championship Series poll? The experts were saying five or six victories were probable, but no more than that.
Heck, the Wildcats were at a half-dozen wins by Oct. 15 … and now are at 10.
Here are some other facts and notes about this thrilling season:
4-0—That's what Kansas State did against the state of Texas. As the t-shirts say around Aggieville – "K-State: Texas State Champs." The Wildcats did in fact defeat Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Texas.
8 (7) – Eight is the number of victories out of a total of 10 that have come by no more than seven points. That's by 3 over Eastern Kentucky, by 4 over Miami, by 1 over Baylor, by 7 over Missouri, by 7 over Texas Tech, by 3 over Texas A&M, by 4 over Texas and by 7 over Iowa State.
18 – K-State defenders thieved 18 enemy passes, which was the most picks in a single season since 2003 and is 10th most in school history for one year.
39 – With the Cotton Bowl remaining, Chris Harper led K-State in receiving this year with 39 catches for 536 yards.The last time the leading Wildcat receiver had fewer than 39 catches was Aaron Lockett's 24 in 2001, and the last time the top K-State receiver had fewer than 536 yards was Yamon Figurs with 483 in 2004.
KLEIN'S AMAZING YEAR:
Collin Klein ended the regular season with 156 points to lead the Big 12; averaged 91.6 yards per game, which was sixth in the Big 12; and totaled 237 yards in total offense to rank seventh in the league. Other stats included:
5 – Five times Klein rushed for at least 100 yards, a K-State record for a quarterback.
26 – With 26 rushing TDS, Collin Klein shattered Mack Heron's record of 20 set in 1969.
156 – With 156 points from his 26 touchdowns, Klein set the K-State single-season scoring record by 21 points breaking the 1998 record by kicker Martin Gramatica.
293 – Klein's 293 rushing attempts ranks third in school history and was 64 more carries than any other Big 12 back.
1,099 – That's how many rushing yards Klein totaled. The figure is 10th high for a single season at K-State and the most ever by a quarterback. With just a 38-yard effort against Arkansas, Klein would move to No. 7 for a single year. Klein's career total of 1,523 puts him 13th in K-State history.
1,000-1,600 – Klein is the only K-State quarterback to ever rush for at least 1,000 yards and pass for at least 1,600 yards in the same season. Klein has 1,099 rushing yards and 1,745 passing yards. Coming closest was Roberson in 2002 with 1,032 rushing yards and 1,580 passing yards.
2,844 – Klein's total offense of 2,844 yards ranks sixth in K-State history for a single season only behind Michael Bishop's 3,592 yards in 1998, Ell Roberson's 3,520 yards in 2003, two seasons by Josh Freeman – 3,349 in 2008 and 3,313 in 2007 – and Jonathan Beasley's 3,135 in 2000.
ISN'T IT INTERESTING:
K- State went 7-6 last year by averaging 33.6 points per game on offense and allowing 29.1 points for a difference of 4.1 points per game.
This year's 10-2 team averaged 33.1 points and allowed 27.8 for a difference of 5.3 points per game.
This year's offensive average of 343 yards per game is 35 yards less than last year, but K-State also allowed 47 fewer yards per game than a year ago.
WHERE DID ‘D' IMPROVE?
So why did K-State's defense seem so much better this year even though allowing only 1.3 points and 47 yards less this year?
It's in the turnover-margin department where the Wildcats had a plus-13 to last year's plus-4, and, this year opponents turned third downs into first downs 39 percent of the time compared to last year's 45 percent.
If John Hubert can net 67 yards against Arkansas, Kansas State will have only its second 1-2 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. In 2002, Darren Sproles rushed for 1,465 yards and Ell Roberson for 1,032 yards.
Klein currently has 1,099 yards, while Hubert has 933 yards. Combined they were sixth and seventh in the Big 12 totaling 169 yards per game. That was only bettered in the Big 12 by A&M's Christine Michael (99.9) and Cyrus Gray (95.0) who totaled 195 rushing yards.