One of the common misconceptions about the Kansas State offense is that the Wildcats are incredibly simple in what they do. In fact, maybe no Big 12 offense other than potentially Texas or Kansas is more multiple. The Wildcats have no issues going from two tight end power sets to spread sets, with Kansas State throwing at times out of the former and running out of the latter.
That leads to an extraordinarily high success rate — the Wildcats are "successful" on 50.1 percent of their plays according to FootballOutsiders.com's S&P+ rankings, good enough for No. 7 in the country — while their points per play (an explosiveness rating) is 15th nationally.
Kansas State was even higher in both categories prior to the past two games, with one-time Heisman Trophy favorite Collin Klein (6-5 226) suffering an apparent head injury against TCU and coming back in sluggish fashion in the Wildcats' lone loss to Baylor. Klein has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 2,306 yards with 14 touchdowns to six interceptions, and he has 787 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on the ground.
But look at these splits:
Klein First Nine Games (Kansas State 9-0)
PASSING: 71.1 percent completion percentage, 208.3 yards per game, 12 touchdowns to two interceptions
RUSHING: 77.6 yards per game, 5.0 yards per carry, 17 touchdowns
TOTAL OFFENSE: 285.9 yards per game, 3.2 touchdowns per game, two interceptions
Klein Last Two Games (Kansas State 1-1)
PASSING: 54.9 percent completion percentage, 215.5 yards per game, two touchdowns to four interceptions
RUSHING: 44.5 yards per game, 2.8 yards per carry, three touchdowns
TOTAL OFFENSE: 260 yards per game, 2.5 touchdowns per game, four interceptions
As the burly Klein goes, so goes Kansas State. The Wildcats averaged 44.3 points per game in those first nine games and 23.5 points per game in the last two. If he's on, Kansas State is incredibly deadly because he's a fullback as a runner who has also improved drastically as a passer.
John Hubert (5-9 191) can hurt defenses that key too much on Klein keeping the ball. Hubert has rushed for 826 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, though you'd probably be hard pressed to find a Big 12 coach who thinks he's among the league's elite runners. Angelo Pease (5-11 215) can add a change of pace, though Klein more often serves as the team's power back. Braden Wilson (6-4 256) is arguably the Big 12's top pure blocking back at fullback.
The Wildcats are severely underrated at wide receiver. Chris Harper (6-1 234) can cause a lot of problems because of his size-speed combination. He has 47 catches for 727 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Lockett (5-11 175) is one of the Big 12's most dynamic all-around players. He averages 15.2 yards per catch and has 579 receiving yards and three touchdowns. And cat-quick Tramaine Thompson (5-8 167) has another 491 yards and a team-leading four touchdown receptions. Travis Tannahill (6-3 253) can also provide some pop in the passing game. He has 21 catches.
The Wildcats are physical up front in a way that surprises, given that they have one of the smaller offensive lines in the league. The exception to that rule is huge left tackle Cornelius Lucas (6-9 324). Kansas State allowed just seven sacks in the first nine games, but gave up five sacks in the Wildcats' last two contests. B.J. Finney (6-4 303) is among the Big 12's best centers. He's flanked by mobile guards Cody Whitehair (6-3 300) and Keenan Taylor (6-1 290). JUCO transfer Tavon Rooks (6-5 272) is the starter at right tackle.
Anthony Cantele (5-10 183) is usually pretty solid. He's made 18-of-21 field goals, including 14 of his last 16. Lockett is one of the best returners in the country with two kickoff return touchdowns and a 34.5 kick return average. He also averages 14.7 per punt return. But Thompson (with six fewer kick returns) has a 35.5 average on kickoff returns and an absurd 24.9 punt return average on more returns than Lockett has. Thompson took a punt back for a score earlier this year.