A few minutes into the Kansas State and Texas Christian University Big 12 Conference game, news leaked from the press box that No. 1 Alabama had just fallen from the unbeaten ranks as Texas A&M (8-2) ambushed the host Crimson Tide by five points.
This meant that if the No. 2-ranked Wildcats could handle the Horned Frogs, they would take over the top-spot in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
And so, with the help of quarterback and Heisman Trophy front-runner Collin Klein scoring two rushing touchdowns, Kansas State now sits atop the college football mountain after a 23-10 victory this past Saturday on the road.
The Crimson Tide (9-1) dropped to No. 4 in the BCS rankings, and hope No. 2 Oregon (10-0) and No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0) also fall, otherwise it seems very unlikely they will defend their title in Miami.
For now, the Wildcats (10-0) are playing with vigor and determination despite Klein, a senior, who sustained a mild concussion in the 14-point triumph over Oklahoma State two weeks ago.
Kansas State was once a national laughingstock, and one of the worst teams historically in college football with a 299-510 record for a .370 winning percentage.
That all changed when Bill Snyder was hired as head coach in 1989. Snyder, in two terms at the helm, owns a 169-83-1 mark, and has gone to 13 bowls with six wins.
When Fox sideline reporter Julie Alexandria asked Snyder what he thought of his team’s performance, he showed little emotion.
“Well, the good thing is we won,’’ he said. “But we made a lot of little mistakes that we’re going to have to correct.”
Snyder was referring to the Wildcats’ two turnovers that included Klein’s interception on the first series.
Klein rebounded with an 89-yard drive that ended in a seven-yard run over the middle and 8:14 left in the first quarter that made it 7-0.
Anthony Cantele’s 41-yard field goal gave Kansas State a 10-0 lead with just under three minutes showing in the opening quarter.
Cantele later converted a 20-yarder just before halftime as the Wildcats enjoyed a 13-0 advantage.
In the third quarter, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Klein, who hit 12 of 21 pass attempts for 145 yards, directed Kansas State 86 yards for a 20-0 lead and 8:21 left when he scored from 34 yards out.
Though not blessed with exceptional foot speed, Klein (50 yards on 15 rushes) is one of the most-productive runners in the land having amassed 748 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Klein has 2,020 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions this season, and compiled 1,141 yards on the ground with 27 touchdowns in 2011.
With 4:24 left in the third quarter, Cantele’s 27-yard attempt split the uprights as the Wildcats forged a 23-0 lead.
The Horned Frogs (6-4) got on the board when Jaden Oberkrom drilled a 35-yard field goal with just under seven minutes left.
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (17 of 30 for 164 yards and one pick) hooked up with wide receiver Brandon Carter for a 19-yard score and 47 seconds left.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.