Kansas head coach Charlie Weis talked this week about wanting to use the Kansas State program as a role model as he attempts to bring the Jayhawk program back from the dead. Today, he got a up close and personal look at what makes the Wildcats so good. They simply don't beat themselves.
All the evidence you need is found in the turnover battle. Kansas 5, Kansas State 0.
"The bottom line, when you're -5 in the turnover ratio to a team that's as good as this, you're going to lose like this most of the time," Weis said following the 56-16 loss.
The Jayhawks did manage to put together an impressive first half. They took the opening drive 83 yards on 12 plays for a 7-0 lead. After Kansas State answered with a drive of their own, Kansas came right back with another six play 74 yard drive to make the score 14-7.
That drive was aided by a fake punt on 4th and eight that went for 13 yards followed by a fake field goal that picked up another 12 yards setting up KU's second touchdown. Kansas only trailed 21-14 heading to the break.
That, however, is where the magic ended.
Kansas State came out after halftime with an entirely different attitude. The Wildcats scored 28 third quarter points while the Kansas offense went into hibernation. Kansas' third quarter possessions consisted of two punts, two interceptions, and a fumble ending any hopes of a comeback.
Kansas State's Collin Klein continued his superb play throwing for 129 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 116 yards on just 10 carries and two more scores.
You can count Weis as a fan who spent plenty of time studying Klein over the past two weeks and then saw the real deal in person on Saturday.
About the job he did against Kansas: "But that's every game. I mean, it's not today, it's last week, it's the week before that, it's the week before that."
"The one thing about this kid, he doesn't have to throw it too much for them to be good on offense. The two key ingredients with Collin is 'A': he can run the ball with power - he's not one of those quarterbacks who has to get on the edge and be a read option guy - he can run with power. And 'B': he causes misdirection problems with Hubert (running back John Hubert) because you're spending all your time trying to stop Collin, now he's handing the ball off. I can't tell you how many times in this game you saw the running back in space and a lot of times that space is caused because you are trying to stop that quarterback who's a fairly dynamic runner."
The fact of the matter is Kansas didn't do a good job of stopping either one. Hubert picked up 101 yards of his own and scored four of the Wildcats eight touchdowns.
While it's back to the drawing board for Kansas, the march toward a possible Big 12 title continues for Kansas State.
The Wildcats hit the road next week against Iowa State (who is leading TCU 23-17 in the third quarter as this is being written). The game that everyone has circled on the calendar happens the week following when Kansas State ventures east to take on West Virginia.
As for Kansas and Kansas State, however, the gap remains as wide as ever. The Jayhawks can take some solace from the fact that they did make Kansas State work for it most of the game, especially before halftime. That's not something you can say if you saw the last two meetings between these two teams.
I'm still holding onto the opinion that Kansas will win at least one Big 12 game somewhere along the line this season. They're improved, yes, but putting it together for four quarters remains the challenge.
Kansas State, meanwhile, just keeps right on trucking doing what they do. They trick no one on offense and yet manage to beat nearly everyone. It's refreshing to see in this age of no huddle, spread out the field attacks that a team who simply beats the man across from you can still win games. No gimmicks needed.