Kansas State’s John Hubert doesn’t get to be the hero often.
The junior has had a solid all-around season, racking up 892 yards despite typically playing second fiddle to Collin Klein’s quarterback rushing game. Playing alongside Klein, Hubert doesn’t usually get to be the one scoring the touchdowns and getting the glory. Not surprisingly, he didn’t mind getting to the end zone in the regular-season finale Saturday.
“Of course,” Hubert said. “I think anyone would love to score. But they just call my number and I happened to be the one who was scoring. If they call Collin’s number and he scores, as long as we put points on the board and keep scoring, I’m OK with it.”
With all the attention on K-State’s seniors, especially Klein, Hubert managed to put his own stamp on the 42-24 win over Texas Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
With Texas clearly keying in on Klein, Hubert offered a nice change of pace out of the backfield, scoring on three touchdown runs despite accumulating only 66 yards.
“Everybody tries to stop Collin and keep him from running, and that opens things up for me when I get the ball,” he said. “I didn’t get as many yards as I wanted, but the three touchdowns and to help get a win over Texas and get my team to a Big 12 championship and go to a BCS bowl is more important than getting 1,000 yards at this point.”
Entering Saturday, the junior had seen a dropoff in his workload, with an average of 10 carries and 33 yards in the previous three games after posting four 100-yard rushing performances earlier in the season. Against Texas, K-State went back to Hubert, and the move paid off.
“We knew coming into the game the run was going to be there, and we knew they were going to try and stop Collin and stop the quarterback sneak when we get close to the goal line,” he said. “So we put that pitch play in this week and we knew it was going to be there.”
All of Hubert’s scores came on goal-to-go situations from within the 2-yard line, with two of them coming after Klein was stuffed the play before. Those touches are typically reserved for Klein, who has been all-but automatic from within the 5-yard line the last two seasons. Needless to say, the Longhorns defense wasn’t expecting Hubert to shoulder the load that deep in the red zone.
“With the game on the line, it’s a big game, you need somebody to step up,” Hubert said. “I want to be the guy to step up and help out my team.”
Hubert now has 15 touchdowns on the season after scoring just three in 13 games last season. He also has 2 yards more than Klein on the season, quietly maintaining his perch as the Cats’ rushing leader this year. With the win over Texas in the books, the team can take a much-needed break and begin preparing for the Fiesta Bowl.
“It’s a great feeling,” Hubert said. “This was one of our goals coming into the season. We reached that and we’re playing in a BCS bowl game and that was another one. Now we’ve got to just go out and play our best and get that 12th win.”