Klein’s focus on his team, not Heisman

By Joshua Kinder

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein has slipped in recent weeks in the Heisman race, behind Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who broke the SEC record for total offense last Saturday against Missouri.

The reason for Klein’s fall stems from the Wildcats’ loss at Baylor two weeks ago when the senior threw three interceptions in easily his worst game of the year. That, of course, is despite leading his team to 10 straight wins before that and holding down the Heisman frontrunner label for at least six weeks.

When asked about the Heisman hype on Tuesday, the quarterback did what he always does, turned the attention back to his team.

“It’s there, but at this point, it still doesn’t matter and its insignificant to where we’re at as a team and what we have on our plate this week,” said Klein, who has more than 3,000 yards of total offense and 34 touchdowns this season. “It’s hard to get away from that kind of stuff, especially in this day and age of social media. It’s just a matter of trying to be the best I can possibly be and to stay focused on what we’re doing and go from there.”

But since Klein won’t campaign for himself, we’ll just leave it up to his outspoken teammate Chris Harper to do it instead.

“Everybody’s looking at his last game, but he had 10 games before where he played crazy, awesome,” the senior receiver said. “They’re acting like this Manziel dude hasn’t lost any games. You got to be fair, can’t be biased because he’s an SEC guy. He’s doing some crazy stuff for a freshman. I don’t care about age because you’re playing big-boy football — it doesn’t matter how old you are.

“But Collin broke all these school records, had one of the most prolific careers anybody’s ever had. How can you not make a case for him? And he’s done with what everybody calls a bunch of hodge-podge players. I’ll be hodge-podge for him.”

It’s assumed for Klein to get back into the race, he would need a huge game this Saturday when the sixth-ranked Wildcats (10-1) host the Longhorns (8-3) at 7 p.m. on ABC.

“He’s had a great season,” Harper said. “How much more does he have to prove? What’s he got to do, throw for 1,000 yards this week? He has one bad game and he’s out of it. I didn’t know one game and you’re out of it. I thought it went off the whole season.”

K-State athletic director John Currie also made his pitch for Klein on Tuesday, with less than one week before the Heisman votes are due.

“Collin Klein epitomizes the finest attributes of intercollegiate athletics,” he said. “He’s a graduate of K-State, an unbelievable selfless leader who has always shouldered accountability, who’s been a perfect citizen off the field and been an incredible volunteer. There is simply not a finer person to represent college athletics at the highest level, like that particular award is supposed to represent.

“If he is fortunate to win that award or be in the running for that award, he deserves it.”

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