10 Lessons We Learned from Kansas State's 55-14 Dismantling of West Virginia
West Virginia came into its game against Kansas State looking for a bounce back win after getting destroyed by Texas Tech 49-14 in Week 7.
Instead, what the Mountaineers got was another butt-kicking.
Kansas State QB Collin Klein proved that he's truly one of the most dangerous playmakers in the country. Klein made a statement to Heisman voters by leading the Wildcats to a 55-14 blowout win in Morgantown.
Here's a look at the 10 lessons we learned from the game.
Collin Klein Is the Clear Heisman Front-Runner
Kansas State QB Collin Klein had arguably the most impressive individual performance that we've seen so far this season with his showing against West Virginia.
Klein totaled 364 yards of offense and accounted for all seven of his team's touchdowns (three passing, four rushing) in the 55-14 victory over the Mountaineers.
That type of awe-inspiring performance has now helped the 6'5'', 226-pound senior establish himself as the clear-cut Heisman front-runner as we head into the stretch run of the season.
Geno Smith’s Heisman Hopes Have Been Dashed
It wasn't that long ago that we were talking about West Virginia QB Geno Smith as the Heisman front-runner. However, Smith's struggles in the last two games, which have both been blowout losses, have knocked him down the list of candidates.
Smith broke Trent Dilfer's record of 273 pass attempts without throwing an interception, but just after setting the record, he proceeded to throw two picks.
In the end, he only managed to throw for 143 yards against the Wildcats.
Considering Robert Griffin III had three losses on his resume and still won the Heisman Trophy last year, obviously, all hope is not lost for Smith. However, he's got some serious work to do in the coming weeks if he wants to climb back into the race.
Collin Klein Isn’t Just a Running Quarterback
Collin Klein may not have the strongest arm or the best throwing mechanics, but against West Virginia, he showed that he can put the ball exactly where it needs to be.
Klein carved up the Mountaineers secondary, completing 19 of his 21 pass attempts for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
The senior signal-caller may not have a ton of zip on his passes, but he knows how to consistently find his target, and that's all that matters.
West Virginia’s Defense Is Actually Worse Than We Thought
After pitiful performances against Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech, we already knew West Virginia's defense was full of holes. However, the unit managed to reach a new low.
The Mountaineers gave up 479 total yards and 55 points to the Wildcats, and they basically didn't even look like they wanted to be out on the field.
The West Virginia defenders can't tackle, they can't cover, and they can't rush the passer. There's simply no heart, no toughness and no passion on the defensive side of the ball right now.
I guess these are the kind of results you should expect when you hire a special teams coach to run your defense.
Arthur Brown Is an All-American
If West Virginia's defensive players want to learn how to actually tackle, they should put in the game film and watch Kansas State LB Arthur Brown, because he put on an absolute clinic against the Mountaineers.
Brown was constantly around the ball, he made a few crushing hits on ball-carriers, and he also picked off a Geno Smith pass early in the third quarter that basically ended the game.
The 6'1'', 231-pound senior is one of the best defenders in the country, and he certainly showed up in a big way when it came time to play on a national stage against a dangerous offense.
Kansas State Is More Athletic Than It Gets Credit For
Kansas State constantly gets painted as a tough, grind-it-out team that wins games by playing a physical brand of football and ultimately outlasting teams. However, the Wildcats are actually a much more athletic team than they get credit for.
Players like Collin Klein, John Hubert, Tyler Lockett, Arthur Brown, Nigel Malone and Ty Zimmerman could suit up for any other team in the country, including some of the so-called super-athletic teams in the SEC.
No, the Wildcats may not have a flashy new age spread offense, and no, they don't recruit blue-chip 5-star athletes year in and year out. However, that certainly doesn't mean that Kansas State doesn't have its fair share of playmakers and game-breakers.
Tavon Austin Is Always Reliable
West Virginia may have stunk up the joint against Kansas State, but one player who certainly came to play was WR Tavon Austin.
Austin showed that he can always be relied on to provide a spark, as he scored both of the Mountaineers' touchdowns.
The senior speedster's 100-yard kickoff return for a score late in the second quarter looked like it was potentially going to breathe new life into the Mountaineers. However, the defense failed to hold up its end of the bargain, letting Kansas State extend its 24-7 lead to 31-7 just before halftime.
Bill Snyder’s Still Got the Magic
73-year-old Bill Snyder may be the oldest head coach at the FBS level. However, he's still managing to beat coaches who weren't even born when he started his coaching career all the way back in 1962.
With a win over West Virginia, Snyder's Kansas State team is now 17-3 since the start of the 2011 season.
Snyder already has two appearances in the Fiesta Bowl on his resume, and he's now on track to add a third one this season.
West Virginia Is Not Ready for the Big 12
After a big 48-45 road win over Texas in Week 6, there were many onlookers who started talking about West Virginia as a legitimate threat to win the Big 12 championship this season. However, the Mountaineers have gotten a dose of reality with back-to-back blowout losses to Texas Tech and Kansas State in the last two weeks.
Yes, Dana Holgorsen's squad does have the firepower at the offensive skill-positions to compete with any other team in the league. The problem is, the rest of the team just isn't equipped to contend for a conference championship this season.
With upcoming games against TCU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Iowa State still left on the schedule, the Mountaineers better fix their flaws in a hurry, or the season will only continue to spiral out of control.
The Wildcats Are a Legitimate National Title Contender
Even though Kansas State won 10 games last year, the Wildcats didn't enter the 2012 season ranked in the top 20 in either of the major polls. Nevertheless, for the second year in a row, Bill Snyder's squad has surpassed expectations.
Kansas State not only looks like the current favorite to win the Big 12 title; the Wildcats also look like they belong in the national championship conversation as well.
With games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and Texas still left on the schedule, obviously, there's still a lot of work left to be done. But right now, Kansas State looks like it could potentially make a run to the national championship game this season.
Just like Auburn in 2010, the Wildcats have a dominant dual-threat quarterback who has game-changing ability, and they have enough surrounding pieces on both sides of the ball to beat anybody on their schedule.