Collin Klein: Kansas State QB Is Heisman Frontrunner After Win vs. West Virginia

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IOctober 21, 2012

Collin Klein of Kansas State was thought to be a dark-horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy coming into Saturday's action, but after out-performing Geno Smith and West Virginia, Klein is now the front-runner.

If you didn't think the Wildcats were for real, surely that opinion has changed after their drubbing of the Mountaineers, 55-14.

Klein was sensational in one of the Wildcats' biggest games of the season.

The Kansas St. quarterback was 19-for-21, compiling 323 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Klein was also busy on the ground with 12 carries for 41 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, that's seven touchdowns in all.

Former Heisman front-runner Smith didn't look as good as his counterpart. Smith was 21-for-32 for 143 yards with one touchdown and two picks. The WVU quarterback also finished with negative yardage on the ground, completing what was a polar opposite performance to that of Klein.

There is no longer any doubt Klein is an elite quarterback in college football.

On the season, Klein has thrown for 1,397 yards, 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Further proving he is a great all-around quarterback, Klein has rushed for 551 yards and 14 touchdowns.

At the moment, Klein's greatest competition is Braxton Miller of the Ohio State Buckeyes. But thanks to an injury to Miller and a great performance by Klein, the Kansas St. quarterback has surpassed Ohio St.'s signal-caller in passing yards.

And while Miller has gained more yardage on the ground this season, Klein has rushed for more touchdowns than his fellow Heisman candidate.

Furthermore, Miller's absence from the final two quarters of the Buckeyes' win over Purdue meant they'd have to rely on Kenny Guiton, who was able to fill Miller's shoes en route to victory. If the Wildcats had a similar issue, they wouldn't be able to survive without Klein behind center.

Just watching Klein on the field makes it obvious he is a better quarterback than Miller.

He has almost equal athleticism to Miller's, but Klein makes some incredible throws that are already NFL-quality. Klein's incredibly accurate touch pass to Tyler Lockett in the first half of the game against West Virginia was living proof that he is a far better passer than Miller.

Kansas St. still has some tough games left on its schedule, but the chances of the Wildcats finishing the season perfect are very realistic—and that wouldn't be the case without Klein. If the Wildcats remain undefeated, that will guarantee Klein winning the Heisman Trophy this season.

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