The Kansas State Wildcats and Collin Klein are one in the same. The team is going to go as far as the star quarterback is going to take them, which makes the injury he sustained during Saturday's win against Oklahoma State that much more damaging for all involved.
According to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, Klein was removed from the game "because of fears of a concussion."
Afterward, Klein was evaluated on the bench by Kansas State trainers and, a source said, could not recall the details of the drive, including the fact he scored. His helmet was immediately taken away and he did not return to the game. Kansas State led 38-17 at the time.
This has been a banner season for the Wildcats and Klein so far. The team is sitting pretty with a spotless 9-0 record and No. 2 in the BCS standings. Klein was the Heisman Trophy favorite with 2,573 total yards, 29 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
All of that is going to come crashing down to earth in a big way if Klein is unable to play on Saturday against a solid TCU team.
Dave Skretta of the Associated Press reported that head coach Bill Snyder doesn't know if Klein will be available this week.
Bill Snyder unsure of Collin Klein's status for next week's game.— Dave Skretta (@APdaveskretta) November 4, 2012
To illustrate how important Klein is to the Wildcats' offense, the team averages 439 yards of total offense per game. He averages 286 of those yards, or 65 percent of all their yards. His 29 touchdowns are 64 percent of their total offensive touchdowns scored.
No backup quarterback on the roster is going to be able to step in and come close to matching that much production, even if it would be for just one week.
Klein's health and well-being are far more important than anything that happens on the field, and credit the team for pulling him out of that game when they noticed something wasn't right.
Yet, looking at things strictly from an on-field standpoint, what are the Wildcats supposed to do without Klein if he can't go?
Freshman quarterback Daniel Sams has looked good in limited action, completing six of his eight pass attempts and 235 rushing yards, but those yards came in blowout wins. Starting a game is an entirely different animal.
Klein is in that dangerous territory where we don't know the full extent of his injuries. We know some of his symptoms, sure, but concussions are tricky things. You can't predict how long symptoms are going to linger.
The Wildcats need to hope beyond hope that their star quarterback is under center this Saturday if they want to keep their undefeated season and national championship dreams alive. The hardest part will be the wait to find out what exactly is going on with Klein.