It’s a touch ironic that Collin Klein gained his first start as a quarterback on Nov. 6, 2010, against the Texas Longhorns, and now to conclude his regular season career will start on Dec. 1, 2012, against … the Texas Longhorns.
“That was so long ago,” said Klein, who rushed for 127 yards and two scores in the 39-14 victory over the Longhorns. “This is kind of ironic that the last game I play here will be against the same team.
“You never think that this day ever coming, and then all of a sudden it’s your time,” said Klein. “I’ve just had some amazing experiences. It’s been an amazing five years.”
Between that first game, and this last game, Klein has found time to start a total of 24 other Wildcat games compiling career numbers and records of:
• 45 rushing touchdowns … a KSU record and fourth in Big 12 history
• Sixth player in Big 12 history with 4,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards
• Posted 21 wins as a starter quarterback, just one shy of the school record of 22 by Ell Roberson and Michael Bishop
• Rushed for 2,352 yards, fourth in KSU history only behind Sproles, Roberson and Thomas
• Passed for 4,389 yards, seventh in KSU history
• Owns a national-high of passing for at least one score and rushing for at least one score in 16 games since 2011
• In the BCS era, Klein is the only quarterback to rush for at least 20 TDs and pass for at least 10 TDs in more than one season
On whether those numbers are far better than he dreamed about arriving from Loveland, Colo., five years ago as only a modestly recruited player, Klein offered … in Snyder-like fashion, “I haven’t taken time to step back and look at my time here. As my dad (Doug) would say, and coach Snyder would say, you just try to be the best that you can be instead of setting certain expectations or limitations on yourself. I’ve just tried to be the best that I could be, and then go from there.
“That’s how I approach things and challenges that I have in my life,” said Klein.
So much has been accomplished, yet there is so much yet to accomplish.
“We have no choice but to bounce back,” Klein said of putting the 52-24 loss to Baylor out of his mind the last time K-State played. “I wouldn’t say that it’s an anger that I feel, but there is plenty of emotion built up to get back on track. The last two performances (a 23-10 win over TCU) haven’t been stellar, so there is motivation to get back on track and get clicking on the things that brought us this far and made us successful.”
Pausing, Klein continued, “There is so much on the line with the Big 12 title, a BCS bowl game and just going out as winners.”
To regroup over the Thanksgiving break, Klein and his wife, Shalin, went to her home in Kansas City where he says he learned how to play pitch (the card game), plus went dress shopping with his bride for four months.
“It was fun just to be with her, but I’m more of a quick buyer,” said Klein. “I know what I want, I go in and get it, and I’m done. It’s not that complicated. If someone throws a brand name at me, I just say, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’ I’m pretty simple.”
Saturday in a 7 p.m. kickoff against the Texas Longhorns at Bill Snyder Family Stadium will be anything but a simple day.
It’s Senior Day for 27 Wildcat seniors and Klein knows, “It will be an emotional day for me. I’ve seen a lot of players enter and exit during my tenure, and now my time has come. It won’t be an easy thing because I have so many fond memories here. It’s going to be hard. It’s something I can’t put into words.
“I don’t know what I’m going to be like. We’ll find out. I am an emotional guy, but I don’t show it to everybody all the time, but I’m very emotional about what I care about, and I care about this program, this team and this university, so it will be a challenge.”
Of his brightest of bright moments as a Wildcat, Klein offered a smile as he said, “We’re not done yet.”
The Wildcats’ No. 7 added, “Coach Snyder talks about finishing strong, and that’s no doubt what we want to do.”