MANHATTAN — No. 7 Kansas State had so much at stake when it went up against No. 23 Texas in a prime-time football clash on Saturday night at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
After getting denied a chance to play in the BCS national championship game — having their unbeaten season shattered two weeks ago on a forgettable night down deep in the heart of Texas against Baylor — there still was so much to gain with a win over another school from The Lone Star State — the Longhorns:
• A BCS berth in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, 2013.
• The third conference championship in school history — this time a share of the crown with Oklahoma — and first since 2003.
• The seventh 11-win season in school history — and first since 2003.
That said, Kansas State didn’t disappoint, breaking open a tight game with a 21-point fourth quarter to post a 42-24 victory over Texas, thus clinching a likely berth to play Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
After star quarterback Collin Klein took a knee to end the game, fans poured onto the field and the Wildcats players hoisted their silver helmets into the air, basking in the glow of matching the 2003 and 1934 Kansas State teams of yesteryear to capture conference crowns.
“It’s special for us,” said Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder in an interview on the field, broadcast on the public-address system. “I really don’t know where we’re going to go … I have an idea. It’s a little warmer weather. We’ve been there before.
“The last time we went we had 50,000 people from Kansas State there, and we’d like to see you there again.”
Klein, one of the finalists for the Heisman Trophy, capped the Wildcats’ 11-1 season by passing for 184 yards and rushing for 108 yards. He had 1- and 9-yard touchdown runs.