Kansas State's Collin Klein Is Literally Running Away from Heisman Field

John Degroote@john_degrooteCorrespondent IIOctober 27, 2012

Heisman candidate Collin Klein celebrating a touchdown
Heisman candidate Collin Klein celebrating a touchdownJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

After his four-touchdown performance Saturday against the No. 14 Texas Tech Red Raiders, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is firmly in the driver's seat for the Heisman Trophy.

Klein was 19-of-26 for 233 and two touchdowns through the air and added 83 yards and two scores on the ground. Klein nearly had as many touchdowns as incompletions against a top-15 team!

Not many people had Klein on their Heisman radar coming into the season. Klein tied the record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback last year with 27 and finished with 40 total touchdowns and only six interceptions en route to a 10-win season.

Kansas State does not have the tradition of a Michigan, Ohio State or even USC, but Klein has made the team relevant—their No. 3 (soon to be No. 2) ranking is a testament to that.

Klein has accounted for two-thirds of Kansas State's total yardage since the 2011 season and he's responsible for 77 percent of the team's total touchdowns since 2011.

Klein is not tiptoeing around when he runs the ball, either. He runs it with power and intensity. Defenders do not want to tackle him and when they do he falls forward.

In a USA Today poll that surveyed 35 official Heisman voters, Klein was the victor, garnering 32 first-place votes.

The campaign the Wildcats have rolled out for their Heisman candidate embodies what kind of player Klein is. The flyer features a picture of Klein in the pocket, with an oversized Band-Aid covering his bloodied arm. When you watch a Kansas State game, bandages, wraps and pads are usually stuck over Klein's upper body like tattoos.

The race for the Heisman Trophy is a marathon, not a sprint. A few weeks ago it looked like Geno Smith was going to run away with the award, but a putrid October now has Smith at the bottom of most ballots.

If the season ended today, Klein would win the vote by a landslide. However, the Wildcats have four games left. Three of their opponents (Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU) all have more than five wins and will be tough tests. If Klein and the Wildcats come out of that gauntlet unscathed, or even with a single loss, expect the KSU quarterback to be the newest member of the Heisman fraternity.

Sport Illustrated's Stewart Mandel said it best in a quote that sits on Klein's Heisman mailer, "You'd be hard-pressed to find a player more valuable to his team than Collin Klein."

Collin Klein is college football's most valuable player.