No. 4 K-State, No. 17 WVU in top Big 12 battle

Associated Press Modified: October 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm •  Published: October 19, 2012
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Collin Klein vs. Geno Smith. A showcase of Heisman Trophy contenders. A share of Big 12 supremacy at stake.

No. 4 Kansas State at No. 17 West Virginia has implications on several fronts.

The Wildcats (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) can keep first place to themselves on Saturday night in Morgantown while maintaining their national championship hopes.

The Mountaineers (5-1, 2-1) had similar dreams dashed at Texas Tech last week, but they still have BCS aspirations and will try to create a three-way tie atop the conference.

Smith might need one of his typical stratospheric passing games to get it done. Standing in his way is the mobile Klein, who has climbed into the Heisman Trophy discussion alongside Smith.

"It's going to be West Virginia's offense versus Kansas State's defense and vice versa," Smith said. "That's really all it comes down to."

The pair met in July at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana, Smith was a superlative thrower and Klein a run-first human cannonball whose 85-yard rushing average is 1 yard better than West Virginia's top back, Andrew Buie.

"He's a cool guy," Smith said of Klein. "But I also know he's a competitor and he's going to be ready to play."

Klein says it's fun to watch Smith and "I appreciate what he does."

But "my main focus is must making sure our team is successful," Klein said. "Whatever my piece of that puzzle looks like, I'll be happy with. We are all as a team trying to prepare to play the best game that we have played — we try to do that every week. It's just another step in the journey. We've just got to make sure we do the very best we possibly can to make sure it's a good and solid step."

West Virginia has been in close games in two of its last three contests. Same for the Wildcats, who are going after their third Big 12 road win in a month after beating Oklahoma and Iowa State by less than a touchdown.

Kansas State hasn't allowed more than 21 points all season but goes up against a West Virginia team that has averaged 57 in three home contests.

Something's got to give Saturday night.

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