MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder tried to slough it off, but in a "win the battle but lose the war" situation, he may have lost his star quarterback to an apparent head injury in the Wildcats' 44-30 victory over No. 24 Oklahoma State. Heisman Trophy front-runner Collin Klein left the game after scoring on a 1-yard run in the third quarter.
"We took him out to get (back-up quarterback) Daniel Sams some experience," Snyder said with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek after the game. "You wouldn't buy that, would you? He obviously was injured or we wouldn't have taken him out."
Snyder wouldn't say what the injury was, but based on the reaction on the sideline and the precautions alluded to, it appeared to be a head injury. His status for next Saturday's game at Texas Christian is uncertain.
On the field, the No. 2-ranked Wildcats took the ball away from Oklahoma State five times to improve remain undefeated. The Wildcats (9-0, 6-0 in the Big 12) should hold their No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings.
Allen Chapman had three interceptions, including a pick-six to give K-State a 31-17 lead at the half. He also snuffed out Oklahoma State's final threat with an interception in the end zone with 2:06 remaining.
Chapman was not available for interviews following the game, but teammate Jarell Childs said his defensive teammates were not surprised.
"Our defensive line got great pressure on the quarterback and made him throw it fast," the senior linebacker said. "We all know (Allen) is a great player. For him to come out and have a great game like that, I'm proud of him. I knew he could do it."
The final turnover, Wes Lunt's third interception on the opening possession of the second half, knocked Lunt from the game with an undisclosed injury. Lunt finished the game 11-of-20 for 184 yards and one touchdown, plus the three picks.
"I'm really disappointed in myself, in our coaches, in the way we played," Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. "You travel on the road, and you play a good football team, and you turn the ball over, you're poor on special teams and you don't tackle well, you essentially don't give yourself a chance to win.
"Kansas State's a good football team, very well coached. I'm just disappointed that we couldn't give him a better game and put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win it at the end."
Kansas State was fifth in the FBS with a plus-15 turnover margin coming into the game, while Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2) was ranked 94th at minus-2.
Klein had a strong game before leaving prematurely, finishing the game 16-of-22 for 245 yards. He also had 64 yards on 17 carries, plus a touchdown on the ground.
When asked in the post-game press conference if he considered putting Klein back in the game when the offense sputtered some in the fourth quarter, Snyder hesitated, then said, "It wasn't the right thing to do."
Kansas State players were non-committal, but the mood in the post-game press conference was fairly somber for a team that improved to 9-0.
"Without Collin at quarterback, we had to do some adjustments," wide receiver Tyler Lockett said. "D. Sams is a great player and he did what he was able to do. He has great ability and he led us on some real big drives.
"Nobody knows what's going to happen (next Saturday). We will prepare like we do week in and week out. We'll look at film Monday and see the things we need to correct. I think he's going to be able to play, but we just don't know."
Snyder was not pleased with his team's overall effort, after giving up 504 yards of total offense and a season high 30 points.
"(We were) not very good," he said. "(It was) a variety of things."
As has been the case several times this year, Kansas State gave up the first points of the game. Lunt hit Austin Hays for a 54-yard touchdown pass up the middle to cap an 80-yard drive on Oklahoma State's first possession to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead. It was longest scoring play Kansas State has given up this year, and it was the fifth time this season that the Wildcats have given up the first points in the contest.
But each time, the Wildcats answered with a score of their own -- three of four times with touchdowns -- and this was no different. John Hubert outraced the defense to the front corner of the end zone to score from inside the 1-yard line for a tying touchdown. The key play on the drive was a 50-yard fade pass from Klein to Tyler Lockett to set up the Wildcats at the OSU 7-yard line.
After Kansas State forced Oklahoma State to punt, the Wildcats rattled off an 11-play drive that ended with an Anthony Cantele 23-yard field goal. Following an OSU fumble, Hubert scored his second TD from the OSU 5-yard line, giving the Wildcats a 17-7 lead.
Oklahoma State moved quickly down the field and Quinn Sharp connected on a 25-yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-10.
Lockett electrified the crowd with a 100-yard touchdown on the ensuing kickoff.
But Oklahoma State answered right away. Kicking away from Justin Gilbert, who returned an earlier kickoff 41 yards, Cantele kicked it short. Desmond Roland caught it at the 20 and went 80 yards untouched for the score.
Both offenses took a short break by trading punts before Chapman stepped in front of a Lunt pass and raced 29 yards untouched down the left sideline for a touchdown and the final points of the half.
Oklahoma State, which came into the game leading the FBS with 586.1 yards of offense per game, was marching again, but Chapman picked off his second pass in less than two minutes with an acrobatic catch along the sideline with 56 seconds left in the half.
Oklahoma State was marching on its opening possession of the second half, but Lunt threw his third pick, this one made by Nigel Malone at the K-State 7. Kansas State responded with a 93-yard drive, capped by Klein's 1-yard run.
Clint Chelf replaced Lunt and moved the Cowboys down the field, but they were only able to get a 43-yard field goal by Sharp. K-State came back with a 37-yard field goal by Cantele, followed later by a 13-yard touchdown catch by Charlie Moore to cut the lead to 41-27. The rest of the game ended with offsetting field goals by KSU's Cantele (40 yards) and OSU's Sharp (28).
NOTES: Kansas State is 158-5 under Bill Snyder when leading at the half. ... K-State remains the least-penalized team in the FBS. The Wildcats had two penalties for 13 yards, giving them 31 for 239 yards for the season.