MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Third-ranked Kansas State was sluggish in the first half of its matchup with No. 14 Texas Tech and coach Bill Snyder knew he had to give his starting quarterback a pep talk. So he chose the same words he has used all season.
"All I've ever said to Collin is to be Collin," Snyder said of his conversation with Heisman Trophy front-running quarterback Collin Klein. "It's easy to get caught up in all the things (the media) puts out there. I don't have to tell him to not get caught off in it. I say, 'If you're Collin, I know you won't get caught off in it. I know you'll bring all that you have to every ballgame.' And he does."
Apparently it worked, as the Wildcats scored 42 points in the second half on their way to a 55-24 victory at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Saturday.
Klein completed 19 of 26 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for 83 yards on 12 carries, with two more touchdowns.
"He tells me that all the time," Klein said. "It's so true. It just fits his mold of trying to be better today than we were yesterday."
Klein said the strong effort by the offense was due to the time he had in the pocket.
"The game starts on the line, both offensively and defensively," he said. "Both our offensive and defensive lines do a tremendous job. It's very strenuous, both mentally and physically. You have to be on the same page, both in the running and passing game. When you're being assaulted mentally and physically and you're able to stay dialed in, it's a credit to them.
This was a matchup of teams that have far exceeded expectations of the pundits in the preseason.
Kansas State was ranked in the middle of most preseason Big 12 rankings, while Texas Tech was ranked primarily in the lower third of the conference.
But through four conference games, they held the top two spots in the standings.
Kansas State improved to 8-0, 5-0 in the Big 12, while Texas Tech fell to 6-2, 3-2.
Texas Tech grabbed the lead quickly, marching 75 yards on nine plays on their opening possession, capped by a 32-yard touchdown pass from Seth Doege to Eric Ward.
The Red Raiders continued their drive after an offside penalty against linebacker Arthur Brown nullified a third-and-10 stop. Doege then completed a 9-yard pass to Darrin Moore to continue the drive.
Kansas State gave up big chunks of yardage in the first quarter, being outgained 124-19.
The Wildcats easily could have been down by two scores as the Red Raiders were moving again, but Meshak Williams blindsided Doege deep in Kansas State territory and forced a fumble. It was picked up by Jerell Childs, who returned it 76 yards for an apparent touchdown. An illegal block moved the ball back to the 14-yard-line before the Wildcats lost yardage and settled for Anthony Cantele's 34-yard field goal.
"It's still a touchdown in my mind," Childs said. "Right before that we were talking about how we needed to get some turnovers. So that play gave us a lot of momentum."
Williams knew the play was a big shift in momentum.
"It did a lot," he said. "That was a big hit, with a sack and a fumble. I feel good about it. Jerell Childs got a fumble. He tried to score, but we got a flag on it."
When told that Childs was claiming it as a touchdown, Williams said, "If he wants to claim it, we know the stat sheet says differently."
Ryan Bustin's 37-yard field goal on Texas Tech's next possession gave the Red Raiders a 10-3 lead.
Following a squib kick, Kansas State took over at its 41 and went on an eight-play, 59-yard drive to tie the score, John Hubert scoring on a 4-yard run.
Hubert was stopped at the line of scrimmage but bounced to the outside and outran the defense to the corner.
Kansas State grabbed the lead on a 19-yard field goal by Cantele with 1:35 left in the first half after Williams blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt by Bustin and the Wildcats took over at their 33.
They got to the 2-yard line before the drive stalled.
Much like it has all season, Kansas State was much more in charge in the second half. The Wildcats started the half with a seven-play, 75-yard drive. Klein threw a fastball to Tramaine Thompson for a 21-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 10-point lead.
On the next series, Randall Evans stripped Ward after a 16-yard completion and after Evans returned the ball 19 yards to the Texas Tech 35, a facemask penalty put the ball on the 20.
Two plays later, Klein raced untouched up the middle for a 16-yard touchdown and the Wildcats led by 17.
"Obviously you can't go on the road and make the mistakes that we made today," Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We looked a lot like last week: very inconsistent on both sides of the ball.
"In the first quarter we played pretty good defense. After that, I don't think we made them punt. You can't do that against a good football team. We knew we had to play perfect. We moved the ball, made a lot of yardage, but you can't turn it over. I think we gave up 17, 20 points on offense and our kicking game today."
Texas Tech went 73 yards in 11 plays on the ensuing drive, capped by an 8-yard run by Sedale Foster. Doege was 5 of 6 for 56 yards on the drive and finished the day 35 of 50 for 331 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.
But Kansas State was not to be denied.
"It was not so much the adjustments we made," Snyder said, "because we were playing well defensively. Offensively we had to spar a little bit until we could find some answers. It was just being able to get into the right things."
Klein marched the Wildcats 74 yards in five plays to again cut the margin to 17. Klein completed passes of 22 yards to Chris Harper and 19 to Tyler Lockett before scoring on a 22-yard run up the middle.
Hubert helped the Wildcats put the game away in the fourth quarter on a 15-yard scoring run off left tackle. The touchdown capped a 70-yard drive in 11 plays and gave the Wildcats a 41-17 lead.
On the next series, Brown intercepted a tipped pass and ran 37 yards untouched for a touchdown, and Klein then hit Angelo Pease on an 8-yard shovel pass for Kansas State's final points.
Doege hit Ward with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 2:33 left to complete the scoring.
NOTES: Kansas State improved to 157-5 when leading at halftime since 1990. ... Klein's third-quarter touchdown extended his school record to 49 career scoring runs. ... Texas Tech's ranking of 14th in the BCS standings is the Red Raiders' highest since 2008, when they were ranked as high as No. 2.