MANHATTAN, Kan. – Collin Klein threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores and No. 7 Kansas State beat No. 23 Texas 42-24 on Saturday night for its third conference title in 117 years and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
The Wildcats had never played for a conference championship in their last game at home, and had never had a player end the regular season in such close contention for the Heisman Trophy as Klein.
Neither of his main competitors, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel nor Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, played this weekend. So Klein, a multitalented senior, had the stage all to himself, one last chance to burnish his credentials for what would be Kansas State's first Heisman.
In front of their sixth sellout in seven home games, the Wildcats (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) tied their team record for victories in a season and matched Oklahoma's Big 12 record.
Kansas State has beaten Texas (8-4, 5-4) five in a row.
The Sooners beat TCU earlier Saturday and immediately donned caps and T-shirts declaring themselves Big 12 champs. But Kansas State's 24-19 win at Oklahoma on Sept. 22 gives them the tiebreaker and sends them into the Fiesta Bowl.
After a slow start, Klein wound up hitting 8 of 14 passes for 184 yards and added 108 yards rushing on 23 carries. John Hubert scored three touchdowns.
Texas, which may be headed for the Cotton Bowl, led 10-7 at halftime. But with Klein hitting a 29-yard pass and Hubert breaking free for 28 yards, Kansas State soared 75 yards in seven plays, with Hubert scoring from the 2.
Hubert also had a 2-yard TD run with 47 seconds left in the third quarter and scored on a 1-yard run for a 35-17 lead with a little more than 3 minutes to go after Drew Liddle recovered Texas' muffed punt.
A few minutes later, Allen Chapman intercepted Case McCoy's pass and ran it back 35 yards, setting up Klein's 9-yard TD run for a 42-17 lead with 1:53 left.
McCoy threw a 14-yard TD pass to Jaxon Shipley in the second quarter and a 9-yard scoring pass to Malcom Brown less than 1 minute left in the game. Brown also scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter.
McCoy hit 26-of-34 passes for 314 yards, with two interceptions. He was sacked four times by a swarming Kansas State defense.
The Wildcats' lone touchdown of the first half came on a 1-yard run by Klein and after an embarrassing lapse by defensive back Nigel Malone.
With perfect timing, Malone jumped in front of McCoy's intended receiver on Texas' second possession, made the interception and sped 30 yards into the end zone. But the ball only traveled the 29. The play was initially ruled a touchdown, but upon review, it was determined Malone had let go of the ball and allowed it drop to the ground just as he was about to step across the goal line.
So it was placed on the 1 and Klein plowed into the end zone for his 21st rushing TD of the season and No. 54 for his career.
Klein was 0 for 4 in Kansas State's scoreless second quarter while McCoy was going 17 for 20 in the first half for 204 yards.
McCoy's longest pass play went for 70 yards, but almost all of that was the running of Daje Johnson right after Adrian Phillips intercepted Klein's pass in the end zone and gave the Longhorns the ball on the 20.
Klein had led an impressive drive from the Kansas State 1 to the Texas 17, converting three third-down plays. But on the first play after Phillips' pick, Johnson caught McCoy's swing pass and sprinted 70 yards before stepping out on the 10.
Kansas State's defense pushed the Longhorns back 10 yards in three plays and Nick Jordan kicked a 37-yard field goal.