Chris Klieman showed us something on Saturday that I honestly didn’t expect.
When he called timeout with eight seconds left in the first half as KU faced a 4th and 1 from its own 25, forcing a Jayhawk punt, he proved he wants this rivalry to be NASTY.
I knew Klieman likely had what it took to be at least the second-most successful Kansas State coach in games against KU, but I didn’t expect him to just openly show how bad he wants to blow them out.
The Wildcats were already up 27-7 and were set to receive the second half kickoff. Even if the punt had been harmlessly returned for a few yards, the timeout would’ve showed that Klieman has zero interest in taking the Jayhawks lightly.
But that’s not what happened.
Phillip Brooks returned the punt for a touchdown as the half expired, extending K-State’s lead to 34-7.
Though I wasn’t questioning Klieman’s hire at ALL, this absolutely cemented my confidence that Gene Taylor did the right thing in hiring Klieman to replace Bill Snyder.
For all the disagreement and squabbling that occurred surrounding the question of who should replace Snyder when he retired after the 2018 season, I think it’s safe to say nearly every K-State fan could agree on at least one thing: the new coach HAD to know how to beat KU.
Snyder exerted unprecedented dominance over the Jayhawks in both of his tenures, winning 23 of his 27 games against them, including 11 straight times from 1993 to 2003 and his last 10 from 2009 to 2018. Before Snyder, no K-State coach had managed to beat Kansas twice since Bill Meek did it in back-to-back years in 1953-54.
Snyder was always publicly gracious and respectable to opponents, but his extra emphasis on the KU game was hardly a secret. More often than not Snyder’s Wildcats didn’t just beat the Jayhawks, they demolished them.
Klieman made a statement last season when he became the first Kansas State coach not named Bill Snyder to win more than seven games in a season since Bo McMillin in 1931. He also became the first coach not named Bill Snyder to beat Kansas since Stan Parrish did it in his first season in 1986.
Saturday, he became the first coach not named Snyder to claim back-to-back victories over the Jayhawks since the aforementioned Bill Meek. Klieman even bests Snyder — and every other coach in Kansas State football’s near 127-year history — by being the only coach to beat KU in his first two tries.
And with that timeout just before halftime, he made it perfectly clear that during his time on the K-State sidelines, he doesn’t just want to beat the Jayhawks — he wants to bury them.
Who among us doesn’t want that?