MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The final touchdown pass drew only a slight fist pump from Collin Klein. It was still the third quarter, but Milan-Puskar Stadium was half-empty. Most of the West Virginia fans had seen enough of a game that had turned into a Heisman Trophy campaign ad for the Kansas State quarterback.

Klein threw for a career-high 323 yards and three touchdowns and ran for four scores as No. 4 Kansas State got little resistance from No. 17 West Virginia in a 55-14 victory Saturday night.

The Wildcats (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) made it look easy. Klein completed 19 of 21 passes and added 41 yards rushing.

"I think we all felt comfortable tonight," he said. "The coaches did a great job of building a game plan and putting us in positions to succeed."

No doubt. The Wildcats scored on their first eight possessions, including seven straight touchdowns.

"He doesn't do anything wrong," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said of Klein. "He's hard to tackle. He gets them in good plays. He doesn't turn the ball over. You can say what you want to about the throwing motion, but it goes exactly where he wants it go. He's a good football player."

Way too good for West Virginia to stop.

It was no surprise the Mountaineers (5-2, 2-2) were awful on defense – it's been that way all season. For the second straight game, though, Geno Smith and the offense did nothing to keep it close.

Smith followed up a clunker at Texas Tech last week with an even worse game, throwing his first two interceptions of the season and finishing 21 of 32 for 143 yards. The senior has gone from Heisman Trophy front-runner to long shot in two weeks.

"We talked about it all week. Don't get impatient. Don't get impatient," Holgorsen said. "You have the ball a couple of times and you look up there and you're down 17 points and you start pressing. It's inevitable.

"We're trying to score 14 points in one play."

Kansas State made it 52-7 with 2:25 left in the third quarter when Klein hit Tyler Lockett over the middle for a 20-yard score. Klein turned toward his sideline and gave a modest shake of his fist before joining his teammates to celebrate. It was the fourth time this season the Wildcats had scored in the 50s.

By that point a long line of cars was creeping out of the parking lot. The only section of the stadium that was still filled was covered in KSU purple.

"I was certainly pleased with the way that our youngsters approached the ballgame, the preparation for the game and how they traveled," said Bill Snyder, whose remarkable 21-year, two-act career as Kansas State coach is only missing a national championship. "I was proud of how they kept their focus. We played great."

The optimism and excitement that was pumping through Morgantown a couple of weeks ago is gone.

In Manhattan, Kan., it's all good, and everything is on the table for Snyder's team. The Wildcats are the only unbeaten squad in the Big 12. Their quarterback is the Heisman front-runner. And with five games left on the schedule, the Wildcats are serious national title contenders.

The first meeting since 1931 of the new Big 12 rivals was so lopsided that by the time it was over it was hard to even remember that it started as a battle for first place in the conference.

On one side was Klein, aka Optimus Klein, the Wildcats' methodical battering ram, whose passes don't look like much, but usually find their target.

On the other side was Smith, the future NFL first-round draft pick with the video game passing statistics.

But Klein got to face West Virginia's beleaguered defense, which ranks near the bottom of the Big 12 and the country in just about every statistic.

With the Mountaineers seemingly determined to at least stop the run early, Klein completed his first seven passes, including a 10-yard touchdown that Lockett made a stretching, toe-dragging catch on in the back corner of the end zone. That made it 10-0 in the first.

The K-State running game went to work on the third drive and Klein finished it off with a 1-yard plunge.

Klein made it 24-0 on the next Kansas State drive, taking an option keeper 8 yards. That gave him 39 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons to break an FBS record held by Eric Crouch of Nebraska and Stacey Robinson of Northern Illinois.

Tavon Austin finally put a little life back into the sellout crowd when he took the ensuing kickoff back 100 yards for a score with 4:12 left in the first half.

The bad news for West Virginia was that it gave the Wildcats more than enough time to get the ball back in the end zone – which they did with another 1-yard dive by Klein.

The first-half onslaught went like this for Kansas State: five possessions, 346 yards, four touchdowns and a field goal. The offense was unstoppable and the defense was just as good, holding Smith to 62 yards by flooding the secondary with defenders and getting a pass rush without blitzing much.

"I thought our defense played well and played aggressive and pursued the ball," Snyder said. "We had a relentless pass rush and we got our hands on Geno Smith."

Maybe the pressure of having to score every time he touches the ball has gotten to Smith, too. That trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation, which seemed like a lock after the Mountaineers won at Texas, is now in serious doubt.

"This is about as low as it gets," Smith said.

As for Klein and the Wildcats, they will face tougher tests. The gap between the top and the bottom of the Big 12 doesn't seem all that wide. But they have now won three conference road games, including at Oklahoma. They came into the weekend fourth in the BCS standings, behind Alabama, Florida and Oregon.

With their 73-year-old coach pushing all the right buttons and their happily married quarterback making all the right plays, the Wildcats might be due for a promotion.

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphdrussoAP

Loading Slideshow...
  • Braxton Miller

    Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller lies injured on the ground after being tackled by a Purdue player during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Purdue 29-22 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

  • Rushel Shell, Adam Redden, Drek Brim

    Pittsburgh's Rushel Shell (4) breaks away from Buffalo's Adam Redden (29) and Derek Brim (15) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Amherst, N.Y., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

  • Eric Ward, Kevin White

    Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Ward catches a touchdown pass against TCU cornerback Kevin White (25) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Ibraheim Campbell, Jamal Turner

    Northwestern defensive back Ibraheim Campbell (24) breaks up a pass intended for Nebraska wide receiver Jamal Turner (10) in the end zone during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Miles

    Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins (3) goes airborne after assisting on a tackle on South Carolina's Kenny Miles (31) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • Perry Hills, Dontae Johnson, Brandon Pittman

    Maryland quarterback Perry Hills (11) looks to pass against North Carolina State safety Dontae Johnson (25) and linebacker Brandon Pittman, back left, during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Andrew Maxwell, Jake Ryan

    Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell (10) is sacked by Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan (47) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

  • Chris Johnson, Justice Cunningham

    Florida's Chris Johnson, left, runs the ball to the 1-yard line in front of South Carolina's Justice Cunningham, right, after recovering a fumble on a kickoff during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • Jeremy Reeves, Durrell Givens, Joseph Randle

    Iowa State defensive back Jeremy Reeves (5) watches as teammate and and fellow back Durrell Givens (24) leaps on to the back of Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle (1) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Randle ran for two touchdowns and 150 yards in Oklahoma State's 31-10 win. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

  • Jeff Greene, Sean Sylvia

    A pass intended for Georgia Tech wide receiver Jeff Greene, right, is broken up by Boston College defensive back Sean Sylvia during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  • Jerrell Gavins, Eric Johnson

    Boise State's Jerrell Gavins (4) makes an interception in the end zone against UNLV's Eric Johnson (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)

  • Quinton Dunbar, Jimmy Legree

    Florida's Quinton Dunbar (1) breaks away from South Carolina cornerback Jimmy Legree (15) on a 13-yard touchdown pass play during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, center, runs in into the end zone past California defensive back Josh Hill (23) on a 20-yard touchdown catch during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Zeke Motta, Ross Apo

    Brigham Young wide receiver Ross Apo (1) is knocked out of bounds at the 2-yard line by Notre Dame safety Zeke Motta during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Trevone Boykin

    TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Seth Doege, Alfredo Morales, Chucky Hunter

    Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege (7) passes as teammate Alfredo Morales (56) blocks TCU defensive tackle Chucky Hunter (96) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Darrin Moore, Kevin White

    Texas Tech wide receiver Darrin Moore (14) pulls in a touchdown pass against TCU cornerback Kevin White (25) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

  • Kyle Flood, Norries Wilson

    Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood, right, congratulates running backs coach Norries Wilson, left, late in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Temple, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Philadelphia. Rutgers won 35-10. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Taylor Martinez, Chi Chi Ariguzo

    Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez (3) escapes a safety by Northwestern linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo (44) with an incomplete shovel pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Levine Toilolo, Michael Lowe

    Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo, top, catches a nine-yard touchdown pass in front of California defensive back Michael Lowe during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor (33) runs against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Matthias Farley, Sheldon Day, Jamaal Williams

    BYU running back Jamaal Williams (21) is knocked out-of-bounds after a 21-yard gain by Notre Dame safety Matthias Farley, right, and defensive end Sheldon Day during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Thomas Gordon, Bennis Fowler

    Michigan State wide receiver Bennie Fowler is upended by Michigan safety Thomas Gordon (30) after a 45-yard pass reception during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game at Michigan Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Jace Davis, Donovan Henley

    Northern Colorado wide receiver Jace Davis, left, pulls in a pass for a touchdown in front of Idaho State cornerback Donovan Henley during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Greeley, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Savon Huggins, Chris Hutton

    Rutgers running back Savon Huggins (28) runs with the ball as Temple defensive back Chris Hutton (28) tries to make a tackle during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Philadelphia. Rutgers won 35-10. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Denard Robinson

    Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (16) throws during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Michigan State at Michigan Stadium, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • J.W. Walsh, Daniel Koenig

    Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh, left, celebrates his touchdown with lineman Daniel Koenig, right, during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Oklahoma State won 31-10. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

  • Clint Moseley

    Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley (15) throws a pass against Vanderbilt in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Joe Howell)

  • James White, Montee Ball

    Wisconsin's James White (20) and Montee Ball celebrate Ball's touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Minnesota Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Madison, Wis. White had 3 touchdowns and Ball had 2 touchdowns in Wisconsin's 38-13 win. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

  • WILLIAMS

    Texas A&M running back Trey Williams (20) runs 76-yards after receiving a kickoff against LSU during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in College Station, Texas. LSU won 24-19. (AP Photo/Eric Kayne)

  • Ryan Groy, Kyle Costigan, James White

    Wisconsin's Ryan Groy, left, and Kyle Costigan celebrate with James White after White's 34-yard touchdown run against Minnesota during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Madison, Wis. White had 3 touchdown and 175 yards rushing in Wisconsin's 38-13 win. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

  • WILLIAMS

    Texas A&M running back Trey Williams (20) runs 76-yards after receiving a kickoff against LSU during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in College Station, Texas. LSU won 24-19. (AP Photo/Eric Kayne)

  • Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) throws against LSU during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in College Station, Texas. LSU won 24-19. (AP Photo/Eric Kayne)

  • Jerry Kill

    Minnesota coach Jerry Kill disputes a call during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 38-13. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

  • Bret Bielema

    Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema embraces Montee Ball after he scored a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 38-13. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

  • D.C. Jefferson

    Rutgers tight end D.C. Jefferson (10) catches a pass for a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Temple, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Philadelphia. Rutgers won 35-10. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Jeff Heuerman

    Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman celebrates his two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Purdue, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State 29-22 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

  • Kevin Johnson, Darius Jennings

    Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson (9) is tackled by Virginia wide receiver Darius Jennings (6) after grabbing an interception during the second half of an NCAA college football game at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Wake Forest won the game 16-10. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

  • D.C. Jefferson

    Rutgers tight end D.C. Jefferson (10) is swarmed by Temple defenders during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Philadelphia. Rutgers won 35-10. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • James Franklin

    Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin celebrates a 17-13 victory over Auburn with his daughter Shola Franklin, 5, following an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Joe Howell)

  • D'Metrius Williams, John Pettigrew

    Bowling Green running back John Pettigrew carries the ball as Massachusetts defensive back D'Metrius Williams (13) defends in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Bowling Green won 24-0. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • Travis Howard

    Ohio State cornerback Travis Howard celebrates their 29-22 overtime win over Purdue in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

  • Paul Freedman

    Virginia tight end Paul Freedman (88) hangs his head during the final moments of his teams 16-10 loss to Wake Forest in an NCAA college football game at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

  • J.W. Walsh, Jansen Watson

    Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh, left, escapes from Iowa State defensive back, Jansen Watson, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla. Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Walsh accounted for 46 yards rushing and one of the Oklahoma State touchdowns in the 31-10 win over Iowa State. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

  • Durrell Givens, Jeremiah George, Jacques Washington, Josh Stewart

    Iowa State defenders Durrell Givens (24), Jeremiah George (52), and Jacques Washington (10), pressure Oklahoma State receiver, Josh Stewart (5), as he leaps out-of-bounds while attempting to score during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla. Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Oklahoma State won 31-10. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)

  • J.C. Coleman, Jonathan Meeks

    Clemson's Jonathan Meeks (5) scores a touchdown after making an interception as Virginia Tech's J.C. Coleman defends during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

  • Florida fans with body paint spell out the name of Florida head coach Will Muschamp as they cheer during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • Marken Michel, BooBoo Gates

    Bowling Green defensive back BooBoo Gates (24) intercepts a pass intended for Massachusetts wide receiver Marken Michel (4) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. Bowling Green won 24-0. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • Tajh Boyd

    Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, top, jumps over the line trying to score a touchdown against Virginia Tech during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Clemson, S.C. Boyd did not score on the play. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)