September 15, 2012
Wide receiver Tramaine Thompson caught five passes for 102 yards and two scores, and John Hubert added a touchdown on the ground for Kansas State (3-0), which struggled to put away the tougher-than-expected Mean Green in its tuneup for next Saturday's showdown with fifth-ranked Oklahoma.
North Texas (1-2) scratched and clawed its way within 14-13 late in the third quarter before Klein and Thompson hooked up for their second touchdown.
Hubert and Klein added fourth-quarter scoring runs to finally give Kansas State breathing room.
Derek Thompson was 25 of 28 for 208 yards and a late TD pass for the Mean Green, who converted the 2-point conversion to get within two touchdowns with 2:31 remaining in the game. An onside kick was recovered by the Wildcats, allowing them to run out the clock.
The Wildcats were coming off a 52-13 whipping of Miami, but looked more like the team that was tied 9-all with Missouri State in the second half of their season opener.
Using a ball-control offense devised by former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney - no stranger to matching wits with Kansas State's Bill Snyder - North Texas managed to keep Klein, Hubert and the rest of the Wildcats' potent offense standing on the sideline most of the night.
The Mean Green held their Big 12 opponent to 143 yards rushing - Kansas State entered the game sixth nationally at better than 300 per game - while holding the ball an astonishing 37 minutes, 4 seconds, which prevented the Wildcats from getting into much rhythm.
The Mean Green's Brelan Chancellor capped an 11-play, 55-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run midway through the first quarter, for the fleetest of moments hushing a sellout crowd.
They were back on their feet on the ensuing kickoff, when Lockett started up field, angled to his left and then found a seam down the sideline for his third career kick return touchdown.
The game was tied at 7 when North Texas had a promising drive end with a blocked field goal attempt. The Wildcats capitalized on the miscue, moseying downfield in five plays before Klein went over the top to Thompson, whose 38-yard touchdown catch gave Kansas State the lead.
The Mean Green had a chance to pull even on the first drive of the second half, using nearly half of the third quarter in moving 88 yards. Antoinne Jimmerson's short TD run capped the 14-play drive, but the extra point was wide right and Kansas State clung to a one-point lead.
Klein hit Thompson a few minutes later, this time from 21 yards, and Hubert and Klein tacked on TD runs in the fourth quarter that finally allowed the purple-clad Kansas State fans to relax - and start looking ahead to next weekend's showdown with the Sooners in Norman, Okla.