MANHATTAN — First Chris Klieman convinced his Kansas State Wildcats that they were worthy.

Then the Wildcats proved to the college football world that their coach was right.

On the strength of its 48-41 upset of No. 5-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday, K-State climbed back into the national rankings on Sunday, checking in at No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and No. 25 with the Amway coaches poll.

"We told them before the game we belonged on this stage and told them to continue to believe," said Klieman, whose Wildcats improved to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12 with their second straight victory. "(It was) a great program win. They earned it.

"And we have to build off it. That's the thing we finished up in (the locker room)."

It was the second appearance in the rankings this year for the Wildcats, who got to No. 24 in the AP and 22 in the coaches poll after winning at Mississippi State. Losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor then knocked them out just as quickly.

Klieman's message to his team was not to let that happen again.

"We had an opportunity to be successful because of our preparation," he said. "We attacked the process on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, and we said, we don't care what the score is, you just detail every play and give yourself and opportunity and they sure did that."

Running back James Gilbert might not have predicted the return to the rankings, but he noted that beating No. 5 on national television surely would have an impact.

"A lot of people were watching this game and this was an opportunity to prove ourselves and show the whole world that we belong here," he said.

That the Wildcats were 23 1/2-point underdogs didn't matter.

"Coach (Klieman), all he did was harp on, don't listen to the media at the end of the day," junior linebacker Elijah Sullivan said. "It's about us in the locker room and everybody that's helping us.

"You just focus on that, and at the end of the day we got the win and did what we were supposed to do."

Next up for the Wildcats is the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Lawrence. The Jayhawks also are coming off an upset victory after beating Texas Tech, 37-34, on a last-second field goal.

"Enjoy the win, but tomorrow we're definitely going to get focused and watch film and prepare for the next one," said senior safety Denzel Goolsby. "But going forward I think this really helps us a lot, just knowing the type of team we can really be."

Klieman, for all of his focus on the process, wasn't quite ready to move on Saturday night. Asked how the Wildcats proceed from here, he smiled.

"You enjoy the heck out of this one and worry about it on Monday," he said.