It’s always good when Kansas State wins, but it’s even better when that win is as dominant as the 31-3 victory over Baylor last night.
Let’s get right to it though. Is there a quarterback controversy? There shouldn’t be. Will Howard should be the starter from here on out. Playing in relief again, all Howard did was complete 70% of his passes to the tune of 196 yards and three touchdowns. Those stats don’t necessarily stand out, but Howard distributed the ball to a bunch of different receivers, avoided drive-killing sacks, read blitzes well, and most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over. You cannot ask for more from a quarterback.
There’s also the fact that Collin Klein’s offense runs better with Howard as the signal caller. Someone on Twitter compared yesterday’s game to what a boa constrictor does to its prey, and this seems like the ideal analogy. The MO for Howard-led Kansas State seems to be to build a decent lead with your suddenly quick-strike offense, and then let your swarming, suffocating defense keep the other team out of the end zone. This worked against Oklahoma State and Baylor and would have worked against TCU but for all the injuries that marred the second half of that game.
Unfortunately, that particular MO doesn’t work as well when Adrian Martinez lines up at quarterback. I have nothing against 9AM, and I think he’s fully capable of running that methodical, plodding, clock-bleeding offense that Kansas State is famous for now. But I think his recent injuries and whatever lingering trauma he has from his days at Nebraska are still hampering him to some extent. He seems a bit more tentative in the running game than he was earlier in the season, and when called on to pass, he hesitates just enough to turn a potentially good play into a play that has to be saved with his legs. The result is that the 9AM-led offense just does not put Kansas State in a position to win many games in a highly competitive Big 12.
There’s also the future to consider. Martinez was always a temporary solution, a quarterback to fill in the gaps as the program transitions fully away from the Bill Snyder era. But with only two games left in the regular season, any additional investment in Martinez’s development seems unnecessary. I understand the staff is loyal to Martinez, and that’s generally a good thing, but he’s a senior and there is no more runway. A redshirt for Howard also seems pointless, because it’s very unlikely that Kansas State will have Howard, Avery Johnson and Jake Rubley all on the roster in 2024 anyway.
If Will Howard is the future, the future is now.
The women’s basketball team notched the program’s 1000th victory with a 77-63 win over Wisconsin at the Brew City Battle in Milwaukee. The Wildcats trailed to start the second half, but scored 47 points (including 31 in the fourth quarter) to put the Badgers away.
Kansas State is one of just four schools in the country to have 1000 wins and a head coach with 600+ career wins.
Gabby Gregory led the team with 25 points followed by Serena Sundell with 17. The team combined to shoot 10 three-pointers and was nearly perfect from the free throw line.
Up next, Kansas State takes on another Big Ten opponent when Iowa comes to Bramlage on Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 PM.
The Kansas State cross country teams wrapped up the season at the NCAA Midwest Regionals in Columbia, Missouri. The men’s team equalled its performance from last year, finishing 11th overall, with senior Stephen Kielhofner finishing 22nd in the 10K race and earning All-Region honors in the process. The women finished 18th overall, with Hannah Stewart being the top Wildcat in the 6K race.