STILLWATER, Okla. — Fear not, Kansas State football fans. Redshirt freshman quarterback Skylar Thompson was not seriously hobbled by the awkward tackle that briefly forced him to exit a 45-40 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday.
It might have looked bad when he fell to the ground clutching his left knee, and it definitely hurt, but he was back in the huddle after missing one series. He is looking forward to the regular-season finale against Iowa State.
“I am fine,” Thompson said after the game. “I’m not going to discuss what happened, but I will be back next week ready to go.”
That’s good news for the Wildcats, who would have been down to emergency quarterback options without Thompson, as both Alex Delton (concussion) and Jesse Ertz (knee) remain sidelined.
With Thompson, they look like a team on the rise.
Thompson played his finest game of the season against Oklahoma State, completing 10 of 13 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 93 yards and a score.
K-State players had nothing but positives for Thompson after the team’s biggest win of the year. They liked his decision-making and execution. More than anything, though, they liked his demeanor.
“I have got to go back there and get him excited,” K-State right tackle Dalton Risner said. “He is back there pointing up to the sky and thanking God and just not excited at all, and I’m like, ‘Dude, come on. It’s 42-13.’ That shows you he has got it going on, when you have got a guy who is not hooting and hollering when you are up 42-13. That tells you he was expecting to do it.”
Some wondered if he was ready to handle starting duties when he struggled throughout a 28-23 loss to West Virginia last week, but he put those concerns to rest while leading K-State to a 42-13 lead over Oklahoma State.
“There were a lot of people saying that I was all talk and overrated and this and that,” Thompson said. “It was stuff that I wasn’t paying attention to, because I knew what I was capable of doing. I just knew this was a great opportunity for me to bounce back.”
He did that and more.
His deep throws to receiver Byron Pringle (166 yards and three touchdowns) were things of beauty, and difference-makers that K-State has lacked much of the year. His play helped the Wildcats (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) clinch bowl eligibility for the eighth straight season.
“I thought Skylar did awfully well,” K-State coach Bill Snyder said. “We only threw 13 passes and still we were able to get the ball downfield. That was the important thing. So we got some big plays. We’ve had a drought with big plays.”
It was a great experience for Thompson.
To say his first college victory as a starter felt like a dream come true might be an understatement.
“I have dreamed about this my entire life,” Thompson said. “Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to play quarterback at a Division I level. Growing up watching the Missouri Tigers in the Big 12, I was aware of these teams watching Justin Blackmon and Dez Bryant and all those sorts of guys. For a while stepping out there today I was like, ‘Wow, it’s here.’ I did try not to get caught up in it too much. It’s truly a feeling I can’t describe.