MANHATTAN — Kansas State’s quarterback situation remains as unclear today as it did when the season began.
A 27-24 opening victory against South Dakota, in which Skylar Thompson started and then split snaps evenly with Alex Delton, did little to establish a permanent hierarchy at the position in the eyes of K-State coach Bill Snyder.
When the Wildcats take the field against the No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday, Snyder says “both of them will play a significant role and play,” the same way they did over the weekend.
“Skylar and Alex both had their positive moments and both had their negative moments,” Snyder said Monday during his time on the Big 12 teleconference. “I think, again, there wasn’t a dramatic separation between the two.”
That statement is debatable. Though Thompson was far from impressive in his sophomore debut, he had a better game than Delton.
Thompson completed 8 of 14 passes for 61 yards and a game-changing touchdown to Isaiah Zuber in the fourth quarter. Thompson also ran for 58 yards on 11 carries. It seemed like his late heroics would be enough to earn him another start, and maybe even increased playing time, against Mississippi State.
But Snyder isn’t ready to go that far.
He seems poised to keep playing Delton, despite the following stat line against South Dakota: 5 of 14 passes for 91 yards and an interception, 78 rushing yards on 12 carries. Thompson also had an interception, but it was the result of receiver Dalton Schoen bobbling a well-thrown pass. South Dakota returned Delton’s interception for a touchdown and came close to picking off two of his other throws.
Thompson was the more accurate passer.
“Skylar was able to come in and get some movement with the team in the second half of the ballgame,” Snyder said, “but realize everybody had their opportunities and we went three quarters without putting the ball into the end zone, so that’s obviously a major concern.”
On Saturday, Snyder said he was disappointed with both quarterbacks, saying they didn’t play “nearly like they have been practicing.”
“There were some decent things that they did during the course of the ball game,” Snyder said, “but they didn’t play nearly as well as I anticipated and hoped that they would.”
Neither one of them played well enough to seize control of the QB race, which has been going strong since the spring. Perhaps that will change against Mississippi State.
For now, though, it seems Thompson will need to do more to distance himself from Delton.