In less than a week, Skylar Thompson's senior season went from an emotional high with a victory at No. 3-ranked Oklahoma to the devastation of having it all come crashing down.


It turns out that the injury Thompson, Kansas State's senior quarterback, suffered against Texas Tech on Oct. 3 was more serious than first thought.


"Skylar is going to be done for the year," K-State coach Chris Klieman said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. "He had surgery last week on an upper body injury, so unfortunately his season is over with.


"But we're going to rally around Will Howard and Nick Ast."


Howard, a true freshman, took over when Thompson went down halfway through the second quarter of the Texas Tech game and helped rally the Wildcats to a 31-21 victory. He then started last Saturday at TCU, and K-State won again, 21-14, to improve to 3-1 overall, 3-0 in the Big 12.


"I thought Will played really well, especially for a first game against a Gary Patterson-coached defense," Klieman said. "That's not easy to handle, and I thought he handled it well.


"I know he'll benefit from the experience and obviously this week off comes at a great time because it allows us to get a few of our backup quarterbacks a lot more (repetitions)."


The Wildcats have a bye week before playing host to Kansas on Oct. 24. Kickoff for that game will be 11 a.m. at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and will be televised by FS1.


Though Howard acquitted himself in the past two games, it will be difficult to replace Thompson's experience and leadership as a third-year starter and team captain.


"It was difficult, obviously, when you have a senior captain that goes down," Klieman said of the team's reaction. "I think (Thompson) has handled it well.


"I visited with him — I haven't seen him but I have visited with him."


Sadly, Klieman said, losing key players to injury is a reality.


"The guys have seen this with different players. It's hard," he said. "The guys saw (linebacker) Justin Hughes go down last year and there's other players just like that have gone down and that's the worst part of this game.


"I think when the (Dallas) Cowboys lost their quarterback yesterday, those things are so emotional because everybody knows the amount of time and effort that guys put in to have an opportunity to play this great game. You just know it can be taken away from you at any time."


Thompson, who led the Wildcats to an 8-5 record last year as a junior, played arguably his best game at Oklahoma, passing for a career-high 334 yards and a touchdown, plus rushing for three more scores. The Wildcats were in the middle of a 97-yard drive, leading Texas Tech 7-0, when Thompson took a late from Red Raiders linebacker Riko Jeffers, who was ejected for targeting on the play.


Howard came on and completed the drive, and also led the Wildcats to two fourth-quarter touchdowns after Tech had gone up 21-17.


In two-plus games, Thompson completed 62.5% of his passes for 626 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. He also rushed for three touchdowns.


Howard's numbers were a bit more pedestrian in his first start — 8 of 19 passing for 117 yards, 86 yards and a touchdown rushing — but Klieman was more interested in the final outcome.


"Well, we won the game, and that's the most important stat we have," he said. "I think he'll grow and learn from it."


Howard said after the game that he learned late in the week that he would start against TCU.


"I was told a couple of days ago and I just kind of rolled with it," he said. "I was prepared, so we had some time to get some chemistry going."


In assessing his performance, Howard echoed Klieman in putting the victory first.


"It was far from perfect, but we got it done, we did what we came here to do and I'm excited about that," Howard said. "And it's a lot better to learn from a win than to learn from a loss, and there's a lot to learn from here.


"We've got a bye week now and we're just going to continue to push through and recover a little bit this week and then kind of get back into things next week."


Tight end Briley Moore already was impressed with Howard's performance against Texas Tech, and the TCU game did nothing to change his mind.


"He's amazing. His composure in the huddle is really what we expected," he said. "But to think about that after, talking coach Klieman, a true freshman (in his) first start like that, to have that composure, get settled in, it's an amazing thing and it gives the team confidence that no matter what the situation is, we're going to have a chance to win every game."


In his three games, including a brief appearance in the season opener, Howard has completed 50% of his passes for 314 yards and a touchdown with one interception.


"There's some things that I know he's going to do better," Klieman said. "There's some things we need to do better around him at all the positions, from (offensive) line to running back wide receiver, tight end, that everybody can probably (do) a little bit better to help Will, so that Will doesn't have to shoulder the load that a guy like Skylar is used to shouldering."


K-State's Parker, Howard receive Big 12 honors


Kansas State defensive back AJ Parker, whose interception provided the winning margin in the Wildcats' victory over TCU on Saturday, has been named Big 12 defensive player of the week.


True freshman Will Howard also was honored as newcomer of the week.


Parker, a senior, returned his third-quarter interception 37 yards for a touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 21-7 lead on the way to their 21-14 victory. He also had five tackles in the game.


Howard, who stepped in for injured starter Skylar Thompson, became the first true freshman quarterback in school history to win his first career road start. He completed 8 of 19 passes for 117 yards and rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown. His 80-yard run in the first quarter set up a field goal.