No. 22 Kansas State has lost its starting quarterback to a season-ending injury.
Chris Klieman, K-State’s second-year head coach, announced on the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday that Skylar Thompson had surgery for “an upper-body injury” last week and will be unable to return to the field this season.
Thompson, a senior captain with 30 career starts under his belt, was injured in the Wildcats’ win over Texas Tech on Oct. 3. Thompson went down in the first half and was wearing a sling on his throwing arm on the sideline in the second half.
It’s a big loss for Kansas State as Thompson has started games in each of the last four seasons. Thompson redshirted in 2016 before starting four games as a redshirt freshman in 2017. From then on, Thompson was the team’s top quarterback. He started 10 games in 2018 and all 13 games in 2019, Klieman’s first with the program replacing the legendary Bill Snyder.
Overall, Thompson has thrown for 5,021 yards, 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his Kansas State career. He also has 1,083 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground.
Thompson could return in 2021 if he wants. In August, the NCAA approved giving all fall sport athletes “an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it” via a blanket waiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ordinarily, college athletes have five years to complete four seasons of competition. Now, athletes in fall sports will have six years to play five.
Freshman Will Howard takes over as starting QB
In Thompson’s absence, freshman Will Howard played the second half against Texas Tech and threw for 173 yards in the win. Howard started for the Wildcats on Saturday in a 21-14 upset win on the road against TCU.
Howard was just 8-of-19 for 117 yards passing, but rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown. His biggest play of the game was an 80-yard run in the first quarter.
Howard will start moving forward with junior Nick Ast next in line on the depth chart, Klieman said. Ast was the team’s No. 2 quarterback in 2019. He appeared in five games and completed all three of his passing attempts for 28 yards.
At 3-1 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play, Kansas State is tied for first place in the conference standings alongside No. 22 Iowa State. Oklahoma State is the third team without a loss in conference play. The Cowboys are 3-0 (2-0 Big 12) and ranked No. 7 in the country.
Kansas State has a bye this week before returning to action against Kansas at home on Oct. 24.
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