As K-State finishes up the fall semester this week with its finals, it seemed like a good time to dish out final grades for K-State’s season. Each day this week I will give my final evaluations for each group and also take a look at how PFF graded them for the season.
Tuesday: Running Back/Wide Receiver
Wednesday: Defensive Line/Offensive Line
Thursday: Defensive Backs/Linebackers
Friday: Special Teams
Overall, I give the quarterbacks at K-State an A- for their performance this season. There are a few simple reasons for this, with number one being the giant leap that Will Howard took this season. With questions about his future at K-State after the first two seasons, Howard responded with a breakout stretch against TCU and Oklahoma State that flipped the narrative on him quickly. And after Adrian Martinez came back, Howard was ready to step up and lead the Wildcats to a Big 12 title after an early injury in Waco for Martinez.
Adrian Martinez: B+
Martinez got off to a shaky start at K-State, with little production in the passing game after three games and a 2-1 record that had a gross Tulane loss attached to it, Martinez finally “cut it loose” against Oklahoma to start Big 12 play. In the first three games of conference play, Martinez accounted for 10 total touchdowns and led K-State to a 3-0 start in Big 12 play. Then he was injured on the first drive of the game against TCU.
Martinez returned against Texas and threw for the fourth most yards in a single game for his career, but K-State suffered their second conference loss of the season as Martinez threw his first interception of the season and fumbled twice on the final drive. Despite that Martinez got the start at Baylor, but was injured in that game as well.
I think K-State is in the same spot with Martinez at quarterback as they are with Howard and he provided what K-State needed, a talented and experienced quarterback after Skylar Thompson. The seven starts he gave for K-State before getting injured did a lot of good to buy more time for Howard who may not have looked this way if he had to start week one against South Dakota. Chris Klieman also gave plenty of credit throughout the season to Martinez for helping Howard with on-the-field and off-the-field elements. Klieman noted that a lot of the stuff Martinez experienced at Nebraska had similarities to what Howard experienced in his first two seasons at K-State and that the Nebraska transfer was able to help mentor Howard.
Will Howard: A
Will Howard was a stud for K-State this year in many different ways. He joins Ell Roberson and Collin Klein as the quarterback to win a Big 12 Championship for the Wildcats and he answered the call when thrown into the fire due to injuries sustained by Martinez. If Howard doesn’t get banged up himself early in the second half against TCU in Fort Worth, he likely leads K-State to a massive road victory.
His performance against Oklahoma State reaffirmed what was witnessed the weak prior against TCU, as he torched the Cowboy defense for 296 yards and four touchdowns. His mindset helped him stay ready two weeks later when Martinez went down against Baylor and allowed him to step up and deliver a blowout victory over the Bears.
Howard finished his regular season with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions while helping K-State win by an average of 23 points against Oklahoma State, Baylor, West Virginia, Kansas and TCU. The offense also took on a whole new field with Howard as their signal caller and provided comfort to the position heading toward 2023.
Praise and appreciation for Howard’s mindset from the time Martinez transferred to K-State to now is also needed. Howard easily could have transferred but decided to stick it out at K-State. He also could have been miffed when Martinez got the starting job back against Texas and most of all, the mindset it takes to be ready to come in and play the way he did against TCU and Baylor is impressive. Especially when you consider the thought was he would redshirt this season and if things went to plan, would not have played at all this season.
|Player||Overall Offense||Passing||Running||Snap % of 902|