Kansas State starting quarterback Skylar Thompson is officially out for the season. The unfortunate news came directly from Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman on Monday during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference.
The injury is being described as an upper-body issue that forced Thompson to have surgery.
"Skylar's done for the year," Klieman said during the call. "He had surgery last week on an upper-body injury. Unfortunately, his season is over with. But we're going to rally around Will Howard and Nick Ast."
Kansas State fans got their first taste of Howard in Week 3 against Texas Tech when the true freshman stepped up after Thompson's injury and threw for 173 yards and a score. Last week, he proved to be a dual-threat player, totaling 203 yards (117 passing, 86 rushing) and rushing for a touchdown in a 21-14 win against TCU.
His longest run was 80 yards on this quarterback draw early in the first quarter:
The Wildcats are now 3-1 (3-0 in the Big 12) on the season and are currently riding a three-game win streak following an opening game 35-31 loss to Arkansas State. Included in that win streak is a 38-35 victory over Oklahoma.
Unfortunately, Thompson was the hero in that game. He threw for 334 yards and a touchdown against the Sooners.
Now the team will turn to either Howard or Ast. Ast, a junior who has been a backup for the last couple seasons, has only attempted three passes in his career, but he's completed all three of those attempts for 28 yards. Will that be enough for him to overtake Howard?
With the bye week up next, Kansas State has the perfect opportunity to figure some of this stuff out. The best bet might be to stick with the true freshman in Howard, who should continue to get more comfortable with added reps.
That looks like it will be the case -- at least for now.
It is unfortunate to see things end prematurely for Thompson. He's an experienced quarterback who brings likable traits to the table.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.