The Kansas State Wildcats have struggled through the first half of the 2013 season, stumbling to a 2-4 record and remain winless in Big 12 play. Part of the problem has been a lack of identity for the team. Losing Collin Klein and nearly their entire defense left a lot of questions coming into the season and K-State didn’t find many answers during fall camp. But as they enter a bye before a favorable couple of weeks in conference play, Kansas State has an opportunity to turn things around and the key to that turnaround will be quarterback Daniel Sams.
Bill Snyder has been waffling between Sams and Jake Waters under center all season, which hasn’t helped the team find much of a rhythm offensively. Waters is clearly the better passer, completing 62.3 percent of this passes this season for 1,036 yards and four touchdowns but that hasn’t helped the team score points consistently as he’s thrown five interceptions. He’s also struggled of late, completing more than half his passes in a game just once since playing against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns on September 7.
Sams, meanwhile, isn’t a great passer and Snyder doesn’t really trust him to throw that much (evidenced by his 32 pass attempts this season). On the season, he’s gained 261 yards through the air with two touchdowns and four interceptions. His contributions in the running game, however, can’t be denied. He leads the team and is No. 3 among quarterbacks across college football with 522 rushing yards on 86 carries this season and has found the endzone seven times on the ground (including three in the near-upset of the West Virginia Mountaineers).
He provides a much needed spark for the Wildcats and could become one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12 by season’s end, even without gaudy passing stats. In the last two weeks, Sams has rushed for 317 yards and has six total touchdowns in close losses. Both games, he was splitting reps with Waters (who accounted for zero touchdowns) which prevented him the number of snaps he needed to possibly secure a win for K-State.
Coming out of the bye, the Wildcats have some easier competition. Snyder should turn this team over to Sams and let him continue making plays. If he does, Kansas State has a shot to turn their season around and become bowl eligible.