Kansas State University

Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz wins starting nod against Stanford

K-State quarterback Jesse Ertz prepares to fire off a pass during the 2016 spring game in Manhattan.
K-State quarterback Jesse Ertz prepares to fire off a pass during the 2016 spring game in Manhattan. The Wichita Eagle

Jesse Ertz will once again open the season as Kansas State’s starting quarterback.

K-State coach Bill Snyder announced Monday that Ertz won the job by outplaying Joe Hubener and Alex Delton over the course of preseason practices. Ertz, a junior, will take the first snap when the Wildcats line up on offense Friday at Stanford.

K-State's Bill Snyder says the Wildcats are especially young, maybe the youngest roster he has led into a season-opener as he prepares for the Wildcats' first game at Stanford Friday evening.

“He has been more consistent than the other two,” Snyder said during the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “I think both Joe and Alex have demonstrated their capabilities, it’s just the consistency part of it going into the first ballgame that is very important to us. Jesse has demonstrated that to a greater degree.”

Snyder hopes Ertz is ready to take his skills from practice to a live game.

Ertz won a similar competition last year and led K-State’s offense onto the field during the season-opener, but he hardly played. The Wildcats lost him for the year after one play, a five-yard run in which he suffered a torn ACL. Ertz spent the remainder of the season watching games from the sideline and rehabilitating his knee.

Kansas State names Jesse Ertz starting quarterback for the 2015-16 season. (Kellis Robinett/The Wichita Eagle)

Many expect big things from Ertz now that he is healthy. But he is unproven. Ertz hasn’t attempted a pass in a live game. His college playing experience has been mostly limited to runs at the end of blowouts.

That should change this week.

Stanford named Ryan Burns its starting quarterback last week over Keller Chryst, but coach David Shaw suggested the competition was so close both could play against K-State and beyond.

Snyder didn’t say whether he plans to use Hubener or Delton in addition to Ertz at quarterback against Stanford, but he has confidence in all three passers. Hubener, a senior, started 11 games last season, completing 47.6 percent of his throws for 1,837 yards and nine touchdowns while also rushing for 613 yards and 13 touchdowns. Delton missed the majority of last season with a knee injury, but he has shown flashes of athleticism in practice.

They both pushed for the top spot throughout August.

“It really did go an extended period of time,” Snyder said of K-State’s quarterback competition. “It was one of those things you can just envision. One day you say, ‘Hey, this guy lit it up today,’ and the next day it was somebody else, and the next day it was somebody else. There was that inconsistency about who, day in and day out, was at the top of the list based on his performance.

“It was very competitive. Jesse pulled himself away probably in the last four days, just being able to have a greater consistency on the field.”

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett