Three thoughts from Kansas State’s 34-0 victory over South Dakota:
1. Fearing the worst for Jesse Ertz
Kansas State has not, and likely will not, issue an official health update on starting quarterback Jesse Ertz, but some within the program fear the worst.
Ertz has a history of knee injuries. He tore his ACL as a high school senior and appeared to suffer another blow to his knees during his first college start Saturday. While running to his left on his first play of the game, he fell awkwardly and began to limp. He needed help off the field and then required a cart to take him to the locker room for treatment.
Those who saw Ertz on the sideline in those moments said he was distraught about the setback. Others who saw Ertz after the game said he was still noticeably upset. Not the way most players react to news of a minor injury.
“I feel dramatically bad for him,” Snyder said. “We will see how it plays out. I have no idea right now, but anytime anybody gets hurt, they work so hard and for it to take them out of a game you work so hard for to play, our prayers will be with him. Hopefully it is something where he can get back on his feet real quick.”
That seems unlikely, but K-State quarterbacks have a long history of playing hurt. Grant Gregory, Collin Klein and Jake Waters are among the recent quarterbacks that have played despite sitting out weeks of practice with significant injuries. So it is hard to predict exactly what any kind of injury, even a major one, will do to Ertz’s playing status.
Still, odds point to Joe Hubener starting at quarterback when K-State heads to Texas-San Antonio next week, and possibly beyond.
2. Danzel McDaniel expected to make quick return
Danzel McDaniel missed the entirety of K-State’s opener for undisclosed reasons. He watched the game on the sidelines in full uniform minus a helmet.
Snyder didn’t address McDaniel during his postgame news conference, but sources say the senior corner is expected to play next week. The sources did not explain why McDaniel missed Saturday’s game, but they said the absence was not injury related.
Nate Jackson filled in admirably for McDaniel on Saturday, but K-State should have its hard-hitting corner back for its first road game.
3. Justin Silmon is K-State’s best running back
I say that after watching the redshirt freshman run the ball just six times, but that is all I needed to see.
Silmon ran hard, and, best of all, straight forward. Too often, K-State running backs dance around without actually gaining yardage, but Silmon showed burst and power. He stormed ahead for an 18 yard gain. He averaged 8.5 yards per carry, totaling 51 yards on six touches. It was a strong debut.
Question is: Why isn’t he starting instead of Charles Jones? I assume the answer is experience. Jones led K-State in rushing last year and scored loads of touchdowns early in the season. It’s hard to ask that type of player to take a backseat to an unproven freshman. But Silmon appeared superior Saturday.
It’s also worth noting that fullbacks Winston Dimel and Glenn Gronkowski showed off their running skills, especially Dimel. He scored two touchdowns near the goal line. The Wildcats have many rushing options, but Silmon tops them.