Daniel Sams threw for 391 yards and Jake Waters passed for 249 as the two ended their spring competition Saturday to replace Collin Klein as Kansas State’s quarterback.
The purple team beat the white team 76-3 and Waters and Sams each got two quarters with the first-string offense.
”We were going to make sure that they all got even opportunities, but somebody had to be the first one on the field,” coach Bill Snyder said.
Waters, a junior college transfer, started the game for the Purple team. He completed 14 of 18 passes, showing impressive precision.
Sams saw spot duty while backing up Klein in 2012, and he was the obvious choice to succeed Klein before the Wildcats signed Waters. Sams is known for his speed but also showed off a strong arm Saturday.
Tyler Lockett had 231 yards receiving.
Waters and Sams both looked capable of starting for the Wildcats. Offensive lineman Cornelius Lucas said he does not see the competition winding down any time soon.
”It’s going to be a fight to the finish,” Lucas said. ”Both guys are really competitive and they have a lot of different things they bring to the table. As of right now, they’re just both trying to get better each and every day.”
The two-hand touch tackle rule negated Sams’ ability to run and probably robbed him of a rushing touchdown or two in the game, particularly an instance in the first quarter when he was playing for the White team and broke loose for a run that could have gone much farther than the 18 yards Sams got before being tagged.
”Sometimes, the way they touch you, it wouldn’t be a tackle in real life, to me, so yeah, that part did kind of suck,” Sams said with a laugh. ”Besides that, me and Jake got to show off our throwing ability today. Just keep in mind, the QB run game wasn’t really in today, so that’s something else to worry about.”
Waters as the national junior college player of the year.
”It’s a work in progress,” Waters said. ”I’ve gotten comfortable with a lot of the stuff, but I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m getting comfortable. I started getting in a little groove today and I thought that was good.”
Tramaine Thompson added 161 yards receiving and Torell Miller made several big catches and had 108 yards.
”It’s great,” Waters said. ”For a quarterback, knowing we can throw it to them and they can take it 60 or 70 yards every time gives us a lot of confidence in them. We can give a little check down to them or a little stop right and make something happen.”
Lockett seemed to be a favorite target of both quarterbacks. He made nine receptions, and two of them went for touchdowns, including a juggling catch made on his back in the end zone. Lockett also sees the passing competition continuing well into the future.
”It might come down to fall practices,” Lockett said. ”It’s going to come down to Coach Snyder. They might separate themselves over summer time, they might have separated themselves today, or they might separate themselves in the fall.
”Whatever happens, I know it’s going to be a good experience because they’re both pushing each other to be at their best,” he added.
While the offense went wild against the team’s second-string defense, a few key players did not participate because of injuries. Center B.J. Finney, wide receiver Curry Sexton and running back John Hubert were all inactive.
With Hubert out, Robert Rose recorded 141 yards on 17 carries.
Not surprisingly given the offensive numbers, Snyder said the defense did fairly well stopping the run but struggled against the pass. Linebacker Blake Slaughter led all players with eight tackles in the game.