MANHATTAN — Alex Delton’s time as Kansas State’s starting quarterback could be coming, perhaps sooner rather than later.
With Jesse Ertz questionable due to injury, Delton could move from backup to starter. Coach Bill Snyder indicated that Ertz could be a game-time decision, which could give Delton his first start when K-State (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) plays No. 6 TCU (5-0, 2-0) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium.
“This week I’m preparing like I prepare every week to be ready to play,” said Delton, who took over late in the third quarter of last week’s double-overtime loss at Texas when Ertz went down with an apparent knee injury.
“Last week we anticipated me possibly going in the game but you never really know. Jesse was playing well and when they called my number I was ready to go. When I got in there I had some nerves going, but after the first snap I felt fine and I was ready to go and execute our game plan.”
If Delton does start against the Horned Frogs, it would be at the expense of Ertz.
“It’s tough,” he said. “Jesse is a really good friend of mine. We have a lot of fun together off the field so it’s tough to see him get dinged up. I want the best for him and he wants the best for me and we want success for each other. We build off each other and compete every day. It’s a good relationship.
“I learned a lot from Jesse early on. He’s been like a big brother to me. We talk all the time, not just about football but about life. That relationship has helped us a lot on the field and I think it’s helped us as leaders for our offense.”
They have a common bond from the 2015 season when Ertz suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game, and the next week Delton suffered a similar fate in his true freshman season. Delton was not available the first two games this season due to injury and debuted by directing the final series of the Baylor game two weeks ago.
“I intend to play him every game, it’s just sometimes what I intend to do and what I end up doing is not always one and the same,” Snyder said.
Delton brought a spark to the Wildcat offense at Texas, rushing for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, including a TD in the first overtime.
“He made some good decisions about where to run the ball when he ran it,” Snyder said. “I thought he made some good decisions where to throw it when he threw it. In regards to getting in and out of the right plays, I thought he made good decisions with two exceptions. Two out of how many still gives him a pretty good score.”
The question about Delton is his passing ability, based only on a limited sampling. He was 2 of 5 for 30 yards against Texas, and the redshirt sophomore is 5 of 11 for 41 yards in his career.
“Alex has a strong arm and he’s accurate,” Snyder said. “He throws the ball well. For anybody that plays that position, they wouldn’t be in the position if they couldn’t throw the ball. The important thing is being able to go through the progressions and make the right decisions about where to go with the ball when you’re throwing it. He’s gotten better and better and better at that, not just this year but in his tenure here.”
Delton said he’s more concerned about executing the offense than proving his passing ability.
“I don’t know if it’s that, I like making plays,” he said. “Whether it’s my legs or my arm, anytime you can make a play regardless of how you do it is a big thing for the offense. Last week I made some big plays with my legs and the offensive line did a great job. I’m excited to make some plays with my arm and get some guys downfield.”
Delton said he is comfortable with the entire playbook, and the Wildcats will need it all against a TCU defense that is ranked No. 4 in the Big 12 in total defense (360.4 yards a game) but No. 1 against the run (104.0).
“This is my third fall here so I feel comfortable with every aspect of the offense,” Delton said. “I’ve performed everything in practice. Obviously, in games I haven’t, yet, but I feel comfortable with everything and I’m excited to try to display that.
“I just feel that we’re not executing to our full potential. We’re leaving some stuff on the field. I think the exciting part is that once things start clicking, we can be a special ballclub. That’s what motivates us and keeps us going.”
Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.