4 reasons why Texas football can dominate K-State in Manhattan

Bijan Robinson, Texas Football (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Bijan Robinson, Texas Football (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /
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Adrian Martinez Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Adrian Martinez Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Adrian Martinez might start this game, despite Will Howard’s recent success

I mentioned the looming quarterback decision that Klieman and the Wildcats have to make this week.

Kansas State will have to decide if it wants to officially burn the redshirt of Howard this season and let him continue to ride his hot streak heading into the November slate. Against Oklahoma State last week, Howard hit the four-game maximum that the NCAA allows to preserve a redshirt year.

Howard looked great for Kansas State when he took over for Martinez due to a lower-body injury he suffered early in an eventual loss to the TCU Horned Frogs on the road on Oct. 22.

Yet, Kansas State might want to preserve Howard’s redshirt and let Martinez take back the starting reigns for the offense from here on out. That would obviously hinge on Martinez’s injury status.

If Martinez is healthy enough to go this weekend against the Longhorns, that will make for an interesting quarterback decision for Klieman and his staff.

Moreover, most Texas fans probably are of the mindset that the unknown surrounding Kansas State’s quarterback situation won’t work in their favor. Texas tends to not play too well this season against backup quarterbacks (i.e. when the Horns lost to Donovan Smith and Texas Tech on Sep. 24). On top of that, Texas also struggles against dual-threat quarterbacks this season.

I might sound like a contrarian here, but there are a few reasons why I believe the uncertainty surrounding Kansas State’s quarterback situation is more beneficial to Texas than most fans might presume.

First and foremost, the very possibility that Kansas State could start Martinez over Howard this weekend is something that benefits Texas. Kansas State’s offense is clearly looking better with Howard starting at QB than Martinez. In the last two games, Howard has registered 3.7 points per drive as Kansas State’s QB.

On every other drive this season where Howard wasn’t the quarterback for the offense, Kansas State has 2.1 points per drive. That’s a stark contrast.

If you want proof of how large that margin in points per drive between Howard in the last two games compared to the other quarterbacks for K-State in the prior six games of the season, let’s take a look at the difference in this metric for Texas quarterbacks.

There is less than a 0.5-point differential in the points per drive that Texas has this season between Quinn Ewers and Hudson Card.

To sum this up, if most other Power Five teams found themselves in this quarterback situation like Kansas State is in right now with a hot backup, those teams would ride the hot hand. But Kansas State could be playing the long game by potentially trying to preserve his redshirt for the rest of this season.

The biggest reason why I believe that Texas isn’t in a bad situation if Howard is the starting quarterback this weekend is the fact that this team is coming off a bye week. Co-DC/LB coach Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns had an extra week to prepare for what Kansas State could bring to the table on the offense with either Martinez or Howard as the starting quarterback.

Texas’ defense knows what it has to do to limit the balanced offensive attack that Kansas State brings to the table if Howard is the starter this weekend. And if Martinez is the starter, then his dual-threat ability will likely be limited by the lower-body injury he suffered in the loss to TCU.

Kansas State isn’t going to be able to catch Texas’ defense off-guard with the uncertainty at quarterback like it did Oklahoma State’s defense last weekend.