OPINION: Ertz will keep the Wildcats in contention this year

Then-junior quarterback Jesse Ertz runs towards the endzone during the K-State football game against Oklahoma State in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 5, 2016. (File photo by John Benfer | Collegian Media Group)

I’ve heard many people say, “Jesse Ertz is not the answer, why do we keep playing him?”

If he’s not the answer, then who is?

I think senior quarterback Jesse Ertz has not only established himself here in Manhattan, but in the Big 12 and possibly even the entire country.

Ertz threw for 333 yards on 10 receptions on Saturday and if that’s not efficiency, I’m not sure what is. He also had four touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of 319, one of the best in the first week of college football and breaking the school record at K-State.

He threw for 55- and 70-yard touchdowns in the winning effort, which gives me hope for an explosive offense this season for the Wildcats.

“Everything I threw, they ran the same distance after that,” Ertz said t K-State Sports. “We knew we had the talent and we’ve been talking about that for a while, that once we all get on the same page, once everyone comes along and develops, we were going to be deep, we were going to have a lot of people make plays, especially after the catch. We have a special group and hopefully we can be consistent with it.”

But come on, they played an FCS team at home.

I still think his line was very impressive no matter what team they would’ve played. If he can’t do this against them, he probably couldn’t do it against any team in a major conference.

I’ve also always liked that he can run the ball — he is a very versatile quarterback. This is important in an offensive-powered Big 12 Conference that is known for high scoring shootouts.

A big reason for the Wildcat offense’s explosiveness is a core group of receivers including Byron Pringle, Isaiah Harris and Dalton Schoen, who all showed their ability on Saturday.

Pringle led the team in receiving yards with 121, while Harris had 118 and Schoen finished with 70 against the University of Central Arkansas. More K-State stars will be uncovered, but when you only have to throw the ball 10 times, it’s hard to get a great read on who the playmakers will be.

The bottom line is that Ertz is our guy, the guy, and he has the chance to be a superstar at K-State. My prediction is he will be one of the best in the country this season. Is it wishful thinking? Maybe, but I stand behind him and think he is the right guy to run this offense.

Avery Osen is a graduate student in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.