Monday morning during the Big 12 Conference teleconference, K-State head coach Chris Klieman announced senior quarterback Skylar Thompson is out for the season. He added updates at Tuesday’s weekly press conference.
Klieman told reporters that Thompson had surgery to repair an “upper-body injury” and would not return to play this season.
“Throughout the week they were trying to gain as much information, visit with doctors, have a bunch of different appointments,” Klieman said during Tuesday’s press conference. “At the end of the week, it became evident that the most positive thing for him long-term was going to be to shut him down and have surgery.”
That return to play did not happen, but the Wildcats ground out a 21-14 win in a defensive battle with true freshman quarterback Will Howard against TCU.
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The NCAA said this football season is a free year of eligibility because of COVID-19, opening up the door for Thompson to potentially return next season.
“I have not talked to him about [returning] at all,” Klieman said. “We’ll have a conversation like we will with every senior, and that’s something that we know has got to happen sooner rather than later.”
Quarterbacks coach Collin Klein did not offer any insight into Thompson’s possible return or what the quarterback position might look like with a potentially sixth-year Thompson in it.
“Right now, it’s about him getting healthy and us finishing the season strong and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Klein said.
In the senior’s absence, the Wildcats turn to Howard as the primary ball distributor and senior center Noah Johnson and senior tight end Briley Moore to take over as on-the-field leaders for the offense.
Klieman expects Thompson to continue to lead off the field and help Howard, the same way an injured Carson Wentz helped out Easton Stick under Klieman at North Dakota State.
“Carson was Easton’s best coach, we had a really good coach in Randy Hedberg, but Carson was with him every day helping him with the game plan,” Klieman said. “I challenged Skylar to do the same, and I know he will with Will Howard as well as Coach Klein.”
Through a little more than two games, Thompson completed 40 of 64 pass attempts for 626 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and another three touchdowns on the ground. He had the 19th best QBR in the country and his best QBR of his career to that point.
The Wildcats have a bye week this week before setting their sights on a visit from in-state rival Kansas at 11 a.m. Oct. 24 on Fox Sports One.