The Kansas State Wildcats offense has struggled over the course of the season without Jesse Ertz running the show. After lofty expectations, this program is looking to salvage the season and end a two game skid. Hosting the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners, that task seems to be a big ask despite playing in Manhattan, Kansas. Add to it the fact that Coach Bill Snyder said starting quarterback Jesse Ertz “will be able to play. I just don’t know exactly when it will be” and the task becomes even more daunting.
Ertz played up until facing the TCU Horned Frogs last week when Alex Delton trotted out onto the field in a starting role. Yet, the status of the Ertz remains up in the air as no one seems sure of when the kid will return to the gridiron.
With Delton under center, the Wildcats have failed to throw the ball consistently. Appearing in three games, the sophomore signal caller has attempted 34 passes. Completing 13 of those attempts, Delton averages just over 58 yards per game and has yet to throw a touchdown pass. It’s a large reason the Wildcats rank last in the Big 12 when it comes to passing yards per game.
The move has negated the receiving group led by Dalton Schoen. As a sophomore, Schoen has three touchdowns to his name while reeling in 22 yards per catch. With three players averaging 22+ yards per catch, one would think this offense would use the run to set up the pass. Clearly that has not been the case with personnel issues.
On the other hand, refusing to ask a quarterback to throw the ball time and time again limits sack opportunities for opposing defenses. Through six games, the KSU offensive line has allowed the quarterback to be sacked a total of nine times. With Delton in starting role, the offensive line surrendered just two of those sacks. The lack of production in through the air has not stopped K-State from racking up the points though.
Throughout the duration of the year, the offense has posted an average of 31.7 points per game. Any time a program finds the ability to score 30+ points, it puts the group in a position to win any football game. Unfortunately, that hasn’t exactly been the case for the Wildcats. Four times this season, KSU has eclipsed the 30-point mark yet has walked away with three wins. The effort has produced a 3-3 start to the campaign.
On the ground, Ertz has been the most productive ball carrier as well. Moving forward without him available is cause for concern. Behind him, Alex Barnes assumes the role as leading rusher. The sophomore running back averages ten carries a game. That leaves plenty of room for Delton to carry the ball out of the backfield as well. As a QB, Delton picks up 11 rushing attempts per game. Producing 187.67 yards on the ground, this is the aspect of the game where the Wildcats hope to inflict the most damage. The number of 187.67 ranks fourth in the conference.
Despite the success on the ground, there is must to be desired through the air. Knowing there’s potential for Ertz to miss 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, the passing attack will decide the outcome of every game moving forward.