The Kansas State Wildcats’ two-quarterback system of Jake Waters and Daniel Sams is the biggest storyline for Bill Snyder’s team this year. With one specializing in rushing and the other focused on airing it out, Sams and Waters are putting a fresh spin on the role of quarterback within a team.
While it’s still unclear as to whether or not the trade-off tactic will be used throughout the season, one thing is for sure, Snyder is is no hurry to designate just one guy to the job of signal-caller.
Waters has been the official starter in the Wildcats’ first three games of the season, but Sams’ playing time has been gradually increased as the year has progressed.
In Kansas State’s Week 1 loss to the FCS champion North Dakota State Bison, Sams saw action in just one play: a 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. But in Weeks 2 and 3, Sams has found his way onto the field much more in order to give the offense a spark in the running game.
In 2013, Sams has totaled 157 yards and three touchdowns on just 21 carries.
Waters will likely keep his starting job in the Wildcats’ Week 4 matchup against the Texas Longhorns, both team’s Big 12 opener. However, there is huge speculation that Sams could see the field more than he has all year against the Longhorns’ defense, which ranks 121st out of 123 in rush defense in the NCAA.
In Week 2 against the BYU Cougars, the Cougars ran for 550 yards against Texas. That included 259 yards by quarterback Taysom Hill. So it’s obvious that Snyder could use the blueprint that BYU laid out and plug in Sams against the Longhorns.
Sams has proven to be one of the most dangerous runners not just on his team, but in the entire conference in 2013. He ranks second in the Big 12 in yards per carry with 7.5.
Snyder is used to beating Texas with a running quarterback. Collin Klein, last year’s Heisman Trophy finalist, was 2-0 against the Longhorns while he was the starter in Manhattan. In last year’s regular season finale against Texas, where Kansas State secured a Big 12 title with a 42-24 win, Klein rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
However, Waters’ ability to throw the ball can’t be overlooked. Currently, he ranks second in the Big 12 in passing yardage with 673, trailing only Texas Tech’s Baker Mayfield. Waters is third in completions as well.
What stood out in Week 3 against Massachusetts though was that Waters proved he could be a mobile quarterback, too. He racked up 74 yards on the ground against the Minutemen, 61 more than he did in the previous week. That nearly matched Sams, who ran for 77 and a score.
One of the most popular sayings in football is, “If you have two quarterbacks, then you don’t have any.” However, Snyder has bucked that by proving he can successfully employ a two-quarterback system thus far.
How it works against Big 12 competition remains to be seen, but if the Wildcats’ two wins are any indication, Waters and Sams could be a dangerous two-headed monster in college football.