Hubener leads K-State to 30-3 win in first start
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kansas State junior Joe Hubener vowed his first career start at quarterback on any level would be just another game.
Hubener quickly learned his assumptions were wrong under the heavy pressure of UTSA’s defense and the deafening cheers of the Roadrunners’ fans at the Alamodome.
But Hubener was able to slow the game down, leading Kansas State to a 30-3 victory against UTSA on Saturday afternoon.
“I was just antsy,” Hubener said. “I was nervous all day. There were a lot of throws that I just rushed. I just need to focus on staying calm. I said I was going to treat it just like any other day and it still got me nervous.”
The Wildcats’ defense helped calm his nerves, holding the Roadrunners to 37 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Hubener had a career-high 243 yards passing, completing 12 of 23 attempts, and also rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
He is taking over for Jesse Ertz, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on the third play of the Wildcats’ opener last week.
Hubener began his career at Kansas State as a walk-on before earning a scholarship prior to last season, when he served as the team’s primary backup quarterback.
“Being a walk-on, you play with a chip on your shoulder,” Hubener said. “You have always got something to prove. It’s totally fine that I’m always going to be a ‘walk on.’ ”
That’s how he attempted to play, but UTSA’s defense flustered Hubener early by sending multiple defenders at him. The 6-foot-5 junior frantically called for a hurried snap early in the opening drive and was forced to call timeout on the same possession to prevent a delay. Hubener walked out of the pocket shaking his head following that timeout as Kansas State running back Charles Jones tapped his thumb and fingers together to mimic talking.
“I was very surprised, I didn’t expect it to be quite that loud,” Hubener said. “I think they said 40,000, (29,000 actually). Twenty-nine? Wow, they were a loud 29,000. We had to go on center snap count the whole game, so they were very loud.”
Hubener settled in after the initial drive, guiding the Wildcats (2-0) to three straight scoring drives to open the second half.
Kansas State amassed 418 total yards, helping keep UTSA’s explosive offense off the field.
“I thought he made some good decisions in regards to what he got into and out of,” Wildcats coach Bill Snyder said. “He handled the running game well. He handled his part of the running game well. Overall, he did some good things, but we still have some growth in some aspects of the passing game.”
Kansas State’s defense struggled early, too, before stifling UTSA’s frenetic offense.
The Roadrunners (0-2) marched 41 yards on six plays to open the game before incurring consecutive false start penalties. The break allowed Kansas State to catch their breath and gain their bearing against the no-huddle offense. UTSA settled for a 51-yard field goal from Daniel Portillo.
Coming off a 42-32 loss to No. 22 Arizona in which they gained 525 total yards on 95 plays, UTSA was limited to 229 yards on 62 plays by Kansas State.
“Just get three and outs,” Wildcats linebacker Elijah Lee said. “A big emphasis is whenever you get a team three and outs, they have to start slowing down and they can’t run as many plays as they are used to.”
The victory snapped Kansas State’s seven-game losing streak at indoor facilities. The Wildcats’ last victory indoors was 1993 against Minnesota in the now-defunct Metrodome.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org