Thompson: ‘I’ve got to get better’

October 8, 2018

WACO, Texas — Skylar Thompson was left wanting more Saturday.

Namely, a victory. Instead, Kansas State’s starting quarterback took the 37-34 loss to Baylor at McLane Stadium to heart. In his mind, he shouldered a good bit of blame for the loss, which dropped the Wildcats to 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the Big 12.

All you need to do, he said, is look at the mistakes he made.

He threw two interceptions, tying a career high.

On the first, which came at the beginning of the second quarter, he tried to hit Dalton Schoen streaking down the middle of the field. The problem: Jairon McVea stopped the ball before it ever got there.

“I saw the action,” said Thompson, who finished 15-for-26 for 149 yards and a touchdown. “I got kind of hit as I threw the ball a little bit, but I threw the ball a little too far inside, (more) than I was hoping to do, because Schoen was going up the seam and I missed a little bit.”

The second pickoff was even more damaging to K-State’s chances at a road win.

Tied at 27-all midway through the fourth quarter. Thompson again looked in Schoen’s direction, this time down the right sideline. But he threw into triple coverage, ending in an interception by Baylor safety Christian Morgan. Four plays later, the Bears were in the end zone, moving ahead 34-27.

In hindsight, Thompson said he should have checked down to another receiver.

“It was an inside fade, rub-route kind of thing and I had a secondary option that I should have thrown to,” he said. “But it’s another thing where I have to get more disciplined with my progressions and continue to just get better.”

And one other throw, which wasn’t intercepted, loomed every bit as largely in the final result. In the third quarter, K-State was 19 yards away from the goal line on a second-and-6. Running back Alex Barnes broke free out of the back field, with no Baylor defender in sight toward the right corner of the end zone.

But Thompson lofted it too far.

The drive ended in a missed field goal by Nick McLellan, and a missed opportunity for the Wildcats.

“I own up to the throw to Alex in the end zone,” Thompson said. “He was just so wide open I rushed it and missed. It’s definitely a throw I wish I could have back, but we’ve got to take it as it is and get better and not make the same mistake twice.”

Thompson said even his most noteworthy play Saturday was a mistake of sorts: on his 52-yard touchdown run in the final period, which gave K-State a (momentary) 27-20 lead, wasn’t by design. Originally a passing play, Thompson said he “had a guy open in the flat.”

But he “kind of got antsy” in the pocket.

Seeing daylight out of the corner of his eye, he took off.

“I just tucked it and got through there and got loose,” he said. “I saw nothing but me and the end zone, so I tried to kick it in gear and get there.”

Though Thompson was down on himself, Bill Snyder took a more measured view of the signal-caller’s performance Saturday. Obviously, Snyder said, Thompson would “like to have some snaps back.”

At the same time, “he did some good things” as well.

“I think he played OK,” said Snyder, in his 27th season as K-State’s head coach. “Could have played better, but (he) did some very, very fine things in certain situations. Led some drives, did a nice job with a couple of drives, particularly two that we had early in the ballgame. He had a few throws that were just a couple yards short, (or) maybe you have a play.”

Not that it lifted Thompson’s spirits.

“I didn’t play well,” he said. “I’ve got to get better.”

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