Coming off arguably the worst game of Skylar Thompson’s Kansas State football career, coach Chris Klieman had a meeting with his quarterback in Manhattan.
Thompson finished with 118 passing yards in the 26-13 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday night. He completed 47.8% of his passes on 23 attempts, the lowest rate of his career in a game he attempted at least 20 passes.
He threw for 16 yards in the first quarter and nine in the third. From 5:35 left in the second quarter to 2:00 left on the clock in the third, K-State didn’t complete a pass.
Thompson is 2-4 in his K-State career when he completes under 60% of his passes with more than 15 attempts. But Saturday’s loss wasn’t for a lack of effort, Klieman told Thompson in the meeting. Thompson went 5-of-7 for 46 yards in the fourth quarter.
“(Thompson) took it hard, just like I took it hard, just like everybody that cares takes it hard,” Klieman said. “I told him yesterday how proud I was the way he competed. He never gave in. He never got down. He never got discouraged. Even if he did, he didn’t show it.”
Since Klieman took over, he has already seen the good and bad of Thompson. Their investment in each other has been well-documented, and Thompson said the meeting was important to him.
“It was a good, heartfelt conversation,” Thompson said. “We’re on the same page, myself and the rest of this team with him. Obviously it was a tough loss, but the energy and spirit in our team, nothing has changed.”
Thompson has been solid in games following an ugly one. In his career, he has completed 50% or worse in four games outside of Saturday. In the next game, he averages 65.4%.
Thompson was missing his No. 1 receiver, Malik Knowles, in the OSU game, which undoubtedly had an impact, but the Wildcats must find a way around it. Klieman said Knowles’ injury will be treated week-to-week.
The K-State offense will get a lot of the same looks this week against Baylor at home. Both defenses run a lot of three-man fronts on the defensive line, and both have shown success stopping the run.
Klieman said a lot of the Monday meeting was about schematics to free up some of the receivers. The Wildcats had 126 rushing yards on the Cowboys’ defense. If that number stays low, the solution is obvious.
“At the end of the day, we got to get open, and I got to make the right reads and get them the ball,” Thompson said. “... I’ve got to be disciplined through my progressions and hang in there and make a good throw.”
Thompson said he remembers a lot of last year’s Baylor game. With Alex Delton out, Thompson had the game on his shoulders. He threw for a touchdown and 146 yards, but two interceptions and a missed throw to Alex Barnes stood out, he said. K-State lost 37-34.
Thompson said it was one of the hardest losses for him last year. He felt he left a lot of the field. The same was said about Saturday’s OSU loss.
“I think it definitely woke some people up,” Thompson said. “We’re not invincible. ... But everything is completely fixable. It’s not terminal.”