Kansas State sophomore quarterback Jesse Ertz is out indefinitely because of an injured knee, Wildcats football coach Bill Snyder confirmed Monday.
He is likely to miss the rest of the season.
“Jesse is going to be out for quite some time,” Snyder said during his time on the Big 12 teleconference. “We will miss him. We feel badly about the loss, and he will be there. He has been a wonderful individual for us, very representative of our value system, of our team and really developing as a leader.
“I am quite confident he will stay invested in what we are doing and will be very helpful to all of his teammates. We will move on.”
Ertz left the field after two plays during K-State’s season-opening victory over South Dakota and was unable to continue. He suffered the injury seconds into his first series when he absorbed an awkward hit on a 5-yard run to his left. He rose slowly and limped to the huddle but stayed in for one more play. Then he asked to come out of the game and needed help walking to the sideline. He was ultimately taken to the locker room in the front seat of a cart and was not seen again.
Snyder did not specify the exact nature of Ertz’s injury, but signs point to ligament damage.
Ertz has a history of knee injuries. He tore the ACL in his right knee as a high school senior and wore protective padding over it Saturday. He fought through that setback during his first season on campus and received K-State’s Red Raider Award as the scout team’s top contributor while he sat out because of a redshirt.
He then played his way to the top of K-State’s depth chart as a sophomore, winning a four-way competition for the starting quarterback job with relative ease. Snyder spoke confidently about Ertz leading up to his first start, and teammate Will Geary said he had the talent to win a Heisman Trophy.
Instead, his breakthrough season ended as quickly as it began.
Joe Hubener will start in his place Saturday when K-State heads to Texas-San Antonio for its first road game. Hubener, a junior and former walk-on, has taken an unusual path here. A native of Cheney, Kan., he did not start a single game at quarterback in high school. This will be his first start as a quarterback at any level.
Hubener played well in relief of Ertz on Saturday, completing nine of 18 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. His statistics would have been better if not for drops from his receivers. He also ran for 38 yards but lost a fumble.
“I’m sure it surprised the daylights out of him to be on the field as quickly as he was,” Snyder said. “He still has a lot left to be desired, but under the circumstances I thought he played well.”
Hubener is ready for more.
“I think this game was pretty close to a start,” Hubener said Saturday. “Obviously, that is really unfortunate what happened to Jesse. I feel bad about that, but I knew I had to step in and try and lead this offense without losing a beat. That is what I tried to do. If that is the case again next week, I will try to do the same.”