Ben Sinnott had something important to say after Kansas State suffered a heartbreaking 33-30 loss against Texas on Saturday.
Not about the game that had just slipped away from the Wildcats. Not about himself. He wanted to talk about his quarterback.
That would be Will Howard, who had a career day by throwing for 327 yards and four touchdowns against the Longhorns. After a dismal start to the day, Howard started making one big play after the next, and K-State battled back from a 17-0 deficit and nearly pulled off one of the most memorable comebacks in school history.
Sinnott wanted to make sure Howard received proper credit afterward.
“Will started balling,” Sinnott said. “and I want to kind of say something about that. I’m sick and tired of all you guys, all the media and all the fans, doubting that kid. He’s a warrior, man. He’s the hardest worker I know. And if I hear one more bad thing about him, if I hear one more thing about how he’s not our starting quarterback, it’s going to really piss me off.
“I’m sick and tired of watching this kid work his ass off. Sorry, excuse my language. You all talk bad about him. The fans have something to say. That kid is a leader. He’s a warrior, and I’m sick and tired of hearing about it. So if y’all could just stop that, thanks.”
Sinnott stood up for his quarterback after he endured some criticism in recent weeks while he split snaps with freshman Avery Johnson.
Even though Howard has started every game this season and led the Wildcats to six victories, there are some who would rather Johnson see more action at quarterback.
There is nothing wrong with that, but Sinnott would rather see more support for Howard. After all, he did lead K-State to a Big 12 championship last season. He hopes a game like this will remind fans of that.
“Everyone in that locker room knows the kind of player he is and what kind of kid he is,” Sinnott said. “He doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.”
Howard thanked Sinnott for sticking up for him.
“It means the world, man,” Howard said. “Me and him are tight and we have been through a lot together. For him to do that for me, it means a lot.”
This was arguably the best game Howard has played in a K-State uniform. He was red hot in the second half.
All four of his touchdown passes were impressive. The first went to Phillip Brooks in the left side of the end zone, as he threw the ball a long distance from the opposite hash. The second also went to Brooks. On that play, Brooks caught a pass on the right sideline and then tiptoed his way past a pair of defenders into the end zone.
Next he found Keagan Johnson across the middle for his first touchdown catch in a K-State uniform. Lastly, he lobbed a nice ball to Jayce Brown for a touchdown that tied the score at 27-all in the fourth quarter.
If there is a silver lining to this loss for K-State, it is that it may have found something on offense while using a pass-first attack.
“We definitely showed that we can throw the ball,” Sinnott said. “When you have got guys like Phil and Keagan and Jayce to make those plays and just being able to trust the guy next to you, it really helps. I think it’s a really big deal for us to put that on film and just leave that in the back of our opponents’ heads.”
That wouldn’t have happened if not for Howard playing like the best version of himself.
Sinnott hopes Howard’s critics were paying attention.