Jake Waters yearned for a mulligan the instant the football left his hand.
It was late in the second quarter against Oklahoma State and the Kansas State quarterback was trying to throw a deep pass to Curry Sexton. But instead of hitting his teammate in stride, the ball wobbled and fell into the arms of Oklahoma State linebacker Ryan Simmons. It was a poor decision compounded by poorer execution. The result was Waters’ first turnover in five Big 12 games. At least it should have been, until Waters was granted a do-over when the play was erased by a roughing-the-passer penalty.
Waters got his wish. He remains the Big 12’s only turnover-free starting quarterback.
Still, the memory remains.
“One of the worst throws of my life,” Waters said afterward. “… I’ve got to be smarter with the football … That throw will keep me up at night.”
That Waters showed such remorse for his lone questionable pass in five conference games shows how seriously K-State values mistake-free football. The Wildcats have been flagged 27 times for 222 yards, making them the nation’s least-penalized team. They have also lost seven turnovers, a Big 12 low. Opposing coaches like to say Bill Snyder’s teams “refuse to beat themselves” and that description has never felt more appropriate.