The big news for K-State football last week wasn’t the buzz on signing day. It was Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez announcing his transfer to K-State to play next season for the Wildcats. Has K-State found their starting quarterback for 2022? The move has been mostly celebrated by K-State football fans who were hoping for a big quarterback acquisition in the transfer portal and adds quite a bit of excitement, along with some uncertainty, going into the 2022 season.
What does this mean for Will Howard, Jaren Lewis, and Jake Rubley, the other quarterbacks on the roster? Whoever sticks around through the spring will compete with Martinez going into fall camp. Martinez had shoulder surgery at the end of the 2021 football season and isn’t expected to participate in spring football.
I’ve watched quite a bit of Adrian Martinez during his time at Nebraska. Initially, I’ll admit that I did not like this move from K-State’s perspective. I’ve seen Martinez throw a lot of interceptions, lose a lot of fumbles, and lose a lot of games. However, if he can come in and do at least what Skylar Thompson did as starting quarterback for the Wildcats and provide a bridge to K-State’s next starting quarterback, it could prove to be a very good thing for the Wildcat football program.
I did a deep dive into Martinez’s statistics compared to Skylar Thompson. It was a much-needed exercise on my behalf to help make me feel better about the move. Here’s the year-by-year breakdown of Adrian Martinez versus Skylar Thompson. I realize they played in different conferences against different competition and played for different coaching staffs, but there are a few things I can surmise from the numbers. Here is the breakdown:
Adrian Martinez – 11 games, 224/347, 64.6%, 2,617 yards, 17 TD, 8 INT, 139.5 rating, 629 rushing yards, 8 rushing TD
Skylar Thompson – 8 Games, 51/83, 61.4%, 689 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT, 143.8 rating, 267 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD
Adrian Martinez – 10 games, 149/251, 59.4%, 1,956 yards, 10 TD, 9 INT, 130.8 rating, 626 rushing yards, 7 rushing TD
Skylar Thompson – 11 games, 122/208, 58.7%, 1,391 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT, 125.3 rating, 373 rushing yards, 5 rushing TD
Adrian Martinez – 7 games, 108/151, 71,5%, 1,055 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT, 135.0 rating, 521 rushing yards, 7 rushing TD.
Skylar Thompson – 13 games, 177/297, 59.6%, 2,315 yards, 12 TD, 5 INT, 135.0 rating, 405 rushing yards, 11 rushing TD.
Adrian Martinez – 11 games, 189/306, 61.8%, 2,867 yards, 14 TD, 10 INT, 149.0 rating, 512 rushing yards, 13 rushing TD.
Skylar Thompson – 3 games, 40/64, 62.5%, 626 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, 165.3 rating, 38 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD.
Super senior year
Skylar Thompson – 9 games, 141/205, 68.8%, 1,844 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT, 154.9 rating, -6 rushing yards, 4 rushing TD.
Adrian Martinez – 39 games, 670/1055, 63.5%, 8,495 yards, 45 TD, 30 INT, 139.5 rating, 2,288 rushing yards on 506 attempts, 35 rushing TD, 15 fumbles lost.
Skylar Thompson – 44 games, 531/857, 62%, 6,865 yards, 39 TD, 16 INT, 140.5 rating, 1,077 rushing yards on 349 attempts, 26 rushing TD, 0 fumbles lost.
A couple of things stick out to me when looking at the stats. One, Martinez was utilized in Nebraska’s offense a lot more than Thompson was in K-State’s offense, both in the number of pass attempts and number of rush attempts. Two, Martinez’s turnovers are concerning. He’s lost a lot of fumbles and has thrown a lot of interceptions. His 1.5 touchdown to interception ratio isn’t very good compared to Thompson’s 2.44. On the other hand, their completion percentage and passer ratings are almost identical. If Martinez can hang onto the ball and avoid throwing interceptions, this can, and will, work. If not, we’re likely to see K-State’s next quarterback sooner rather than later.