WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — When Kansas State University head coach Chris Klieman put quarterback Avery Johnson into Saturday’s game against Texas Tech, he proved he belonged.
During last weekend’s contest against Texas Tech, Johnson scored five touchdowns — all rushing, tying a school record — to help the Wildcats seal a 38-21 win over the Red Raiders.
The Wildcats were struggling to move the ball against the Red Raiders with Will Howard, who replaced the injured Adrian Martinez last season and led them to the Big 12 championship.
But when Johnson entered the game, the dual-threat quarterback energized Kansas State, which wound up overcoming a third-quarter deficit for a 38-21 victory.
“What we learned from this past Saturday is that we’ve seen Will play at a really high level and be successful, and then we saw Avery play at a high level and be successful,” Klieman said Tuesday. “So we feel comfortable with both guys.”
Klieman said Tuesday he hasn’t decided on a starter between Johnson and Will Howard for Saturday.
“Do not,” Klieman said Tuesday. “We have two guys we can win with.”
Kansas State listed both Howard and Johnson as the starter for the Horned Frogs (4-3, 2-2), but Klieman said there will be no decision on the amount of playing time each will receive until the game plan is finalized later in the week.
“If you thought it would be a 60-40, 50-50 or a 90-10 split, we have no idea,” Klieman said. “We’re going to go through the game plan and see who, where and what gives us the best opportunity.”
Johnson was the team’s second-leading rusher (13 carries, 90 yards) behind Treshaun Ward, who finished with 118 yards on the ground.
After the game, Johnson was awarded Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
While his running ability was on display against Texas Tech, Klieman said he’s not worried about Johnson’s arm, either. That leads him to believe using two quarterbacks — which usually doesn’t work well — could prove advantageous for the Wildcats.
“Avery is a better than thrower than maybe the rap on him is, because of how much we’ve run him,” Klieman said. “I’ve seen him do it an awful lot, and when healthy, (Howard) is a really good runner.”
Coming out of high school, Johnson was a four-star prospect and No. 138 player in the country according to Rivals.
As a senior for Maize, Johnson threw for 2,768 yards, 29 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He also added 817 yards rushing and found the end zone 16 times on the ground.
Kansas State takes on TCU from Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 21. The game will air on the ESPN family of networks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.