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Jeff Kolpack, Published August 26 2013

Wildcats to start Waters at QB in opener against Bison

FARGO – A quarterback who shredded his junior college competition the last two seasons was tabbed as the Kansas State starter on Monday. Head coach Bill Snyder said junior Jake Waters will get the nod Friday night in the season opener against North Dakota State.

His statistics at Iowa Western Community College were mind-boggling. Waters set a National Junior College Athletic Association record for accuracy, completing 244 of 333 passing attempts, good for 73 percent. He threw for 3,501 yards with 39 touchdowns with just three interceptions.

But it was other factors like consistency and leadership that elevated him ahead of Daniel Sams, a sophomore in his third year in the program, who Snyder said will also play against the Bison.

“Certainly, he’s invested the time and effort,” Snyder said of Waters.

The fact Waters was able to transfer at mid-semester last season played a big role in his development, Snyder said.

“He’s a very conscientious guy,” he said. “He did above and beyond what was asked of him. He did a lot on his own time. It has shown obviously on the field with a degree of consistency that has helped him and helped us.”

Waters led Iowa Western to a JUCO national title last year. Coming into fall camp, he was considered the better thrower and Sams the better runner in the battle.

Both were in line to replace Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein, who was a senior last season. Snyder, however, refuted the theory that both quarterbacks have singular strengths.

“That’s not the case,” he said. “It’s not a matter of them having two different skill sets.”

On the other side, NDSU has approached the game with the Wildcats preparing for both quarterbacks, head coach Craig Bohl said Monday. The last time the Bison had to do that was three years ago at Northern Iowa when the Panthers didn’t disclose their season-opening starter until game time.

“The first game of the year is always tough because you always get new personnel,” said NDSU cornerback Marcus Williams. “It’s two quarterbacks this year, but we’re planning for both and will try to do our job regardless of who is in at quarterback.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia