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Sams, Waters shine, throwing for big yardage in Kansas State's spring game
spt Lockett sideline
Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett catches a sideline pass from quarterback Daniel Sams. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend Tribune

MANHATTAN — Daniel Sams threw for 391 yards and Jake Waters passed for 249 as the two ended their spring competition on Saturday afternoon in the Purple/White game to replace Collin Klein as Kansas State's quarterback.

The Purple team beat the White 76-3 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and Waters and Sams each got two quarters with the first-string offense.

"We were going to make sure that they all got even opportunities, but somebody had to be the first one on the field," Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder said.“I cannot give you a distinct answer right now (regarding the quarterback situation) until we sit down and scrutinize things a little more closely in regards to this game as well as the other 14 practices.

"I saw some very positive things with both of them. We saw some issues that we have been aware of during the course of the spring. I thought we have a little bit of athletic ability. I thought we threw the ball with more consistency than we have during the course of the spring, but it was pretty basic as far as the defense is concerned."

Waters, a junior-college transfer, started the game for the Purple team. He completed 14 of 18 passes, showing impressive precision.

Sams saw spot duty while backing up Klein last season, and he was the obvious choice to succeed Klein before the Wildcats signed Waters. Sams is known for his speed but also showed off a strong arm.

"What I was pleased with, as much as anything, the quarterbacks called their own ballgame and we did not have any clock mismanagement," Snyder said. "I do not think there were any delay of game calls. They were making decisions, and getting players in and out of the huddle."

Wide receiver Tyler Lockett had nine catches for 231 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including a juggling catch where he tipped the ball three times in the end zone before hauling it in.

Waters and Sams both looked capable of starting for the Wildcats. Offensive lineman Cornelius Lucas said he does not see the competition winding down any time soon.

"It's going to be a fight to the finish," Lucas said. "Both guys are really competitive and they have a lot of different things they bring to the table. As of right now, they're just both trying to get better each and every day."

The two-hand touch tackle rule negated Sams' ability to run and probably robbed him of a rushing touchdown or two in the game, particularly an instance in the first quarter when he was playing for the White team and broke loose for a run that could have gone much farther than the 18 yards Sams got before being tagged.

"Sometimes, the way they touch you, it wouldn't be a tackle in real life, to me, so yeah, that part did kind of suck," Sams said with a laugh. "Besides that, me and Jake got to show off our throwing ability today. Just keep in mind, the QB run game wasn't really in today, so that's something else to worry about."

Waters was the NJCAA player of the year, leading Iowa Western Community College to the national championship, beating Butler in the title game.

"It's a work in progress," Waters said. "I've gotten comfortable with a lot of the stuff, but I've got a long way to go, but I'm getting comfortable. I started getting in a little groove today and I thought that was good."

Wide receiver Tramaine Thompson added six catches for 161 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Wideout Torell Miller made several big catches, five in all, for 108 yards and two scores.

"It's great," Waters said. "For a quarterback, knowing we can throw it to them and they can take it 60 or 70 yards every time gives us a lot of confidence in them. We can give a little check down to them or a little stop right and make something happen."

Lockett seems to be a favorite target of both quarterbacks, and he said their competition might go on a while.

"It might come down to fall practices," Lockett said. "It's going to come down to Coach Snyder. They might separate themselves over summer time, they might have separated themselves today, or they might separate themselves in the fall.

"Whatever happens, I know it's going to be a good experience because they're both pushing each other to be at their best."

While the offense went wild against the team's second-string defense, a few key players did not participate because of injuries. Center B.J. Finney, wide receiver Curry Sexton and running back John Hubert were all inactive.

With Hubert, the team's leading rusher last season, shelved, Robert Rose recorded 141 yards on 17 carries.

Not surprisingly given the offensive numbers, Snyder said the defense did fairly well stopping the run but struggled against the pass. Linebacker Blake Slaughter led all players with eight tackles.

“It is obvious that our twos cannot play as well as our ones, and we had some problems with both," Snyder said. "There were three or four schemes that created some issues both with our ones and our twos.

"However, the ones only gave up the three-point field goal. That is not a bad day’s work no matter who you line up to play against."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.