SE: Hubener Hungry for More

K-State quarterback Joe Hubener had good reason to let his emotions show on Saturday evening.

He and his teammates competed for nearly four hours in a game where he scored four rushing touchdowns and led the team to 45 points against a defense that surrendered just seven points to Texas the week prior. 

The game began with excitement, electricity, but despite the Wildcats’ effort, K-State fell, 52-45, to second-ranked TCU. 

Playing their best and coming up empty handed was heartbreaking. 

The Cheney, Kansas, native who, until this season, hadn’t started a football game at quarterback since his junior varsity days, didn’t hold back after giving it his all against the No. 2 team in the nation. 

“I would say I’m a pretty emotional person, but I think that’s how the game is supposed to be played,” Hubener said yesterday afternoon. “I’m going to show my emotions at both positive times and negative times, and I think that just shows that I care. I hope my passion is something that the other teammates can build off of; I hope it’s something that fuels them.”

In Saturday’s game, Hubener rushed 26 times for 111 yards and recorded four touchdowns while also completing 13-of-33 passes for 156 yards. 

There were many, many positives in the first half where K-State held an 18-point lead over the Horned Frogs, but those positives were not on Hubener’s mind in the days following the loss.  

“I think there were certainly some positive things, but the things that are negative are the things that stick out to me, and that’s what we have to get corrected,” he explained. “I’m a perfectionist, and much like Coach Snyder expects perfection, I want perfection for myself, so that’s what I’m focused on.”

As he aims for perfection every game this season, Hubener is growing. He’s getting more comfortable, more consistent and has kept his composure even when things have been tough.

“The most impressive thing about Joe is how he keeps his poise. If you have a leader who freaks out on the field, you’re not going to get much done, but he keeps his poise,” said redshirt freshman center Dalton Risner. “Heck, this is just his fourth game starting at QB, and he’s playing teams like TCU and Oklahoma State and doing a great job against them. He’s running, making the calls, passing; I think he’s a great QB, and I say it all the time, but I have the utmost confidence in him when he calls a play.” 

Hubener started this football season as the backup quarterback, but when starter Jesse Ertz suffered a season-ending injury on the first snap of the season, Hubener was quickly summoned to the job.

He played both wide receiver and safety throughout his high school career, so the last time Hubener had started a football game at quarterback prior to this season was in the ninth grade – nearly seven years ago. 

His story is intriguing, motivating and just plain crazy all at the same time. 

“It’s kind of surreal when you stop and think about it,” said Hubener when asked about his path. “I didn’t expect to be here. Once I started thinking realistically, I never expected to be where I’m at now. So, to stop and think about being the starting quarterback on this team, to have played with the No. 2 team in the nation and Oklahoma State, which is also a tremendously talented team, and to think that we were right in both of those games, it’s pretty cool.”

Since taking over as quarterback, Hubener led K-State to a 3-0 start, including a triple-overtime victory over Louisiana Tech. Then, despite seeing limited action in the first half against No. 20 Oklahoma State in K-State’s first Big 12 matchup, he came back with a fury in the game’s final quarter. 

He may be an emotional guy when it comes to the game of football, but he also knows when to keep his emotions in check and be a leader. 

“I’d say the area that I’ve improved in the most is stepping up as a leader,” said Hubener. “That was a tough role to fill when it wasn’t necessarily my role to begin with, so that was definitely somewhere where I had to develop, and I feel like I have improved in that area. There’s certainly still room to grow, though.” 

Heading into this weekend’s matchup with No. 19 Oklahoma (4-1, 1-1 Big 12), Hubener said he is prepared for another tough Big 12 contest. He said he likes the mindset of his team, and while everyone is ready to move on and put the past in the rearview mirror, they’re going to enter this weekend with a chip on their shoulder. 

“We were angry after that OSU loss, that was a tough loss going down to the wire like that, and I think the TCU loss just adds to the fire,” Hubener said. “We’re tired of losing these tough games. We know we can play with anybody – we showed that. TCU is a great team and we played right with them the whole game. We fully expect OU to come in here prepared, but we want this win.”

This weekend’s game kicks off at 2:30 p.m., in Bill Snyder Family Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC. The game, which will be the 24th-consecutive sellout in Manhattan, will be broadcast by Dave LaMont (play-by-play), Ray Bentley (analyst) and Dawn Davenport (sideline), while the contest can also be heard across the K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), Stan Weber (analyst) and Matt Walters (sideline) calling the action.

For game notes and more information about this weekend’s matchup, please click here