Kansas State-Texas grades: Ertz leads the way as Wildcats win

The highest-graded players and biggest takeaways from Kansas State's win over Texas.

| 8 months ago
(Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

(Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Kansas State-Texas grades: Ertz leads the way as Wildcats win

Kansas State Wildcats 24, Texas Longhorns 21

Here are the top-grades players and biggest storylines from Kansas State’s 24-21 victory over Texasa

Kansas State Wildcats

Quarterback grade: Jesse Ertz, 70.4

Ertz doesn’t do much passing, but runs for glory

When it came to throwing the football, Ertz had himself a very average day. He rarely looked deep, attempting just seven passes more than ten yards downfield. He completed three of those for 53 yards and a touchdown plus his bad interception. But Ertz did most of his damage with his feet this game. He had a rushing grade of 91.8, thanks to 92 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns, as well as two missed tackles forced.


Top offensive grades:

RT Dalton Risner, 79.9
FB Winston Dimel, 74.6
RG Terrale Johnson, 71.9
QB Jesse Ertz, 70.4
TE Dayton Valentine, 69.7

Run game successful despite poor offensive line blocking

Looking at the run-block grades of some of the Kansas State offensive lineman, one wouldn’t think that the Wildcats rushed for 248 yards on 50 carries. But it was the big game of Ertz, and a nice effort from RB Charles Jones, who contributed 81 yards on 12 carries and a missed tackle forced. They were assisted by FB Winston Dimel, who had a 72.0 run block grade that helped open up some tight lanes. But no offensive lineman had a run-block grade above 70.0.

Top defensive grades:

ED Jordan Willis, 92.6
ED Tanner Wood, 78.6
CB Donnie Starks, 76.0
DI Will Geary, 75.5
DI Trey Dishon, 71.1

Huge game from Jordan Willis carries the defense

Jordan Willis was an absolute monster in this game for the Wildcats’ defense, almost single-handedly stopping some Texas drives. He had a pass rush grade of 89.0, thanks to his two sacks, one of them a strip sack, and five quarterback hurries. He was arguably better against the run, making four run stops and finishing with a run defense grade of 93.5. Willis alone accounted for 64% of Kansas State’s total pressures and 26 percent of their total defensive stops.

Texas Longhorns

Quarterback grade: Shane Buechele, 77.7

Buechele performs against stout defense

Buechele had a pretty good game against a very good defense and seems to be moving back toward how he was playing to start the season. Buechele threw three deep passes (20-plus yards downfield), and connected on the 80-yard touchdown. The other was a perfect throw that should’ve been a touchdown but his receiver bobbled and then the defender knocked it away. The other was a good defensive play. He didn’t make any real dangerous throws and without the two untimely drops his receivers had, this game might’ve had a different result.


Top offensive grades:

HB D’Onta Foreman, 82.3
QB Shane Buechele, 77.7
LT Connor Williams, 75.8
WR Devin Duvernay, 73.2
WR Jake Oliver, 70.6

Buechele and Foreman not enough to overcome offensive deficiencies

Buechele played well, as already discussed. Foreman’s 119 yards on 23 carries and five missed tackles forced were very impressive. But the receivers didn’t add much and the right tackle position got beaten like a drum by Jordan Willis. Tristan Nickelson and Brandon Hodges split time at the position and neither were effective. Nickelson allowed a sack and three hurries for an overall grade of 32.4. Hodges was hardly an improvement, grading at 35.8 overall thanks to two sacks and a hurry allowed.

Top defensive grades:

DI Poona Ford, 82.6
S Jason Hall, 82.3
LB Edwin Freeman, 79.9
ED Malcolm Roach, 77.8
DI Paul Boyette Jr., 74.5

Big game from Ford not enough to propel defense to victory

Poona Ford was impressive in the middle of the defense, and finished the game with a run defense grade of 86.3 thanks to his five solo run stops. But he was one of only a few overly impressive Texas defenders. They didn’t generate much pressure, with just one sack and seven pressures that were not unblocked. In the passing game, it was a struggle for LB John Bonney, who allowed seven catches on nine targets for 53 yards and a touchdown, earning a defense-low 34.9 overall grade.

PFF Game-Ball WinnerKansas State ED Jordan Willis


| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

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