Texas Bowl grades: Kansas State edges out Texas A&M
Kansas State Wildcats 33, Texas A&M Aggies 28
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways in Kansas State’s 33-28 win over Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl:
Kansas State Wildcats
Quarterback grade: Jesse Ertz, 66.6
Ertz efficient enough through the air in Texas Bowl win
Wildcat quarterback Jesse Ertz was mistake-free through the air on his 24 dropbacks, completing 70 percent and averaging 9.8 yards per attempt. A 79-yard deep pass to Byron Pringle made up a large amount of his passing yards, but Ertz was productive when given time in the pocket, going 11-of-16 for 163 yards under no pressure. He was also a threat on the ground, carrying 21 times for 73 yards and forcing three missed tackles.
Top offensive grades:
FB Winston Dimel, 78.2
T Dalton Risner, 73.7
HB Justin Silmon, 73.1
TE Dayton Valentine, 68.1
WR Deandre Burton, 67.6
Wildcats rushing attack leads the way
Kansas State kept to a very similar gameplan as they have all season, control the time of possession and keep the ball on the ground. It worked out well for them as they ran for 224 yards on the ground on 38 carries, forcing six missed tackles along the way. Justin Silmon and Jesse Ertz provided most of the legwork, carrying a combine 31 times for 150 yards with a long of 55 by Silmon. Wide receiver Dominique Heath provided a spark on his lone carry, bursting through the defense untouched on a 52-yard touchdown run.
Top defensive grades:
S Dante Barnett, 82.2
ED Jordan Willis, 79.3
LB Elijah Lee, 77.7
CB D.J. Reed, 76.9
ED Reggie Walker, 76.8
Willis provides pass rush for Kansas State defense
Defensive end Jordan Willis has had a monstrous season, capped off by pressuring the quarterback five times and recording two sacks Wednesday. He did uncharacteristically have two defensive offsides called against him, but provided a pass rush that the defense desperately needed against an up-tempo Aggie offense. D.J. Reed had another strong game on the back end, being targeted 7 times he gave up 5 catches for 50 yards with the long being a 23 yard completion. The Wildcat defense held up late in the fourth, stopping the Aggies on fourth down with just over two minutes to play securing a Texas Bowl victory and ninth win for Bill Snyder.
Texas A&M Aggies
Quarterback grade: Trevor Knight, 62.8
Knight grades well when given a clean pocket
On passing plays when his offensive line provided him with a clean pocket, Trevor Knight excelled and completed 73.0 percent of his throws for 224 yards and three touchdown passes. The problems came when under pressure as he was only 3-of-11 for 86 yards with one of those throws being and underthrown deep ball that was intercepted by the Wildcat defense, the end result being a 21.8 quarterback rating under pressure.
Top offensive grades:
WR Josh Reynolds, 84.0
T Jermaine Eluemunor, 78.8
HB Keith Ford, 75.7
C Erik McCoy, 74.0
T Avery Gennesy, 69.7
Reynolds top-graded offensive player in the game
The 6-foot-4 senior from San Antonio had his best game of the season. He gave opposing cornerback Donnie Starks fits all game and was targeted 16 times, catching 12 of those for 154 yards and two scores. Trevor Knight had a quarterback rating of 144.3 when throwing his way. The offensive line had to be shuffled around due to injuries and held up relatively well in pass protection — the exception being Koda Martin, who was tasked with the difficult assignment of blocking Jordan Willis and he finished with a grade of 40.9 in that department.
Top defensive grades:
ED Myles Garrett, 85.0
DI Reggie Chavis, 80.9
S Justin Evans 80.8
LB Otaro Alaka, 78.8
CB Donovan Wilson, 77.8
Garrett grades well in what is likely last collegiate game
Potential top-five NFL Draft pick Myles Garrett had a solid performance in what was likely his last college game. He accounted for three of the Aggies’ four pressures on the quarterback and also recorded a QB hit. Garrett made his presence known in the run game as well even if the stats don’t reflect it, as he graded at a 82.8 against the run, forcing cuts and filling up lanes. Reggie Chavis was also stout against the run on the interior of the defensive line, as he recorded the highest run grade for the defense at an 83.1, contributing four stops. Cornerback Donovan Wilson and Safety Justin Evans were the top-graded players on the back end for the defense, they were targeted a combined nine times, only giving up six catches for 26 yards, which came out to less than three yards per target.