AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Kansas State 33, Texas A&M 28, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?
Kansas State pounded past Texas A&M 33-28 in a thrilling AdvocCareV100 Texas Bowl
Jesse Ertz can throw
Kansas State had to run to win, and it got just enough out of the ground game averaging over five yards per carry with QB Jesse Ertz running for 67 yards – including a key late dash – with two scores, but it was his day as a passer that made the biggest difference. He didn’t need to bomb away, but he did, hitting 14-of-20 passes for 195 yards and a score, highlighted by a brilliant ball to Byron Pringle for a 79-yard touchdown. The defense did its job, but this was Ertz’s game. However …
Josh Reynolds almost made it all about him
Trevor Knight was fantastic at times throwing for 310 yards and three scores with a pick, but he was helped by Reynolds, who wore the Kansas State secondary as a hat catching 12 passes for 154 yards and two scores, coming up with every big catch the Aggies needed – almost. Christian Kirk caught six passes for 86 yards, and Ricky Seals-Jones came up with a nice scoring grab, but Reynolds just upped his NFL stock a bit – he looked like a pro receiver, even more than he already does.
And thus ends the collapse
Texas A&M was 6-0, and even with the loss to Alabama, things were still looking terrific in the College Football Playoff rankings. But the Aggies finished the season 2-5 with bad losses to Mississippi State and Ole Miss, a blowout loss to LSU, and now with this loss to a Kansas State team that’s okay, but doesn’t do anything truly special. Going another year without an SEC title isn’t that big a deal in a league and a division with Alabama, but the pressure is going to be on head coach Kevin Sumlin more than ever to come up with a good wire-to-wire season in 2017. Why aren’t bowl games meaningless? The A&M narrative about Sumlin will go on for the next eight months.
What’s next for Kansas State in 2017?
It’ll be Kansas State yet again doing what Kansas State does on offense. QB Jesse Ertz is back, but RB Charles Jones is gone, meaning Justin Silmon has to be ready to be a No. 1-caliber back. WR Deonte Burton is gone, but key JUCO transfer Byron Pringle should play a bigger role in the passing game, especially as a deep threat. The key is the line that gets four starters back and started to emerge as the season went on.
The defense was among the best in the Big 12 and should be solid again, but the stars are gone. DE Jordan Willis can somehow be replaced and decent replacements emerge for the linebacking tandem of Charmeachealle Moore and Will Davis. Dante Barnette was a star at strong safety, but the other three starters are back.
What’s next for Texas A&M in 2017?
Okay, Kellen Mond, are you ready right away? The Aggies missed out on landing Baylor’s Jarrett Stidham – Auburn got him – and it might be up to the star dual-threat quarterback recruit to be thrown to the wolves right away. Who’ll return to the receiving corps? Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones should be back, but that’s not a given, and Josh Reynolds is gone. However, Christian Kirk is a No. 1 target to work everything around, and the running back combination of Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford should be excellent. The line loses tackles Avery Gennesy and Jermaine Eluemunor, but the interior is back.
The defense gets a huge break with FS Armani Watts supposedly returning for his senior year, but SS Justin Evans is gone. The corners should be fine, and the linebackers will be solid despite the loss of Shaan Washington on the weakside, but there’s no replacing Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall up front. The interior of the line should be the team’s big strength early on with a terrific rotation to work around.