Grading the Wildcats: Texas

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Senior defensive end Jordan Willis carries the American flag out of the tunnel at the start of the football game between K-State and Texas Tech on Oct. 8, 2016, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

The Collegian took a look back at the Wildcats’ 24-21 victory over Texas and decided to hand out some grades. The Wildcats looked much better from a week ago, though the second half was a struggle.

Rushing offense: B

The Wildcats were solid on the ground for most of the day. Junior quarterback Jesse Ertz killed the Longhorns all day on scrambles once the pocket collapsed, including an impressive 19-yard touchdown scramble in the second quarter.

This grade would be even higher if senior running back Charles Jones didn’t fumble the ball just before crossing the goal line. The score would’ve put the Wildcats up 28-7 and made the ending much less nerve-wracking.

It should be said that besides the fumble Jones and the Wildcats had, they had a good day on the ground amassing 234 yards on 51 attempts.

Passing offense: A

Ertz had his best game of the season against the Longhorns as he went 20-27 with 171 yards and a touchdown. Ertz showed no signs of the shoulder injury that forced him to the sideline for the second half of the Oklahoma game.

The offense still needs to find consistency. The fourth quarter was a disaster, but the first half was promising and Ertz ran the offense efficiently and effectively.

Senior quarterback Joe Hubener came in late in the game but head coach Bill Snyder said it was not because Ertz was injured and that he expects Ertz to be 100 percent next weekend.

Rushing defense: B

K-State did well on stopping the run, considering the defense was faced with the task of stopping the Big 12’s leading rusher, junior running back D’Onta Foreman. Foreman was aiming to get his yards but the Wildcats did well limiting big runs and touchdowns.

The Cats let up a touchdown to senior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, the 18-Wheeler package, but otherwise didn’t allow him to come in and dominate like he is usually capable of doing.

Passing defense: B

The pass defense had been exposed the last few weeks but stepped up to the challenge that freshman quarterback Shane Buechele and the Texas offense presented.

Senior defensive end Jordan Willis dominated the game, especially in the second half, coming up with several big sacks and tackles-for-loss to stop the Longhorns’ comeback attempt and was subsequently named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.

K-State does, however, need to find a way to not allow deep balls over the top. Sophomore defensive back Duke Shelley was burned for an 80-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Special teams: A

The Wildcats were solid on special teams as they didn’t do anything spectacular, but didn’t make any mistakes. Junior kicker Matthew McCrane made his only field goal attempt — a 35-yarder in the third quarter.

Coaching: B

The Wildcats turned it around big time after a disappointing loss to Oklahoma. The Cats were prepared for this game and it showed from the start. The offensive play calling was much better as they utilized K-State’s strengths and held the ball for much of the game.

Overall: B

The first half showed K-State playing at its best, using clock while methodically driving down the field. The second half showed that the Wildcats still have to find some consistency, but this game was still a step in the right direction. The Cats will have an easier game against Iowa State on Saturday to find some consistency.

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