The culmination of a long, grueling season comes tonight in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston.
“I think we are all biting at the bit to get out there and play,” junior quarterback Jesse Ertz said. “There are so many practices and time between now and the last game. It’s been three weeks, and I mean, we are just kind of tired of doing the same thing every day. We want something new. So we have all been watching film and seeing this opponent and we are ready to go.”
Head coach Bill Snyder said that the practices before the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl a few years ago were some of the best, and he was asked if this year’s bowl practices were as good.
“Well, I truly think so, and probably a little more elongated,” Snyder said. “And by that, I mean, the consistency of the performance level in our practices over a period of time, not just on one given day…they have practiced well.”
The game itself will feature teams on opposite ends of the spectrum. K-State sat at 3-3 midway through the season after a blowout loss to Oklahoma, but they finished the season strong winning five of their last six games.
Texas A&M’s season went much differently. The Aggies started the season 7-1 and was ranked fourth in the first College Football Playoff rankings released this season.
Senior quarterback Trevor Knight’s injury in their next game against Mississippi State derailed the rest of the Aggies season. They only won one more game after that and finished with the same record as the Wildcats at 8-4.
Knight’s injury has since healed and the Aggies are much closer to full strength. The ‘Cats will rely on their leadership against the bigger and faster Aggies. Snyder said they can rely on Dante Barnett and Ertz to provide that leadership.
“I think like (Barnett), (Ertz) brings that quality level of leadership into his group and to his side of the ball,” Snyder said. “And you know, the significant aspect of it, you’ve heard me talk all the time about improvement and day-to-day you get all that. But Jesse kind of epitomizes that, I believe, in terms of his leadership and Jesse’s kind of a quiet, mild-mannered young guy. And yet, he still exudes some leadership that allows our players to respond to him.”
The Wildcats and Aggies will kick-off at 8:00 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN.