Statistically, Jesse Ertz was dwelling at the bottom of the Big 12 passing standings when the Kansas State quarterback faced visiting Texas last fall.
Ertz promptly showed the Longhorns why a K-State offense can be so dangerous. It doesn’t look flashy. In fact, it may bore you, lulling a defense into thinking its dreadfully one-dimensional. And then it’ll beat you.
That’s why one main story line for Texas’ home game against Kansas State on Saturday will be whether the Longhorns can stay disciplined enough to deal with Ertz.
Last season, Ertz led the Wildcats to a 24-21 victory win the Longhorns, who couldn’t stop Ertz’s precise passing, which was set up by play-action. It also didn’t hurt Kansas State’s chances when the Longhorns struggled to stop Ertz’s called runs.
Ertz completed 20 of his 27 attempts for 171 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 18 times for 78 yards and two scores.
Since then, he’s only gotten better, although Ertz never will be considered a prototype Big 12 quarterback. Rather, he fits the prototype recruited by K-State coach Bill Snyder. He’s tough, runs the ball well and will complete just enough passes to extend a drive until it hits the end zone.
Texas coach Tom Herman said Snyder, who turns 78 Saturday, still runs a version of the now ancient single-wing offense.
“There will be times when the quarterback and the fullback are the only people in the back field — not even a tailback in the back field,” Herman said Monday. “So I think its toughness is probably the biggest thing (for Ertz). And when you’re tough, you don’t go down easy and you turn what might be a four- or five-yard gain into a 12-yard gain or you step through that last arm tackle and turn it into a 25-yard gain.
“That’s the thing to me that has stood out since I’ve been watching coach Snyder’s quarterbacks. They’ve all been tough dudes.”
Ertz’s career rushing average is 5.65 yards per carry. That’s second in school history after star tailback Darren Sproles’ 6.11.
The Wildcats are 3-1. They beat visiting Baylor this past Saturday in their Big 12 opener.
Ertz’s statistics, similar to those of last season, won’t wow you. He’s ninth best in the Big 12 in passing, averaging 176.5 yards a game. However, he’s sixth best in the league in rushing, averaging 83 yards a contest. The five players ahead of him are all tailbacks.
Kansas State’s offense is averaging 229 rushing yards a game, and the Wildcats have achieved 200 yards or more in 11 of their past 13 games.
What’s troubling Snyder is his receivers. They’ve dropped 10 passes in the past two games. It was a big problem at Vanderbilt in a 14-7 loss, but the Wildcats were able to overcome their troubles in beating the depleted Bears.
“You’ve got to get them thinking about the things they do right, as opposed to what they didn’t necessarily do right,” Snyder said. “You’ve got to be careful that you don’t become fearful of the football being thrown to you or worry about dropping it. It’s just being focused on doing the little things right.”
In his first two games, against Central Arkansas and Charlotte, Ertz completed 26 of 35 passes for 511 yards. With the bungled catches in the past two games, Ertz is 17 of 45 for 195 yards.
The post Don’t sleep on Kansas State’s offense, which is boring, old-school — and efficient appeared first on Hook ‘Em.
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