Pre-game Analysis: Kansas State - NinosCorner Sports | Efficient Sports Analytics...Successful, Relevant Data

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Pre-game Analysis: Kansas State

Pre-game Analysis:  Kansas State
by B.R. Battle
 Cal Sport Media via AP Images

The key to Kansas St lies within senior quarterback, Jesse Ertz's arm and legs.  Ertz is not the most efficient quarterback the Longhorns will have faced so far this year.  In fact, his efficiency rating as a passer is right on par with Texas' previous opponent's quarterback, Jacob Park of Iowa St.  Park posted a success rating (SR) of 35% against the Longhorns.  Ertz's SR was also 35%, albeit it against Baylor, who, according to ESPN, is ranked 119 of 130 FBS teams in total defense. 

One thing that separates Ertz from the past 3 quarterbacks Texas has faced is his ability to run the ball.  He is Kansas St’s leading rusher this season with 332 yards while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Although Ertz is a new challenge for the Texas defense, his skillset is not.  The past 3 games did not include the Longhorn’s first game against Maryland, where they also had a quarterback who was a true dual threat.  As we all recall, Maryland’s starting quarterback, Tyrrell Pigrome, tallied 64 yards rushing on nearly 6 yards a carry against the Longhorns.  The Texas defense has matured immensely since their first game; however, until they can show that they have become a better defense against a running quarterback, I will reserve judgment on their ability to stop a player of Ertz’s ability.  

Coach Snyder, better known as “The Wizard,” has always been known to run an offense that best suites the talent he has on his team.  With Ertz as his quarterback, Snyder has installed an offense that features the run for a majority of their games.  Against Baylor, the Wildcats ran the ball 65% of the time.  Their rushing offense success rate was slightly above average at 44% against Baylor, while their passing success rate was similar at 43%.  Therefore, against a defense that ranks in the bottom 9% of college football, this Wildcats offense was average.  The Longhorn defense will have a pretty good day against this offense if they play like the defense that has showed up since the second week of the season.  

Looking at the defensive side of the ball, Kansas St posted an above average defensive SR of 51%.  In fact, their success rate against the pass was extraordinary against Baylor, resulting in a SR of nearly 60%.  To put this figure into perspective, the Longhorns also posted a near 60% SR rating against Iowa St’s pass offense.  on the other hand, Kansas St posted a below average success rate against the run.  Their SR was 35% against 23 rushes from Baylor.  
Looking towards the Texas vs Kansas St game this upcoming Saturday, we can conclude that the Wildcats do one thing really well.  That one thing is running the ball.  Their quarterback is dynamic with his legs and can make a difference when in open space.  If the Longhorn defense, which is ranked 31 of 130 FBS teams per ESPN, can stop the Kansas St run game, Texas will have a great opportunity to be successful and win this game.  If the Texas defense cannot stop the running attack, then the Longhorns could be very susceptible to play action passes and blown coverages, as seen in the Maryland game.  Let’s hope that the latter is not an option and Texas has a successful campaign at DKR.  

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