ADVOCARE V100 TEXAS BOWL POSTGAME NOTES & QUOTES
TEXAS A&M AGGIES 28
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS 33
Paid Attendance: 68,412
ADVOCARE V100 TEXAS BOWL NOTES
- Tonight’s attendance of 68,412 is the fourth-largest crowd in Texas Bowl history
- The 61 total points marked the third-highest combined total in Texas Bowl history
- The teams combined for 37 points in the first half, marking the second-most combined points at the midway point of a Texas Bowl
- The 867 combined total yards (Texas A&M 454, Kansas State 413) was the fourth-highest total in Texas Bowl history
- Kansas State’s 23 points in the first half were the second-most in a first half in Texas Bowl history, and its 16 points in the second quarter were the third-most in a second quarter
- Texas A&M’s 16 passing first downs tied them for the most in a Texas Bowl, while their 25 total first downs tied them for the third-highest mark
- Texas A&M WR Josh Reynolds’ 154 receiving yards set a Texas Bowl record, his 12 receptions tied for the most in Houston history and his pair of receiving touchdowns represented a tie for the second-most in a Texas Bowl
- Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight finished 30-of-48 for 310 yards and three touchdowns. His 48 attempts were the second-highest total in Texas Bowl history and his 30 completions and three touchdowns each tied for second
- Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz completed of 14-of-20 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown and added 67 rushing yards on 24 attempts and two touchdowns on the ground. Ertz’s 70.0 percent completion percentage tied him for the third-highest mark in Texas Bowl history
- Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz’s 262 total yards (195 passing, 67 rushing) were the most by a player in Houston bowl history
- Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz finished with three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing), tying him for the second-most touchdowns in a Houston bowl game and the third-most total points (18) in Texas Bowl history
- Texas A&M DB Justin Evans’ two passes defensed tied him for the most in a Texas Bowl
- Kansas State LB Elijah Lee finished with a game-high 12 total tackles (five solo) and one tackle for loss. His tackle total tied him for the fourth-most in Texas Bowl history
- Texas A&M RB Keith Ford scored on a 7-yard touchdown run to cap off a game-opening 10-play, 75-yard drive that marked the second consecutive Texas Bowl in which a team scored a touchdown on its opening possession (LSU in 2015)
- Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz found WR Byron Pringle for a 79-yard score in the first quarter, which was the longest completion and longest touchdown pass in Texas Bowl history
- The 79-yard connection between Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz and WR Byron Pringle capped off the shortest scoring drive in Texas Bowl history (1 play, 0:11)
- Kansas State WR Dominique Heath scored on a 52-yard rush in the second quarter, giving him the second-longest rushing touchdown and third-longest rush from scrimmage in Texas Bowl history
- Texas A&M WR Josh Reynolds’ 4-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter capped off a 10-play, 90-yard drive, which tied for the second-longest drive in Texas Bowl history in terms of yards
ADVOCARE V100 TEXAS BOWL QUOTES
POSTGAME QUOTES FROM KANSAS STATE:
Head Coach Bill Snyder
DB Dante Barnett
QB Jesse Ertz
HEAD COACH BILL SNYDER (Transcribed by Stephanie Weaver and Hannah Pietsch)
You all ran a couple of back-to-back quarterback sneaks, one with QB Jesse Ertz getting in for a touchdown. Can you talk about what you saw in the offensive line tonight and how that unit grew over the season?
“They have been diligent in their preparation and development week in and week out. They epitomize what I’ve said so many times is the foundation of our program, and that’s an investment in daily improvement. And all of those guys under Coach (Charlie) Dickey’s guidance have invested themselves in doing that, so they’ve just gotten better and better and better. The quarterback sneak, I mean the ball was on the six-inch line. Duh.”
You all seemed to open up the playbook a little bit today. QB Jesse Ertz had the long pass, WR Dominique Heath had a long end-around run – two of the longer plays you all have had in bowl history. What did you see from Texas A&M’s defense that made you all think you could hit on some of those plays?
“They’re a good defensive football team, and we didn’t do anything we haven’t done all year. We may have done a couple of things better than we have, but the throw that he got for the long throw, a couple of the runs with a little motion, the one you’re talking about – we’ve run those time and time again. We just happened to do it a little bit better today.”
How good was QB Jesse Ertz today and how important was that time off to get him rejuvenated physically?
“That’s a mixed bag, interesting question. I think when he finished the regular season, I think if he’d played in a week, he’d been fine. Just each week, it just takes some time so he doesn’t get full practices in, and didn’t during this preparation either. I don’t think the time element favored, necessarily, his play. I think he’s just a competitive young guy and is going to play as well as he can, whether that was a week after the season ended, or three weeks, or four weeks. Again, it’s an interesting question, and it’s a difficult question to answer because you never really know. First of all, as a coach, you say, ‘Ok, do we go out and bang heads in scrimmage and do all that just to, because we’re going to have all that layoff in terms of the physicality of the game.’ And we chose not to, probably because of the health of our team as much as anything, but you run scared a little bit too as a coach in regards to some of those things. We try to make physical practices without the possibility of any type of injury. I expect Jesse to play well regardless. He’s gotten to that point, and it’s not that he’s not going to make some mistakes. He did tonight as well, but in the first half of the ball game he’s 9 out of 11, if I recall correctly. That tells you that it’s not a bad idea to throw the ball.”
What was the key to being able to handle Texas A&M’s DE Myles Garrett and keep him at bay tonight?
“I thought our guys just did a nice job. Scott Frantz lined up against him and played, and here’s a newcomer for us. I think it gave him a great deal of confidence. He played well against him. Probably as well as anybody that’s played against him during the course of the year. We did as was indicated here. There are some things that you do to try to give him some help, but he was on him. It was one-on-one a good portion of the time. The youngster is a tremendous player, as all of you know. He’s a legitimate first team All-American and extremely high draft choice. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it, but I was really proud of our guys, and Scott in particular, for doing such a nice job with him.”
Can you go back to QB Jesse Ertz’s touchdown and the way he was able to make a statement behind the offensive line on that long drive?
“Well, I don’t know exactly how to answer that question, but I do know that our offensive linemen take a great deal of pride in what they do. You can call it sometimes smash mouth football. In all reality, it’s not so much that as it is just being in the right spot at the right time and being as physical as you can. But also being able to finish blocks, that’s a significant thing. Not let people get off of you. And you have to develop some athletic ability and technique. Technique is so valuable. Valuable for every position on the field, but certainly for offensive linemen. You’ve got so many coaches that do a nice job. Charlie (Dickey) does a nice job teaching fundamentals too.”
With a young team, how important is winning six of seven at the end of the season in building momentum for the offseason and into next year?
“I just visited with our players a moment ago. It’s so easy to take that for granted and say – hey, you’ve got a lot of guys coming back, therefore you’re going to be good. It doesn’t work that way. It’s new dynamics every single year, regardless of who you have coming back or who you don’t have coming back. All the pieces have to fit and everybody has to work to do it. It’s so easy to say you’re going to be a good football team, but as I said to them – that’s up to you. Nobody’s going to gift you that. You have to make it happen. We’ll see how that plays out.”
How big were the plays by WR Byron Pringle and FB Winston Dimel in igniting the offense?
“I think both of those plays were significant in the ball game. Certainly the touchdown after A&M marched the length of the field and scored. And then for our offense to come back. When you go back and you look at that play, you see the ball couldn’t have been thrown any better. Had it not been thrown exactly as it was it was probably an incomplete pass. He and Byron both I thought executed that scheme extremely well. That was a tribute to both of them. What was the other one with Winston? You know, Winston, that’s basically what he does. He does it well. He’s a bright young guy coming from a football background. He understands schematics quite well. He just executes things very well. He’s been a good lead blocker for Jesse or anybody else for that matter and hadn’t been too bad carrying the ball and catching the ball. Although he had one put on the ground.”
From your scouting, did you have a sense of what Texas A&M might run to execute the corner blitz on the final defensive play of the game?
“Well, yes, but you never know. You can guess at it. The guess was probably right but when you go back and look at it, they probably had a chance to complete that pass. That young man is a great quarterback and a great person, but he threw the ball a little bit out of reach and consequently we got off the field. In all reality, the route was kind of open. We had some good fortune on that.”
How fulfilling is it to win a bowl and watch your team celebrate?
“You know, I’ve been impressed with the spirit of our players on this trip. It goes back to the, what is the event they have here, the little rodeo deal. What I was so impressed with, not the fact of who wins or loses, but the spirit that our players, unsolicited, that they showed during that period of time. I’m don’t know if any of you were out there. I enjoyed watching our players show that passion for the competitiveness of it and the spirit. I kind of had a feeling it would carry over to this ballgame, and I think for the most part it did.”
How much better is confetti than water and were you surprised?
“Well, I think they all realized that we could go back to the hotel and celebrate or we could go back to the hotel and run around the hotel all night. That makes it a little easier.”
DB DANTE BARNETT (Transcribed by Hector Castelltort)
Can you talk about that fourth down stop at the very end. What you guys were looking for and how the play unfolded?
“Well, it was a timeout right before the play and we kind of talked about it. We needed a stop if we wanted to win the game. We ran a zero coverage and we knew that in the secondary someone was going to have to make a play, and we told our pass rushers and linebackers that they needed to blitz like their life was on the line, so that we could get the stop. That’s what we went out there and did.”
This is your second one of these celebrations, how much fun was this and how fitting of an ending is this for the team and for you?
“I think, it is the perfect ending for this team. With all we been through last season and starting off this season. The fight that his team had, this is the perfect way to end it and send it into something special next season.”
That first drive by Texas A&M, they went down the field fairly quickly on you guys. What was the attitude after that drive and how did you guys regroup from that?
“We just knew we needed to step up and make plays for our offense. You know, teams in this conference, in college football, the first drive they always go the fastest they can. So, we knew we needed to come together and get our composure together, because it’s been a month since we played our last game. After that series I think that we got things rolling.”
QB JESSE ERTZ (Transcribed by Katie Karsh and Julien Demers)
How did your arm feel tonight? It looked like you were getting some things going in the passing game.
“Yeah I think I was probably – my arm was probably as strong as it’s been since the first couple weeks. Luckily you know we were pretty –running routes that aren’t very deep, so I wasn’t asked to really chuck it down field too much, so it kind of helped me out not to be kind of exposed to those things, but hit the one long one and fortunately it worked out the way it did, but it’s no excuse. My arm felt fine.”
In the pass you hit to WR Byron Pringle, it looked like you checked into that play. Can you talk about what you saw leading up to that and walk us through how good it felt to connect on that?
“Yeah we had kind of scouted them that they – when their corners press, you always see the way people, you know, let people off the line and they kind of hop inside a lot of times and not really engage. I knew B.P. had a pretty good chance at getting on top of him and they had a safety over there, but it was kind of a blurry coverage and he was really low so I knew he wasn’t going to be able to help and B.P. beat him right off the line. I was able to just put it in there not too far down field. Let him run the rest.”
You guys have had a lot of success against teams from Texas this year. What do you think about beating almost all of the big programs in Texas?
“I think that’s a really cool thing you know to accomplish, to be able to say you did. Give the fans some bragging rights, things like that, but I mean we just see them as another team. I don’t really think too much about that stuff.”
The way you bolted yourself into the end zone reminded me of the 2011 game against Texas A&M. Can you talk about the satisfaction of scoring a touchdown on that play and complete a long drive?
“It’s incredible. Just from where I was last year to this year to be on the field the whole season and just play with my friends you know and there’s no better feeling then just a long drive where you kill the clock. You know it’s 10 plays and you punch it in. There’s going to be momentum swings and you can just feel it in those moments, you know we feel like next one, we’re putting it in again and I mean that was a good moment for us.”
You had two 20-yard runs on the last scoring drive that proved to be significant plays obviously. Why do you think you guys were so effective at spreading them out and playing against their spread defense?
“Well we typically run quite a bit of quarterback run game, stuff like that. They did a pretty good job of just not giving ground. There weren’t a ton of holes for me. I think the fact that we kind of we didn’t try the quarterback run game that often, we threw it a lot and the backs were having success. They just kind of opened things up for me at the end. We kind of lulled them to sleep a little bit on that I think.”
Obviously you guys played Aggies DE Myles Garrett, one of the top prospects in the next NFL Draft. Did you guys make a conscious effort to move away from him, to scheme away from here?
“Not necessarily. Every week you play a team and they got scholarships too. Everyone’s going to have some solid pass rushers and things like that. So we would typically put a back over there or send a protection that direction to give people help. We made a little bit of an effort to make sure to give them help and not put them on one-on-one blocks.”
Can you go into how this builds into next season especially the way you guys finished 1-6 in your last seven games?
“I mean, from the start it was kind of a working progress. We knew we had pieces and a lot of talent and things to work with; it was just a matter of getting experience and getting the wrinkles worked out. Kind of getting people going, getting confidence. That’s what you saw throughout the season, it just kind of got more consistent. To have so many experiences guys come back, you know, you are going to have a more productive off-season. You know, everybody already knows what to expect and there’s no really question marks looming as far as what’s real game like. I mean, I think is very beneficial heading into next season; we got nine wins so we are expecting at least 10, so that’s kind of the way we are thinking about things.”
POSTGAME QUOTES FROM TEXAS A&M:
Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
QB Trevor Knight
DB Alex Sezer Jr.
HEAD COACH KEVIN SUMLIN (Transcribed by Stephanie Weaver and Hannah Pietsch)
Can you take us through the decision to kick the field goal rather than go for it on fourth and short at the start of the fourth quarter?
“It was a decision – he had made it during halftime and pregame so, it was right there in his range. He just got under it a little bit. We needed points, and we needed some positive momentum coming out of the half I thought. With that still being the situation – he had made that pregame, he made it at halftime. We had confidence in him. He just came up short.”
Were you hoping to use WR Christian Kirk and WR Josh Reynolds as a decoy on the fourth down pass?
“No, it was a blitz. We had one free off of one side. We got beat, there was zero coverage. It was man-to-man, and you’ve got to beat the blitz with a throw. So it was an out route to the field, and he just didn’t get it.”
Can you talk about the night that WR Josh Reynolds had for you?
“Yeah. I mean he’s a heck of a player. Last year this time, he decided to come back. I think it was worth it for him. I think he’s improved as a route runner. He’s got great hands, and it was worth it coming back this year. I think he’s increased his value. He’s had a great career here at Texas A&M for a guy that was hardly recruited. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
What do you make of this season?
“Oh, we’re not happy. Just like I said last week at the press conference. The message in there was, you know, I was thankful to these guys, to the seniors. Really wanted it to be different tonight and send them out on a really good note because of how they’ve represented this program. Didn’t get that done. The message really was for the young players that this feeling that they have in that locker room right now, basically, don’t forget that. Anytime and how we go to work from here on out, the guys that are coming back, this feeling should drive you even more throughout the spring. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are coming in here mid-year too. The guys who are here, the returning guys, they’ve got to be leaders in this program. That feeling that you have right now should help motivate us even more throughout the spring and into next year.”
What did you see from Kansas State QB Jesse Ertz and what made him so effective tonight?
“You know, he’s been doing it a lot. He got loose on some quarterback draws against really zero coverage once he broke the line of scrimmage. It was a case of tonight where we either stopped them, or we gave up a home run. The consistency level was an issue. It was really three big plays in the first half, and we couldn’t get enough stops. Offensively, we had some long fields to try to recover, and just didn’t get it done.”
How do you assess your first few years in the SEC where you are now compared to where you started?
“Every year is different. Every team is different. As a program, you want to try to get better every year. I think we’ve had some ups and downs. We’ve made some strides. We’re not anywhere near where we want to be and we’re not satisfied. That’s what football and building a program is all about – trying to learn from mistakes, trying to get better – and that’s where we are right now. Tonight’s not what you want, not what we want, but I think there’s some real motivation right now with the feelings in the locker room.”
QB TREVOR KNIGHT (Transcribed by Hannah Pietsch)
Can you encapsulate walking off the field for the last time as a college athlete and what did you say to QB Nick Starkel when you all kneeled and prayed?
“First of all, before I start, this whole week has been surreal for me. Looking back on my college career, it’s been perfect. A lot of you all would think, ‘Why is it perfect?’ It’s because I’ve been fortunate enough to go through the ups and downs and have a faith that’s helped me through that. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has taught me how to be a man, a better teammate, and a better person through all those ups and downs. And I wouldn’t trade one memory or one moment through it all. Walking off that field for the last time, I wish it would have lasted forever because I don’t want to leave this game yet. I don’t want to leave college football yet, but all good things come to an end. Like Coach (Kevin Sumlin) said, we wish that it could have ended a little bit differently tonight, but it’s been unbelievable. What Coach Sumlin has done for me this year, what Alex Sezer and the rest of the senior class has done for me this year has been unbelievable. About Nick Starkel, I told him, ‘Go have fun.’ He’s got a lot of football left ahead of him and I’m excited to watch his career pan out because it’s special getting to play this game.”
Tell us your perspective on that final play and what happened.
“I checked the out route out there, they showed zero coverage and we weren’t going to block the guy off the left side. I didn’t make the throw, or you can point your finger at a lot of different things, but we just didn’t execute it and that’s one that will probably haunt me forever. But we didn’t execute it and that’s the way the game ended up.”
DB ALEX SEZER JR. (Transcribed by Julien Demers)
Can you take us through your last game and your last opportunity to wear the maroon and white?
“It’s kind of a surreal moment. You really don’t know. Me and Trevor (Knight) discussed it: how are you going to feel? I still kind of feel like in the cloud, feel like I’m coming back next year, it’s what I’ve always done. I feel like I’m just going to keep going on. Football is not who I am, it’s what I’ve done for the past so many years. I want to thank Coach (Kevin) Sumlin and Texas A&M football. This senior class and everything they did for me, coming in basically as a no-name guy. They came and found me, and gave me a chance and I’ve been able to play for Texas A&M and be on the field since I was a freshman. It’s been great. Leaving it, just telling the young guys keep pushing. Obviously, we didn’t end the way we wanted to, but it’s a lot of fuel for next year. I’ll always have these guys’ backs and I’ll be the biggest fan next year.”