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PFF Stats Preview: Texas A&M vs. Kansas State

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PFF dives into the statistics of the Texas Bowl teams to let us know what to expect.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M vs Arkansas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M Top Graded Players This Season

Offense Defense
Offense Defense
Josh Reynolds, WR (80.8) Myles Garrett, EDGE (91.8)
Erik McCoy, C (76.3) Claude George, LB (82.1)
Trayveon Williams, HB (75.7) Shaan Washington, LB (82.0)

Kansas State Top Graded Players This Season

Offense Defense
Offense Defense
Dalton Risner, RT (84.9) Jordan Willis, EDGE (94.6)
Terrale Johnson, RG (82.5) D.J. Reed, CB (84.1)
Jesse Ertz, QB (79.6) Will Geary, NT (84.1)

When Kansas State has the ball...

  • The right side of the offensive line has been a strength of this Kansas State team all season, with right tackle Dalton Risner (84.9) and right guard Terrale Johnson (82.5) leading the offense in overall grade. Risner (6th) and Johnson (14th) each rank among the best at their position this season in run block grade and have been solid in pass protection as well, only surrendering a combined 22 pressures this season. The Wildcats rushing attack has been one of the top units in the country and ranks 6th in overall rushing grade, however the Aggie defense has made great strides in defending the run and finished 33rd in overall run defense grade this season.
  • Quarterback Jesse Ertz has been an integral part of Kansas State’s success on the ground this year and ranked fourth among the nation’s quarterbacks with his 94.8 rushing grade. Ertz has rushed for 679 yards on 98 designed runs this season while picking up another 361 yards on 30 quarterback scrambles. The A&M defense, which has whiffed on 160 tackles this season, will need sure tackling against Ertz who has forced 27 missed tackles of his own.
  • As dominant as he’s been on the ground, Ertz has not been a very effective passer this season, earning just a 63.9 pass grade. The deep ball shouldn’t be much of a threat to the Aggie secondary as Ertz ranks 128th out of 130 qualifying QBs with a 37.2 passer rating on deep pass attempts. His numbers have really suffered when facing pressure this season, posting a 39.3 completion percentage and 47.0 rating on pressured dropbacks. The A&M defense should be able to take advantage of Ertz’s struggles under pressure as defensive ends Myles Garrett (50) and Daeshon Hall (39) each rank among the top 21 players at their position this season in total pressures. As a unit, the Aggies boast the 7th highest graded pass-rushing group in the nation this season.

When Texas A&M has the ball...

  • Wide receiver Josh Reynolds has been Texas A&M’s most dependable player on offense in 2016 and finished as the SEC’s highest graded receiver this season. His 398 receiving yards on deep pass attempts led the conference, while teammate Christian Kirk (361) ranked fourth. Outside of cornerback D.J. Reed (84.1), the Kansas State secondary has largely struggled this year. Cornerback Duke Shelley ranks among the nation’s worst with his 41.3 coverage grade while he and safety Dante Barnett have combined to allow 14 touchdowns into their coverage this season.
  • Center Erik McCoy was the lone bright spot on the Aggie offensive line this year, leading the nation’s centers with his 99.7 pass blocking efficiency rating (PBE). McCoy allowed just two total pressures on 454 pass block snaps, however the rest of the offensive line did not fare as well and ranked 96th in the country with a combined 83.9 PBE rating. Against Kansas State they will be tasked with slowing down Jordan Willis, the highest graded edge defender in the nation this season. Willis ranked third nationally with his 71 total pressures and displayed an extremely balanced game all year, ranking first in pass-rush grade (94.2) and second in run defense (88.1) among all players at his position.
  • Though his production slowed some late in the season, running back Trayveon Williams had an impressive freshman campaign. One of the more explosive backs in the country, Williams ranked 33rd in both elusive rating (90.7) and breakaway percentage (48.6) this season and provided a much-needed homerun threat to the A&M offense. When healthy, quarterback Trevor Knight was an integral piece to the run game as well, totaling 499 yards on 53 designed QB runs. The Aggies will need both Williams and Knight to regain their early season form against Kansas State as the Wildcats ranked 26th in the country in run defense grade this year. Nose tackle Will Geary was a highly effective run stopper for Kansas State and ranked 13th at his position this season with 28 total run stops. Between Geary (87.0 run defense grade), Jordan Willis (88.1) and linebacker Charmeachealle Moore (78.6), the Wildcats have a host of talented run defenders.