Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder commended Jesse Ertz for his play against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Ertz led the Wildcats in rushing yards (153), rushing attempts (30) and rushing touchdowns (3) while also completing 12 of 18 passes for 87 yards in a 43-37 loss to the Cowboys, but his strong outing went beyond numbers. He played through a heavy heart to give his team a chance at victory.
“I thought Jesse played well,” Snyder said. “He had some family issues that could have been pretty distracting, but his tough mindedness overcame that.”
Those family issues revolved around Ertz’s older sister, Lydia Gatton, who is being treated for a brain tumor on her frontal lobe, according to a gofundme page that Ertz linked to on social media. The tumor was discovered Wednesday following a seizure, according to the page. She is receiving treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The page, created to help Gatton pay medical expenses related to her treatment, had raised nearly $5,000 as of Sunday afternoon. It describes Gatton as being “in high spirits” and “ready to get this tumor taken care of.”
Ertz did not speak with media following the game, but he celebrated touchdowns by forming a heart with his hands, an apparent nod to his sister.
Ertz nearly led K-State to a come-from-behind victory against then No. 22 Oklahoma State by driving the Wildcats to within three yards of the end zone in the final seconds. But a pass-interference penalty pushed K-State back to the 18 for its final play, and the game ended with an interception by Oklahoma State’s Jordan Sterns.
“Jesse kept us calm,” right tackle Dalton Risner said, “and we did our best. We did everything we could. We got down to the 3-yard line and just came up short.”
K-State will do its best to rally around Ertz before its next game at Baylor on Nov. 19.
“Jesse played a great game,” Risner said. “He is a heck of a player. I look up to Jesse in a various amount of ways. I really respect him and love him. I think he played a tremendous game.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett