Team Alert

Ford Keys to the Game - 2021 TaxAct Texas Bowl

(7-5) KANSAS STATE v. (6-6) LSU

Kansas State Offense v. LSU Defense

Kansas State Offense

Passing Offense - 194.6 ypg (98th in the nation)

Rushing Offense - 160.7 ypg (70th)

Total Offense - 355.3 ypg (100th)

Scoring Offense - 26.3 ppg (82nd)

Key Players to Watch

RB #22 Deuce Vaughn - The Most Exciting Player in CFB in 2021

QB #7 Skylar Thompson - Injured throughout 2021, he’s apparently trending in the right direction to play

OT #50 Cooper Beebe - 1st Team All-Big 12 OL in 2021, physical with excellent technique and a masher in the run game

LSU Defense

Passing Defense - 234.9 ypg (75th in the nation) 

Rushing Defense - 137.3 ypg (43rd)

Total Defense - 372.2 ypg (60th)

Scoring Defense - 25.3 ppg (57th)

Key Players to Watch

DT #97 Glen Logan - Returned after missing first six games to make an impact in the middle

LB #23 Micah Baskerville - Should take over as the leader of the defense with Damone Clark opting out of the bowl game to focus on the NFL Draft

Edge #8 B.J. Ojulari - 6.0 sacks, has immense potential but hasn’t produced a sack since October

Ford Keys to the Game

1. Beebe v. Ojulari will be a future draft prospect studying dream, but also a key matchup given the injury status of Thompson at QB. Beebe has handled a ton of physical rushers in the Big 12, but Ojulari has some twitch and speed that could be tough to corral.

2. Vaughn will be a major thorn in the side of the LSU defense given the fact that tackling is the one thing that doesn’t get worked on much in bowl practices or a lot of other times, actually. Then again, when Vaughn has the rock in his hands out in space, all the tackling work in the world doesn’t help opposing defenders.

3. Can Kansas State hit some explosives over the top of the LSU defense? The Tigers are a bit more aggressive on defense having switched to more of a 3-4 look that paid off as the Tigers gave up no more than 24 points in any of the last four contests. With a few weeks to prepare, can Kansas State’s interim OC Collin Klein make the adjustments needed against the revamped LSU defense?


LSU Offense

Passing Offense - 264.1 ypg (32nd in the nation)

Rushing Offense - 109.4 ypg (117th)

Total Offense - 373.5 ypg (88th)

Scoring Offense - 27.1 ppg (78th)

Key Players to Watch

RB #21 Corey Kiner - With RB Tyrion Davis-Price seemingly opting out of the bowl, Kiner should see his fair share of carries.

WR #80 Jack Bech - True freshman finished with 43 catches for 489 yards and three TD.

QB #5 Garrett Nussmeier - Will LSU burn his redshirt? He was the only scholarship QB on the roster after Max Johnson decided to transfer until Myles Brennan returned. But, Brennan probably won’t play. It’s a conundrum to say the least but I really hope we see Nussmeier.

Kansas State Defense

Passing Defense - 221.7 ypg (57th in the nation)

Rushing Defense - 126.3 ypg (29th)

Total Defense - 348.0 ypg (36th)

Scoring Defense - 21.1 ppg (26th)

Key Players to Watch

Edge #91 Felix Anudike-Uzomah - 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2021, 11.0 sacks

LB #22 Daniel Green - led Wildcats in tackles (83), had 14.0 TFL

S #2 Russ Yeast - 1st Team All-Big 12, FLIES around and makes a ton of plays

Ford Keys to the Game

1) Kansas State #91 is a problem, a major, MAJOR issue. He’s relentless with length and tons of twitch and power. His bend is outrageous. With an inexperienced QB under center, FA-U could easily take over the game.

2) If Nussmeier does in fact take the lead and start, how does LSU’s offensive staff protect him without stifling him? Against Ole Miss, Nussmeier didn’t look as if he needed his hand held. He can throw on the move. He can stick the ball into tight spaces. He can throw with touch. LSU can’t hold him back but they can’t let him hang in the wind, either.

3) Kiner is a taller, bigger Vaughn. So, Kansas State’s defense won’t be shocked to see the twitchy, electric freshman Tiger runner. That said, #21 has absurd twitch and shake in space.

Overall and Prediction
This bowl game has so many different story lines, starting with the quarterbacks. Thompson does appear as if he’s going to find a way to play in this game and his presence changes things for the Wildcat offense. Look, he’s not Bryce Young, but he’s experienced, tough and the point man for that offense. With Nussmeier on the other side, I could see him actually have some success early, but the Wildcat pass rush, led by FA-U, will eventually put pressure on the young LSU gunslinger that forces a key turnover that turns the game. Vaughn v. Kiner will be fun to watch, but Vaughn will make a couple of key plays, along with an important Thompson completion late in the game, that’ll give the Wildcats a win to end the 2021 season.

Kansas State - 21 vs. LSU - 17