The 2021 TaxAct Texas Bowl matches up the 6-6 LSU Tigers against the 7-5 Kansas State Wildcats. The Tigers will be without starting running back Tyrion Davis-Price as he will skip the bowl and prep for the 2022 NFL Draft.
2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl Preview
The 2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl will take place on Tuesday, January 4 inside NRG Stadium in Houston. LSU had to win its final two games of the regular season to become bowl eligible. As for Kansas State, the Wildcats are on a two-game losing streak. K-State is a 4.5 point favorite on Tuesday, as LSU will be coached by interim head coach Brad Davis, who also coaches the offensive line.
What LSU Needs to Do to Leave With a Win
LSU comes into the bowl game with a 1-0 record. The lone win came in 2015 in a 56-27 blowout over Texas Tech. K-State is 1-1 all-time in the history of the Texas Bowl. In 2006, the Wildcats lost to Rutgers. Then in 2016, the program defeated former Big 12 rival Texas A&M.
Looking to the LSU offense, the Tigers will be without Davis-Price and starting quarterback Max Johnson. With Garrett Nussmeier taking his redshirt, that leaves the program with walk-on Matt O’Dowd to likely start the game. O’Dowd has no collegiate playing experience. Tigers signal-caller Myles Brennan announced his return to the team in December. However, he will not play in the Texas Bowl.
For LSU to succeed on offense, running the ball effectively will be the key. Freshman tailback Corey Kiner will likely start in the backfield. In 2021, he has rushed for 271 yards and two touchdowns on 65 attempts. Despite the low numbers, the Tigers will have to pick up yards in the ground game with the inexperience under center.
On defense, the Tigers have to win the battles at the line of scrimmage. Upfront, the defensive line has to get into the backfield and force pressure. On the outside, the defensive backs and safeties have to play standout coverage in pass protection. Not allowing the Wildcats to convert big plays will be the key for the defense.
The Offense is Key for Kansas State
For Kansas State, quarterback Skylar Thompson is expected to play on Tuesday. He suffered a lower-body injury against Baylor in the regular season but came back to play against Texas. If the Wildcats have Thompson, the offense could take advantage of the LSU defense. Kansas State is a solid passing team, and the Tigers have struggled to defend the air attack this season. The Wildcats need to have a balanced attack against this LSU defense. For that to happen, running back Deuce Vaughn has to be effective. On the season, the sophomore has rushed for 1,258 yards and 15 touchdowns on 214 attempts.
The 2022 TaxAct Texas Bowl should be a phenomenal game to prelude the College Football Playoff National Championship six days later. Both the Tigers and Wildcats are seeking a big win to end the 2021 season. A win for LSU would give the program momentum heading into Brian Kelly’s first year in 2022. However, a win for the Wildcats would push them to 8-5 on the season.