Five things to know about the LSU Tigers as K-State begins preparing for Texas Bowl

·3 min read

For Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman, one of the most exciting things about playing in the Texas Bowl next month is matching up against a traditional powerhouse.

The Wildcats will face the LSU Tigers at 8 p.m. Jan. 4 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

That is a game that doesn’t usually show up on either team’s schedule.

“They are not far removed from the national championship,” Klieman said Sunday. “There is so much prestige and history behind LSU football. It excites me. I know it is going to excite our staff and our team to play against a high caliber SEC team that everyone has talked about and heard about. It will be a tremendous challenge, because they have got really talented players.”

Here are five things to know about LSU before it plays K-State in the Texas Bowl.

Coaching change on the bayou

Ed Orgeron was the Tigers’ coach when they finished out the regular season with a victory over Texas A&M.

Brian Kelly will be the Tigers’ coach when they begin the 2022 season next fall.

But neither of them will be coaching for LSU in Houston.

Offensive line coach Brad Davis will serve as the interim head coach. That could make it difficult for K-State to game plan against the Tigers. But it could also make things challenging for LSU to adjust over the next month. The Tigers finished 6-6 and 3-5 in the SEC. They needed to beat the Aggies last week just to qualify for the postseason.

Up-and down season for the Tigers

LSU finished the regular season with some impressive victories and some head-scratching losses.

The Tigers beat Florida, Texas A&M and Mississippi State. Those were all good results. They also were competitive in losses against Arkansas, Auburn and Alabama. No shame there.

But they also started 4-6, and that’s simply not good enough at a blueblood program that won a national championship in 2019. So LSU fired Orgeron in the middle of the season.

Rare game between purple teams

It’s rare for K-State to take the field against another team that wears purple outside of its Big 12 rivalry with TCU.

But it will happen at the Texas Bowl. LSU wears purple and yellow.

They have only played once before. It happened in 1980 and LSU won that game 21-0.

Pass-oriented Tigers

The Tigers don’t intimidate anyone on the ground.

LSU averaged just 3.2 yards per rush this season, which resulted in only 109.5 rushing yards per game. Outside of running back Tyrion Davis-Prince, who has rushed for 922 yards and six touchdowns, it has struggled to run for first downs this year.

Their offense is known much more for its passing ability behind quarterback Max Johnson. The sophomore has thrown for 2,814 yards and 27 touchdowns this season. He doesn’t make many mistakes and only threw six interceptions.

His top receiving option, Kayshon Boutte, had a season-ending injury six games into the season. The Tigers’ No. 2 receiver is Jack Bech, who has caught 43 passes for 489 yards and three touchdowns.

King of the Tigers’ defense

K-State coaches will need to figure out a way to run plays away from LSU linebacker Damone Clark. The senior was a defensive force for the Tigers this year, finishing the regular season with a whopping 135 tackles, which included 5 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

But there is talent everyone on that defense.

BJ Ojulari led LSU with sacks this season. Micah Baskerville ranked second on the team with 83 tackles.

The Tigers are allowing 3.8 yards per rush and 234.8 passing yards per game.

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