TaxAct Texas Bowl
K-State vs. LSU
Date: Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Kickoff: 8 p.m.
Location: Houston, Texas
Stadium: NRG Stadium (70,000)
Series: LSU Leads, 1-0
CATS, TIGERS TUSSLE IN FINAL BOWL GAME OF 2021
Kansas State is back in the bowl scene after a one-year hiatus as the Wildcats were rewarded for their seven-win regular season with their 23rd bowl berth all-time and will take on LSU in the TaxAct Texas Bowl. The game is slated for an 8 p.m., kickoff on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, inside NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Wildcats and Tigers will meet for just the second time ever and the first in 41 seasons, as K-State fell at LSU, 21-0, to open the 1980 season.
K-State is in the Texas Bowl for the third time, having played in the inaugural game in 2006 and topping Texas A&M, 33-28, in 2016. It is the eighth time the Wildcats will play a bowl game in the state of Texas, while they are playing an SEC opponent in a bowl for a fifth time. The TaxAct Texas Bowl is the second bowl game under head coach Chris Klieman, making him the first coach in school history to lead his team to two bowl games in his first three season at the helm. He is also the first coach in K-State history to guide the Wildcats to at least seven wins twice in his first three seasons.
The Wildcats are one of just 25 Power 5 teams in the nation to advance to at least 10 bowl games in the last 12 seasons and one of four from the Big 12, joining Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats have won two of their last three bowl games – which includes the 2016 Texas Bowl – and will be looking for three bowl wins in a four-game span for the first time since 1999-2002.
A LOOK AT K-STATE
• Kansas State raced out to a 3-0 start in 2021, highlighted by a season-opening 24-7 win over Stanford at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in addition to an impressive 38-17 victory against Nevada, which finished the year with an 8-4 record and boasts a potential first-round NFL Draft pick at quarterback. Big 12 play began with three losses against teams that were either ranked in the top-25 at the time or were a preseason top-25 team.
• However, K-State was able to right the ship and rattle off four-straight wins, its second-straight season with a four-game winning streak in conference play. The streak began with a gusty 25-24 victory at Texas Tech, a game in which K-State trailed, 24-10, at halftime before pitching a second-half shutout against a Red Raider team that eventually reached the postseason. The Wildcats then came home and throttled TCU, 31-12, as they limited an explosive Horned Frog team that 34.3 points per game entering the contest.
• Kansas State opened the month of November by winning its 13th-straight game against Kansas to retain the Governor’s Cup. The 13-straight wins over KU is tied for the fourth-longest active streak by a team against any one opponent in a series that has been contested each year since at least 2009. K-State then turned around and topped West Virginia – another bowl team this season – 34-17 as the Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak to the Mountaineers.
• The Wildcats will enter the TaxAct Texas Bowl on a two-game slide after they dropped the final two regular-season games by two or less scores. The Wildcats held a potent Baylor offense – which led the Bears to a Big 12 Championship and a berth into the Sugar Bowl – to just 20 points after averaging 35.4 points per game entering the contest, as K-State fell, 20-10. The Cats then lost at Texas, 22-17, on a short turnaround as they played the day after Thanksgiving.
• The Wildcats were led during the regular season by a pair of sophomores – one on each side of the ball – as running back and all-purpose player Deuce Vaughn was named a First Team All-American by several publications, while defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah was one of the nation’s top pass rushers this season.
• Vaughn enters the TaxAct Texas Bowl ranked eighth in school history in single-season rushing yards with 1,258, while he enters the postseason as one of only two players in the nation with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards this season. Anudike-Uzomah enters the bowl game ranked first in the nation in forced fumbles (6), while he is ninth in the nation and second in the Big 12 in sacks (11.0) and second in the Big 12 in tackles for loss (14.5). A First Team All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches, Anudike-Uzomah tied a school record with 4.0 sacks against TCU. He is a half sack shy of tying the school record for sacks, and he enters the TaxAct Texas Bowl tied for the school record in forced fumbles.
A LOOK AT LSU
• LSU finished the regular season with a 6-6 record, including a 3-5 mark in conference play to tie for fifth place in the SEC West. The Tigers won their final two games to get bowl eligible – a 27-14 win against ULM and a 27-24 upset victory over 14th-ranked Texas A&M.
• The Tigers have averaged 27.1 points per game this season while giving up 25.3 per game. Tyrion Davis-Price has rushed for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns, while LSU’s quarterback situation is uncertain following the transfer of starter Max Johnson after the regular season.
• On defense, the Tigers are giving up 137.3 yards per game on the ground and 234.9 through the air. Damone Clark, a Second Team All-America pick, leads the way with a SEC-best 135 tackles on the year, including 15.5 for losses, while BJ Ojulari leads the way with 6.0 sacks. Freshmen defensive end Maason Smith and wide receiver Malik Nabers were also named to the Freshman All-SEC team. Offensive guard Ed Ingram and placekicker Cade York were also named second team All-SEC selections.