College Bowl Game Preview: LSU vs. Kansas State

Jan 4, 2022

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Game: LSU Tigers vs. Kansas State Wildcats  

Time: 9:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Tigers +7, Wildcats -7 

Total: 47.5 

This is it. It’s the final bowl game of the college football season. LSU (6-6) takes on Kansas State (7-5) in the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston. The two teams got here following different paths. Kansas State was 7-3 before losing its final two games to Baylor and Texas. LSU was 4-6 and found a way to beat Louisiana and rival Texas A&M to become bowl-eligible. 

The Tigers program has fallen hard in the past two seasons. Remember, LSU was the 2019 national champion, but two so-so seasons resulted in head coach Ed Orgeron being let go. LSU welcomed former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly to run the program. He will not coach the bowl game though. That job is left to interim head coach Brad Davis.  

The first thing Davis has to do is find a quarterback. Starter Max Johnson left the program amidst all the changes and is now at Texas A&M. Even with Johnson, the Tigers’ offense wasn’t all that potent. For the season, LSU averaged 373.5 yards of offense per game. The Tigers scored 27.1 points per game this season. In losses to Ole Miss, Alabama, and Arkansas; LSU scored 17, 14, and 13 points. In their final two games, LSU scored 27 points in each game. 

Like LSU, Kansas State’s offense is nothing flashy. It is built around the running game and the Wildcats averaged 355.7 yards of offense and 26.3 points per game. It was the Wildcats offense that failed them in their final two games of the season. Kansas State lost to eventual Big 12 champ Baylor 20-10 and to Texas 22-17.

The Wildcats defense, on the other hand, is what led to the team’s successes over the course of the season. Kansas State allowed 21.1 points per game, which ranked 29th in the country overall. The Wildcats allowed more than 24 points just three times all season. All three of those games were losses – 31-20 to Oklahoma State, 37-31 to Oklahoma, and 33-20 to Iowa State. 

It’s no surprise then that both LSU and Kansas State trend Under in-game totals. Both teams’ offenses are challenged and LSU will have to break in a new quarterback. Both defenses are pretty solid. The Tigers allowed 372.2 yards of offense and 25.3 points per game. Over the course of the final five games of the season, LSU and its opponent combined for an average of 40.6 points. Four of those five games saw the total go Under. 

It’s a similar story for Kansas State. The total in the final six Wildcats games went Under five times. In those five games, the average combined final score was 41.6 points.  

Neither team is all that great against the spread. LSU is just 1-2-1 ATS in the four games in which they were a single-digit underdog this season. Kansas State is 3-1 ATS as a single-digit favorite this season.