Cats roll the Tigers, that’s all there is to it. In a game that featured multiple opt-outs and injuries on one side, the other side came out to prove a point. For a team with multiple seniors, some sixth-year seniors, this game meant everything. Behind a big offensive effort, the Kansas State Wildcats defeated the LSU Tigers 42-20. Skylar Thompson was named the game’s MVP after completing 75 percent of his throws for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Wildcats finished their season 8-5, while the Tigers finished at 6-7.
The Kansas State Wildcats were not known for lighting up the scoreboard this year. The Wildcats came into the Texas Bowl averaging 26.3 points per game. That changed Tuesday night as the Wildcats put up 42 points. All of this came on the heels of a change at offensive coordinator. Former Heisman finalist Collin Klein assumed the role of offensive coordinator following the Wildcats’ last regular-season game against the Texas Longhorns. Klein called a great game, leading the Wildcats to an impressive 442 total yards. While Skylar Thompson was named the game’s MVP, and rightfully so, Deuce Vaughn also had an impressive performance. Coupled with a great passing game, Vaughn led the Wildcats rushing game which totaled 183 yards on the day. Despite facing loaded defensive boxes, the Wildcats were able to run the ball effectively, averaging 5.4 yards per rush.
Filling in Nicely
The LSU Tigers were put into a difficult position. Even though a lot of teams would have decided to opt out of their bowl game with only 39 scholarship players, LSU played. And that is very commendable. Not only did the Tigers play without multiple players who opted out, but they also faced injuries. Also worth noting, LSU did not have a scholarship quarterback entering the game. As opposed to using a walk-on quarterback, LSU started wide receiver, Jontre Kirklin. Kirklin had a solid game, throwing for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns, and rushing for 61 more yards. LSU’s run game was also impressive, rushing for 170 yards on the day.
Skylar Thompson: In his final game in a Wildcat uniform, Thompson shined. Although he was banged up for most of the season, Thompson was healthy against LSU. Thompson threw for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. He threw for another 101 yards and a touchdown in the second half en route to leading the Wildcats to a victory. Thompson was named the TaxAct Texas Bowl MVP following the game.
Deuce Vaughn: Vaughn solidified himself as one of the top running backs in the nation on Tuesday. He finished his stellar season with 146 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on 7 yards per carry. Not only did Vaughn get 3 rushing touchdowns, but he also added a receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter. Vaughn ended the season with the second-most total touchdowns amongst all Power 5 running backs.
Ross Elder: Defensive back Ross Elder had a career day against the Tigers. Elder finished with 11 total tackles and 1 interception. Facing a run-heavy LSU team, Elder did a great job coming up in run support from his safety position.
Quote of the Night
Following the 42-20 victory over LSU, Skylar Thompson was asked about the game. His response was, “Holy smokes, I couldn’t have drawn up a better way to finish”. Thompson finished his Kansas State career as the winningest quarterback in school history.
LSU will head into the 2022 season looking to revamp its football program. Following a National Championship in the 2019 season, the Tigers have gone a combined 11-12 in the last two seasons. Recently hired Brian Kelly will look to turn things around for the Tigers next season.
Kansas State has a lot to look forward to in 2022. Although the Wildcats are losing a great senior class, plenty of talent will return next year. Head coach Chris Klieman will look to continue the momentum from the Texas Bowl into next season.
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