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LSU’s offense was not good this season. TO say it was a far cry from its National Championship team in 2019 would be a huge understatement. Still, Max Johnson provided stability at the quarterback position – throwing for 2,815 yards (60.3 percent completions), 27 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.
But Johnson entered the transfer portal in early December (he’s going to Texas A&M) and the other fifth-year seniors Myles Brennan isn’t currently on the roster and with former coach Ed Orgeron having left, interim coach Brad Davis hasn’t even alluded to who may take over.
The Tigers have a single scholarship quarterback on their roster, freshman Garrett Nussmeier, but he would have to burn his redshirt in order to play. Because of that, the school has asked for a waiver, but it’s not even clear if Nussmeier traveled with the team.
Point being – it’s a complete tossup.
That will make the rushing attack all the more important, which brings up more bad news for the Tigers as running back Tyrion Davis-Price – who rushed for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns – opted out of the game.
To make matters worse, they go against a very formidable Kansas State defense. The Wildcats finished 29th in the nation allowing just 22.1 points per game – the three names to watch out for are defensive backs Russ Yeast and Jahron McPherson and linebacker Daniel Green.
The offense wasn’t great this year, but it was decent enough to keep the Wildcats in most games this year and that was large because of the unit’s No. 1 weapon, running back Deuce Vaughn.
Vaughn was a workhorse in 2021, rushing 214 times for 1,258 yards (5.9 yards per carrying) and 15 touchdowns, while also serving as a threat in the passing game with another 471 yards and three touchdowns.
He really came on at the end of the season, too, racking up 832 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns over the team’s final five games.
Vaughn came up just three yards short of being the team’s leading receiver – an honor that went to junior Phillip Brooks. Brooks is a shifty slot receiver, standing just 5-foot-7, but he caught 38 passes for a team-best 474 yards and two scores.
But truthfully, this passing offense doesn’t put much fear in anyone. Senior Skylar Thompson completed a career-best 68.8 percent of his passes, but that netted just 1,854 yards and nine touchdowns compared to four interceptions.
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For LSU, we’re going to watch the rushing attack and see who steps up and maybe emerges as a front-runner to be a starter next season.
Corey Kiner will likely get the first shot at that – the freshman from Cincinnati ran 65 times this year for 271 yards and two touchdowns, though both scores came in non-conference play against lower-level teams in September.
As for Kansas State, we’re going to circle the name Daniel Imatorbhebhe. He caught just 10 balls this year but made the most of them, tallying 279 yards and two scores. Don’t be surprised if he catches a deep shot or two as his size – 6-foot-4, 240 pounds – poses the best matchup against an athletic LSU defense.
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|Louisiana State Tigers vs Kansas State Wildcats Information|
|Teams||Louisiana State Tigers vs Kansas State Wildcats|
|Location||NRG Stadium, Houston, TX|
|Time||Tuesday, Jan. 4,9:00 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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