Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
HOUSTON, TX: A decimated LSU football team took it on the chin Tuesday night, falling to the Kansas State Wildcats, 42-20 in the TaxAct Texas Bowl in Houston, Texas.
With the loss LSU will finish the 2021 season with a 6-7 record, the first losing season for the Tigers since 1999.
Kansas State started driving the nails into the coffin early as they would score touchdowns on their first three possessions showing LSU no mercy on either side of the ball.
Defensively, Kansas State loaded the box all night long, daring the quarterbackless Tigers to throw the football. With Jontre Kirklin being forced into the starting quarterback role, the offense sputtered throughout the night.
Offensively, the Wildcats basically did whatever they wanted against an outmanned LSU defense. K-State running back Deuce Vaughn had a big night, running through the Tigers' defense for 146 yards and three touchdowns while adding another on a two yard touchdown catch. Quarterback Skylar Thompson found receivers running free through the LSU secondary throughout the contest, completing passes to ten different players as he finished 21-28 for 259 yards and three touchdowns. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on six of their nine possessions.
Even though LSU only had 38 scholarship players dressed out for the contest, the Tigers battled hard until the final play of the game.
Jontre Kirklin gave his all, finishing 7-11 for 138 yards passing with three touchdown passes and two interceptions
while leading the team in rushing with 61 yards on 11 carries.
Brad Davis praised Kirklin after the game. "He is the epitome of a selfless kid. He probably didn't have the career he expected to coming out of high school, but he never complained or wavered or thought of transferring or quit. In fact, he was the opposite."
With not much room to run, Corey Kiner (53 yards on 14 carries) and Josh Williams (32 yards on 7 carries) both ran hard, fighting for every inch.
Malik Nabers finished with two catches, with one coming on a 15 yard touchdown,.. Jaray Jenkins finished with one catch for a 23 yard touchdown,.. and Chris Hilton had one catch for an 81 yard touchdown on the final play of the game.
There weren't many defensive highlights, but even though Kansas State's offense had their way all night long, you never saw any quit from a Tiger on defense. They fought, scratched and clawed until the end. Todd Harris and Jay Ward both led the team with nine tackles each,.. B.J. Ojulari and Pig Cage each finished the game with six tackles and one sack each...
"The future at LSU is extremely bright." Brad Davis said. "The kids we have at LSU love LSU. Coach Kelly is going to take these kids to new heights. My message to the kids after the game was remember this feeling and let it drive you to be better."