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Short-handed Tigers fall to Kansas State 42-20; first losing season since ‘99

Jontre Kirklin (13) started at quarterback for the Tigers in the Texas Bowl. Kirklin finished...
Jontre Kirklin (13) started at quarterback for the Tigers in the Texas Bowl. Kirklin finished the game with 138 yards passing and three touchdowns.(LSU Football Twitter)
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 6:07 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2022 at 11:30 PM CST
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HOUSTON (WAFB) - A short-handed LSU Tigers (6-7, 3-5 SEC) were handed an ugly loss to Kansas State (8-5, 4-5 Big 12) on Tuesday, Jan. 4 in the Texas Bowl in Houston, Texas. The Tigers suffered their first losing season since 1999 when they finished 3-8.

LSU had 39 scholarship players available against the Wildcats as many either opted-out to prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft or entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Former Lutcher high school quarterback and current Tiger wide receiver Jontre Kirklin lined up at quarterback for LSU. Kirklin finished the game with 138 yards passing, with three touchdowns and two interceptions, he also picked up 61 yards on the ground.

From the start of the game the Tigers weren’t able to stop the Kansas State offense as they finished the game with 442 yards of total offense, with All-American running back Deuce Vaughn rushing for 146 yards on 21 carries and four total touchdowns.

Quarterback Skylar Thompson was deadly for the Wildcats completing 21-of-28 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. Kansas State was 8-for-11 on third downs and 2-for-2 on fourth downs.

Kansas State would get on the board first as Thompson found Malik Knowles from 25-yards out to cap off a 11-play 75 yard drive to take a 7-0 lead in first quarter.

On the Tigers first offensive possession they would quickly go three and out and in the second quarter Kansas State would capitalize on an 18-play 71 yard scoring drive finished off with a Vaughn 1-yard score to take a 14-0 lead.

LSU would quickly give the ball back to the Wildcats as Kirklin would be intercepted by Russ Yeast and Thompson and Knowles would hook-up again for a 5-yard score to make it 21-0.

The Tigers would final get on the board before the end of the half as Kirklin found Jaray Jenkins from 23-yards out to cut the deficit to 21-7 at the half. It was Kirklin’s first career passing touchdown.

The Tigers would try and cut into the Kansas State lead as they received the ball to start the third quarter, but LSU would go three and out. The Wildcats would continue to build to their lead as Vaughn found the end zone from 18-yards out to make it 28-7 capping a seven play 61-yard drive.

Ross Elder would pick-off Kirklin and would set up another Kansas State touchdown as Thompson would find Vaughn for the short reception from two yards out to make it 35-7 in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers would be forced to punt on their next offensive drive and once again the Wildcats would capitalize as Vaughn scored his fourth touchdown of the night, third rushing from one yard out to make it 42-7.

LSU would put together an 11-play 75 yard scoring drive and would be capped off with Kirklin finding Malik Nabers from 15 yards out on fourth down to make it 42-14.

LSU was able to get on the board again late in the fourth quarter as Kirklin unloaded a deep pass and found a wide open Chris Hilton Jr. for an 81 yard touchdown, his first receiving touchdown as a Tiger. Kirklin’s 81-yard touchdown pass would be the longest of the season for LSU.

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