LSU vs

Kansas St.

at Houston
Tue, Jan 4
6:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 285
Odds: Kansas St. -5, Total: 47.5

Game Analysis

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Note: This play was released to subscribers when the line was Kansas State -5 and the line has gone up a couple of points – although I still see value on the Wildcats.

Strong Opinion – Kansas State (-5)  31   Louisiana State  19

I was already going to be leaning with Kansas State at -4.5 based on the previously reported opt-outs of superstar LB Damone Clark, DT Neil Farrell, and the news that backup QB Garrett Nussmeier didn’t want to burn his redshirt by playing in this game. Then news came out revealing the LSU depth chart for this game, which had just 39 scholarship players on it and indicating that 3 of the 4 defensive back starters that ended the season so strongly would not be playing (at least they weren’t on the depth chart, which I assume means they’re not playing). And, in addition to the secondary being gutted (starters Stingley and Ricks had left the team earlier in the season), #2 tackler LB Micah Bakerville was also not listed on the depth chart for this game. Clark had 135 tackles and 15.5 total tackles for loss, so his absence alone was significant. My algorithm projects that all of the defensive attrition results in the Tigers’ defense going from 0.6 yards per play better than average to 0.3 yppl worse than average and it’s more likely that I’m underestimating the affect of those absent players.

LSU will also be down to their #4 and #5 quarterbacks with starter Max Johnson transferring and Nussmeier deciding not to play (and projected 2021 starter Myles Brennan not ready to play after missing the regular season with an injury). The Tigers’ top running back is also out, which is a negative given that Tyrion Davis-Price, who declared for the NFL draft, averaged 4.8 ypr while his two backups averaged just 4.3 ypr. The Tigers weren’t going to be able to run against a very good Kansas State run defense anyway, but I suspect they may run some Wildcat formations with a receiver or back taking direct snaps – especially if the inexperienced quarterbacks aren’t effective. Whether that will work or not is the question, but I’ll assume it won’t make a difference.

Skylar Thompson will be back at quarterback for Kansas State, after missing the regular season finale, and the rest of the Wildcats are reportedly intact.

The absent defensive players are worth 6.1 points according to my algorithm, but it could be more given how deep the Tigers will need to count on reserves in the secondary that barely played this season. The offense figures to be significantly worse too (about 4 points), as would have been the case even if Nussmeier were playing, as he completed just 51% of his 57 passes and averaged just 4.7 yards per pass play. If the backups are that bad then LSU will be even worse than projected (I project 5.4 yppp for the Tigers).

With all the adjustments my math favors Kansas State by 12.2 points with a total of 50.4 points. Kansas State is a Strong Opinion at -7 -115 or better.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • LSU
  • Kansas St.


  • Run Plays 30.0 32.3
  • Run Yards 135.9 160.7
  • YPRP 4.5 5.0


  • Pass Comp 21.7 20.8
  • Pass Att 35.9 32.7
  • Comp % 60.3% 63.5%
  • Pass Yards 267.5 231.4
  • Sacks 3.1 3.1
  • Sack Yards 19.7 21.1
  • Sack % 7.9% 8.6%
  • Pass Plays 39.0 35.8
  • Net Pass Yards 247.8 210.3
  • YPPP 6.4 5.9


  • Total Plays 69.0 68.0
  • Total Yards 383.8 371.0
  • YPPL 5.6 5.5


  • Int 0.7 0.7
  • Int % 1.9% 2.1%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.4
  • Turnovers 1.1 1.1
  • Points 27.1 25.3
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