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Kansas State Wildcats’ Texas Bowl opponent LSU down to one scholarship quarterback

·2 min read
Gerald Herbert/AP

When LSU defeated Texas A&M in the final game of the regular season to secure bowl eligibility, Ed Orgeron was the head coach and Max Johnson was the starting quarterback.

Neither will be with the Tigers when they play Kansas State at the Texas Bowl next month in Houston.

Johnson announced plans to enter his name in the NCAA transfer portal on Tuesday, which means he will finish his college career elsewhere after throwing for 2,814 yards and 27 touchdowns for LSU as a sophomore.

His departure will make things interesting for the Wildcats as they begin preparing for the Tigers. Myles Brennan also entered the portal earlier this season. That leaves Garrett Nussmeier, a freshman who has only played in four games, as the lone scholarship quarterback remaining on the LSU roster.

Nussmeier has more potential than the typical third-string quarterback. The 6-foot-2 pro-style passer was a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Flower Mound, Texas, and he chose the Tigers over 27 other schools, including Miami, Penn State and Texas.

But he only attempted 57 passes this season, completing 29 of them for 329 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. K-State won’t have much video to study of him.

There is no guarantee that Nussmeier starts for LSU in the postseason, though. Nussmeier will need to burn his redshirt in order to play in the game. Perhaps the Tigers would prefer to protect his redshirt and use a walk-on instead.

That is a decision interim coach Brad Davis will need to make with Nussmeier and newly hired head coach Brian Kelly, who will lead the Tigers onto the field next season.

K-State enters the Texas Bowl will much more stability at its quarterback position.

The Wildcats are expecting Skylar Thompson to close out his college career in Houston, but he has been slow to fully recover from a left ankle injury he suffered against Baylor. So K-State is using its early bowl practices to get extra work for Will Howard, Jaren Lewis and Jake Rubley.

“We’re practicing young guys this weekend,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said. “I don’t think Skylar would be able to practice if we practiced today. So, we’ll have everybody ready. I don’t know if that’s going to be Will and Jaren and Jake, who are practicing this weekend or by next weekend if it’s Skylar. It’s all hands on deck this week with the quarterback position for this game.”

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