Outside the Region Bowl Special: The Sugar Bowl

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tyler Kaufman/AP/Shutterstock (13612789p) Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La Alabama LSU Football, Baton Rouge, United States – 05 Nov 2022

Outside the Region Bowl Special: The Sugar Bowl


No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 9 Kansas State

Game Time: 11 a.m. CT

TV/Radio: ESPN, Sirius XM 83 & 190

This will likely be one of the more physical bowl games of the season. Both teams run the football exceptionally well and are coming off seasons where they just missed something more significant, the College Football Playoff. This is only the second time that Alabama has missed the playoff, and if it were not for two losses by a combined four points, they would be in. Kansas State won the Big 12 championship, and it still did not get them into the playoff as a three-loss team.

Alabama expects to have all of its stars for this game, which means Bryce Young, Will Anderson, Jahmyr Gibbs, etc., are likely to play in this game. With that said, Alabama heads into the game as a solid favorite and with a chip on its shoulder. Despite missing the playoff, Alabama remains one of the most balanced teams in the country. Their offense is multidimensional, with Bryce Young, one of the country’s most dynamic players and likely a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL draft. They are tied for fourth in scoring offense and average nearly 500 yards of offense per game. Young threw 27 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 11 games this season while completing 64.1% of his throws. The Crimson Tide will come into the game with an extra element available in their offense and a pick-your-poison-type defense that Kansas State will struggle with. If Alabama can control the clock, they should have no problem taking the win.

Kansas State will start Will Howard at quarterback. Howard took over as the starter after injuries sidelined Adrian Martinez for much of the second half of the season. However, Howard has shown the ability to produce in a big way without turning the ball over. The Big 12 put out a great product this year, and Howard found a way to compete in it. He finished the season throwing 15 touchdowns and just two picks in six games. It looks like Martinez will be healthy enough to play and has practiced for the last week, so expect head coach Chris Klieman and his offensive staff to design some packages for Martinez to add another wrinkle to the Wildcats’ offense. With that said, the primary contributor for Kansas State has been star running back Deuce Vaughn. Vaughn has rushed for over 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging over five yards per carry. He has been the focal point of their offense all season and is the key to a potential victory for the Wildcats. Kansas State ranks among the best in the country on the ground while averaging over 30 points per game. The key to their success has been controlling the pace of place with Vaughn on the ground and keeping the other team off the field. If they can accomplish that, even Alabama can struggle to stay consistent.

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