Allstate Sugar Bowl Preview and Prediction: Alabama vs. Kansas State
Here is everything you need to know about the 2022 Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Kansas State Wildcats.
Saturday, December 31, 2022; 11:00 a.m. CT; Caesars Superdome; New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Dusty Dvoracek, Tom Luginbill)
Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber, Matt Walters)
Records: Alabama (10-2, 6-2 SEC); Kansas State (10-3, 7-2 Big 12)
Rankings: Alabama ranked No. 5 (CFP Top 25); Kansas State ranked No. 9
Last Week: Alabama 30, Mississippi State 6; Kansas State 31, TCU 28
Series History: No Previous Matchups
Last Meeting: N/A
Favorite: Alabama (-7)
Fun Fact: This game will mark the first time that Kansas State has appeared in the Sugar Bowl in its history. K-State is looking for its first New Years’ Six bowl victory since 1997 when Bill Snyder’s Wildcats defeated Syracuse 35-18 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
QB Bryce Young
Bryce Young, the winner of the 2021 Heisman Trophy, is one of the biggest keys to this game, and according to reports he is expected to play in this game. Young is viewed as one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, and has been phenomenal in his time with the Tide. In three seasons (only 22 pass attempts in 2020), Young has passed for 8,035 yards and 75 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions, and has completed 65.6% of his passes.
LB Will Anderson
Tide superstar linebacker Will Anderson is also expected to play in the Sugar Bowl, which could be problematic for the Wildcats’ offensive tackles. Anderson has been wreaking havoc in opposing backfields for three seasons now and has been one of the most efficient pass rushers this sport has seen in a while. Anderson projects as a high first-rounder in this year’s draft and has put together quite a career in Tuscaloosa, totaling 34.5 sacks over three seasons.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
RB Duece Vaughn
I’m certain that Alabama has yet to see anyone this season that resembles what they will see when Deuce Vaughn trots out on the field on New Year’s Eve. In 2022, Vaughn has rushed for 1,425 yards and eight touchdowns, adding 378 receiving yards and three more scores through the air. His suddenness and acceleration are a devastating combination and if Alabama doesn’t stay disciplined in their run fits, Vaughn is plenty good enough to make them pay.
DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Whether it is Bryce Young or Jalen Milroe, the Alabama quarterback will need to be aware of Kansas State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah. For all the things that Will Anderson is known for, Anudike-Uzomah seems to be overlooked, but is an extremely overlooked pass rusher. While he might not have the stats that Anderson has produced over the last few years, Anudike-Uzomah is certainly an NFL-Caliber pass rusher and will be someone that can take this game over for K-State if given the chance.
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama came into the 2022 season being touted as potentially the best team ever, up there with the likes of 2019 LSU or 2001 Miami. Instead, they dropped two games this season and find themselves in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, a consolation prize to the perennial powerhouse under Nick Saban. According to the Tide’s head coach, there will not be any opt-outs for Alabama, so Kansas State is going to get as close to 100% of Alabama as possible, and we will get a chance to see if they can hang on.
KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Can K-State’s brand of football give Alabama fits? The Wildcats are exceptional at making opponents pay for their mistakes, and Alabama makes a lot of those. The Tide rank 127 out of 131 in penalties per game with 8.71 flags per contest. Meanwhile, K-State ranks 31st nationally with just 5.23 penalties per game. Add to that the Wildcats’ proficiency in making game-changing plays in special teams and you start to have some things falling K-State’s way. If this game comes down to discipline, there’s no doubt that K-State has the edge.
PREDICTION: ALABAMA 28, KANSAS STATE 24
With the Tide being at full strength, I think they might have just enough to get pat Kansas State. The Wildcats aren’t going to make it easy though, as I expect Deuce Vaughn to have success against Alabama and keep K-State within striking distance. Nick Saban is one of the best in the business at preparing for teams with an extended amount of time, and I feel that his team will be ready to go in this one. Int he age of opt outs, it will be nice to see a game with all of both teams’ stars on display. In the end, Bryce Young and Will Anderson deliver a win in their Swan Song.