When: Thursday, Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium (Fiesta Bowl)
The Oregon Ducks and Kansas State Wildcats lost on the same day to ruin perfect seasons. Prior to the November loss, both teams were headed on a collision course in the national championship game. The losses were an anomaly for each team. Kansas State gave up 22 more points than their next closest game in the loss. Oregon was held to 29 fewer points than their next lowest offensive output.
The Fiesta Bowl gets a great matchup of what could be the two best teams in the nation. They primarily are not in the BCS title game because of the conferences they play in.
The offense is one of the best in the country. They let their foot off the pedal in many games due to blowouts. The Ducks dynamic running game averaged more than 320 yards. Kansas State had major problems with Baylor’s running attack in the loss. Oregon’s quick tempo should cause problems if they get substantial gains on first downs. Kenjon Barner is looking to go over 1800 yards with a huge day. De’Anthony Thomas also averages over seven yards per carry as a hybrid player. Barner has 22 total touchdowns, while Thomas has 15. They are an explosive duo, but they aren’t the only playmakers for Oregon.
Marcus Mariota has thrown for 30 touchdowns, and he is a duel threat. Mariota completed 70 percent of his passes during the regular season. If Kansas State is too concerned with the run, Oregon will go over the top, to test the Wildcats’ defensive backs.
Defensively, Oregon has not received the credit they deserve. The numbers don’t do the Ducks justice, but they did intercept 24 passes in 12 games. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is a ball hawk for Oregon’s defense. He has four interceptions for Oregon, and forced six fumbles.
They have to take Collin Klein out of the game early, and force Kansas State to pass. The defense has a lot of speed, yet Oregon must tackle well in the open field.
As Collin Klein goes, so goes Kansas State. Klein threw for 15 touchdowns, and ran for another 22. He needs to have a big game if the defense isn’t able to contain Oregon’s offense. John Hubert is the rushing leader for the Wildcats this season. Kansas State needs to take a page out of Stanford’s game plan. They can stay in the game if the offense possesses the ball for long drives. They’ll need to shorten the game.
Tyler Lockett and Chris Harper must win the one on one battle at receiver. They both have big play ability, yet they do it in different ways. It’s likely, that Oregon will play man to man for most of the game. The Ducks’ safeties will be focused on Kansas State’s running game.
The Kansas State defense is great against the run, but they had major trouble against Baylor. They also gave up huge plays in the passing game. Their loss was a total team effort. Kansas State must tackle with force and crowd the line with the front seven. If the Wildcats can force a couple turnovers, they may earn some scoring opportunities.
Both teams should have a lot of motivation to win this game. Oregon will have to overcome the whispers of Coach Kelly leaving for the NFL. This game will be a blowout if Kansas State can’t match the speed of Oregon’s offense. Kansas State will have to score plenty of points to win.
Kansas State 27
If you liked this article please visit us on Twitter for more updates.