Thursday night (8:30 PM on ESPN), the Oregon Ducks (11-1) face the Kansas State Wildcats (11-1) in the Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks are 8 ½ point favorites in what should be a very, high scoring Fiesta Bowl.
The Ducks are ranked just 65th in the nation in passing offense but when you can rush for 323.3 ypg (2nd in the nation) you don’t pass that often to begin with. Kenjon Barner ran for 1,624 yards and 21 touchdowns. Freshman QB Marcus Mariota threw six interceptions in 312 attempts compared to 30 TD passes. On defense, the Ducks are 59th against the pass (235.8 ypg) and 44th against the run (146.0 ypg) but they put so many points on the board (they average 50.8 ppg) and run so many offensive plays, it’s tough to fault the defense for anything.
For Kansas State, Collin Klein rushed for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also threw for 2,490 this 15 TDs. Runningback John Hubert has 892 yards and 15 TDs rushing.
Protecting the ball will be of utmost importance for the Ducks. The Ducks’ defense forced an FBS leading 39 turnovers. KState’s defense has created 31 turnovers.
My pick: Oregon