Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fiesta Bowl Preview: Kansas State vs Oregon

     Once again, the two teams battling for the Fiesta Bowl are two highly ranked football programs; the Oregon Ducks and the Kansas State Wildcats. Similar to last season, where Andrew Luck and fourth ranked Stanford took on third ranked Oklahoma State, the Fiesta Bowl is likely to be yet another offensive showdown. Back in Week 12, before Notre Dame regained their number one spot in the BCS Standings, both Oregon and Kansas State held the top two spots in the rankings. Then, for the first time in a long time, both Oregon and Kansas State were upset in the same week, and suddenly their championship hopes were dashed in a single moment. Be sure to tune in next Thursday, January 3rd, as the Ducks take on the Wildcats in one of the more high scoring games of the season. Also, be sure to comment subscribe, or like us on Facebook at! Lastly, subscribe to us on YouTube, where we create monthly highlight videos for some of the most exciting NFL players!

Oregon Ducks: When one thinks of the Oregon Ducks, defense is not the first thing that comes to mind.  Though the defense has shown flashes of brilliance, such as a shutout of Arizona and just 17 points allowed against Stanford, games such as a Week 10 matchup against USC (51 point allowed in an Oregon win), reminds us how vulnerable this defense proves to be in certain moments. It has been the offense, however, who has managed to run its way into the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. Though Oregon's schedule shows little competition from opposing teams, there have been several dominant performances against ranked opponents. After destroying Arkansas State, Fresno State, and Tennessee Tech to start off the season, Oregon shut down Arizona 49-0, ranked 22 at the time. A win the following week led to a 52-21 win over Washington, yet another ranked team. Oregon ran all over USC, and after destroying California, Oregon was set to play 13th ranked Stanford. At the time of kickoff, Oregon was second in the nation behind Kansas State, with a BCS Championship not too far out of reach. A win over Stanford would solidify their campaign for the championship. Unfortunately, the Ducks failed to beat their bitter rivals at home, after a missed Oregon kick in overtime led to a game winning kick by Stanford. Oregon's win over Oregon State was practically meaningless, as they missed out on the Pac-12 Championship, which was eventually won by Stanford. Stanford proved that the most important thing in order to beat the Ducks is to stop the run. This season, Oregon rushed for an average of 323.3 yards per game, ranking third in the nation. Their success on the ground led to an average of 50.8 points per game, but as we saw against Stanford, stopping the run means fewer points for the Oregon offense. Running backs De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner have been nearly unstoppable this season, where the two rushers have combined for a grand total of 2,310 rushing yards with 37 total touchdowns. Even quarterback Marcus Mariota has found success on the ground. If Oregon were to continuously gain big yards on the ground against Kansas State, the Fiesta Bowl will be practically theirs for the taking.

Kansas State: Kansas State's quarterback Collin Klein slowly but surely led his team towards a shot at the National Championship. A program not known for their football, Kansas State ranked 22 entering the 2012 football season, and were not considered legitimate threats until a game against 6th ranked Oklahoma put Kansas State on the map. Their 24-19 victory over Oklahoma, followed by two easy games against Kansas and Iowa State, led to a stretch of games against difficult teams. West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State all lost by a large margin to Kansas State, and their miraculous hot streak was rewarded as number two in the nation. TCU was unable to upset the Kansas State Wildcats, and with two relatively easy games left on the schedule, it seemed as though a National Championship for Kansas State was a safe prediction. Then, Baylor did the unthinkable at home; they beat the Kansas State Wildcats. Baylor's win over Kansas State was not by a small margin either, as they upset the number one ranked Wildcats 52-24. The Wildcats managed to beat 18th ranked Texas, but their final game of the season did not earn them the number one spot back from Notre Dame. At one point in time, Kansas State's quarterback Collin Klein was the favorite to win the Heisman after Geno Smith's collapse. His seven total touchdowns in a Kansas State win over West Virginia was followed by several sub-par games, and eventually players like Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o became the late season favorites. Klein is the center of Kansas State's offense, especially his ability to run the ball thanks to an athletic 6-5, 225-pound frame. Kansas State ranks tenth in the nation in terms of points allowed, where as the offense does very well in big games. Similar to Oregon, the offense must be consistent in terms of putting points on the board, but defense will be key if they wish to win on January 2nd.

Bottom Line: A shootout is destined to take place in Arizona when Oregon and Kansas State take the field. Though Collin Klein tends to overwhelm opposing defenses, Oregon has more experience with BCS Bowl games, as they run all over the Kansas State defense for the Fiesta Bowl trophy.
Oregon over Kansas State: 40-36

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