Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Preview: #4 Oregon v. #5 Kansas State, Jan. 3, 2013 at 8:30pm EST on ESPN
If at any point during this game you feel as though you are watching two teams that could be playing for the national championship, you are not far off. As of November 17th, Oregon and Kansas State were riding high, the top two teams in the country. Thanks to the heroics of Johnny Football, Alabama was no longer a threat, and the Ducks and Wildcats were in control of their own destiny.
That control turned out to be too much. The Ducks lost a tight contest to Rose Bowl champion Stanford, while the Wildcats got blown out by middling Baylor and Art Briles' spread offense, which is less potent than Oregon's. What would have been a high-scoring and exciting championship game matchup between two non-traditional powers is now a game in which both teams can only dream of what this matchup could have meant for their programs.
Quarterbacks Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and Heisman finalist Collin Klein (Kansas State) are the show-stoppers, and their success will determine how this game plays out. Fortunately for the Oregon freshman quarterback, senior running back Kenjon Barber is among the best in college football. And Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas is a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball. Much more falls on Klein’s Tebow-esque shoulders. Klein’s support comes from the stronger Kansas State defense, which is led by senior linebacker Arthur Brown.
This game features some of the best players in the game, and some of the more exciting offenses. Neither team is used to close contests, as Kansas State blew every team out with the exception of Oklahoma, Iowa State, and, obviously, Baylor. Oregon beat every team handily outside of Stanford. However, whether this game ends up being a blowout or a close contest between two relatively evenly matched teams, fans will be left to wonder what could have been.
By the Numbers
Avg. Pts/G (O)- 50.8 (2nd)
Avg. Pass Yards/G (O)- 226.8 (67th)
Avg. Rush Yards/G (O)- 323.3 (3rd)
Avg. Pts/G (D)- 22.0 (26th)
Avg. Pass Yards/G (D)- 235.8 (61st)
Avg. Rush Yards/G (D)- 146.0 (46th)
Avg. Pts/G (O)- 40.7 (8th)
Avg. Pass Yards/G (O)- 212.1 (86th)
Avg. Rush Yards/G (O)- 199.2 (32nd)
Avg. Pts/G (D)- 21.1 (24th)
Avg. Pass Yards/G (D)- 255.3 (90th)
Avg. Rush Yards/G (D)- 119.2 (16th)
It is unclear whether the persistent Chip Kelly to the NFL rumors will be a distraction for Oregon and Kelly. However, the coach on the opposite sideline, 73-year-old Bill Snyder, is the opposite of Kelly in every way except in being one of the best coaches in college football. His team is also a more complete team with a more fierce competitor at the helm. Collin Klein leads K-State to victory.
Kansas State 48, Oregon 38