At the beginning of November it seemed as though the Oregon Ducks and the Kansas State Wildcats were cruising for a national championship shot. They were both undefeated but then, ironically, both teams lost on the same night. Both teams are powerhouse offenses and both teams played five ranked opponents. Oregon’s most notable win was a 62-51 shoot out with USC, their loss came against Stanford 17-14OT. Kansas State had a 42-24 defeat of Texas (#18) but they lost to unranked Baylor 52-24.
This could shape up to be an entertaining matchup that features scoring highlight after scoring highlight. The Ducks scored an average of 50.8 points a game this season; the Wildcats scored an average of 40.7 points a game. On defense the two teams have similar points allowed averages. Oregon gives up about 22 points a game and Kansas State allows about 21 points a game. No surprise then that Oregon is the favorite to win this year’s Fiesta Bowl.
Both teams produce about the same passing yards per game but Oregon gets their edge on the run game. In fact, Oregon’s run game is ranked 3rd in the nation and they average 323 yards rushing per game. Part of what makes this game so interesting is that both teams have running QBs. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota passed at 69.9%, 2511 yards, 30 TDs and 6 INTs; he rushed for 690 yards on 98 carries and 4 TDs. Kansas State’s Collin Klein passed at 66.2%, 2490 yards, 15 TDs and 7 INTs; he rushed for 890 yards on 194 carries and 22 TDs.
In any high scoring game the difference in who wins can be decided on who has the most turnovers. The Ducks have the advantage here; they lead the nation in intercepts with 24 INTs and they have gained 469 yards off those interceptions. Kansas State has produced 18 INTs this season with only 270 yards off interceptions. Kansas State has the slight edge in sacks with 31 sacks to Oregon’s 27 sacks.
Oregon has a stronger history of post-season play. They have been to bowl games in the past 8 season and have been to BCS bowl games in the past 4 season. Last year the Ducks won the Rose Bowl. Kansas State has not won a single bowl game it has been to in the past 10 years.
Oregon should be able to win this game on offensive production and scoring, as well as, defensive play making. But can the game go past 75 points? The odds predict a score of roughly 43-33 for Oregon. Half of Oregon’s games have gone over 75 points this season but only two of Kansas State’s have ended over 75 points. The Ducks have played only one top ten team this year and that was the 17-14OT loss to Stanford. Kansas State’s toughest opponent by rank, and score, was Oklahoma (W24-19), but Oklahoma is now ranked #11. And actually, all the other ranked teams that Kansas State played during the season are no longer ranked; only Texas (#18) who they played in their conference championship was still ranked at the end of the season. Probably both Oregon’s offense and defense are legitimate powerhouses. Kansas State has way too much to prove to be considered to win this game. Oregon can probably get the 43 points but it’s hard to think that Kansas State can get their 33 points. Oregon to win and cover the spread is a good bet. But, it seems like Oregon would have to really run away with this game for it to go over 75 points.
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