Six weeks ago, these two teams were poised to meet for the BCS National Championship in Miami.
Two losses in the same night changed everything for the Oregon Ducks and Kansas State Wildcats, and both teams should focus their game plans around those losses.
As he’s fielding offers from NFL teams, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is priming his team for Thursday night’s Fiesta Bowl matchup with the Kansas State at U of Phoenix Stadium.
Kelly is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Cleveland Browns Friday, win or lose. He has led Oregon to four straight BCS bowl games thanks to his high-powered offense schemes, and this season the Ducks fielded the second best rushing offense in the country.
Senior running back Kenjon Barner led the way with 1,624 rushing yards, including a masterful 321-yard five touchdown performance against USC. Barner also put up five consecutive 100-yard games.
Oregon turned off their championship track in its 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford on Nov. 17. The Ducks managed just 200 rushing yards, and couldn’t capitalize on three Cardinal turnovers.
Kansas State fell to Baylor 52-24 on the same night, and so did quarterback Collin Klein’s Heisman hopes. Klein totaled 37 touchdowns this season, but his three picks against Baylor cost the Wildcats their No. 1 ranking and a shot at the national title.
The Wildcats gave up 342 rushing yards in that game, almost triple what they allowed per contest this season.
The game kicks-off at 8:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast by ESPN and you can watch their live online stream by going to Watch ESPN here.
Betting Odds: Oregon is favored by 8.5 points.
Over/Under: 74 points
Prediction: Klein and the Wildcats are poised to upset the possibly distracted Ducks. Barner should have another strong game, but it won’t be enough in a Kansas State win.
Predicted Score: Kansas State 40, Oregon 37