Oklahoma St. vs
From Qualcomm Stadium in beautiful San Diego, CA comes the 2008
Holiday Bowl featuring this match-up between the #13 Oklahoma St
Cowboys (9-3) of the Big-12 and the #15 Oregon Ducks (9-3) out of
the Pac-10. Oregon has played in 2 Holiday Bowls in recent history,
beating the Texas Longhorns 35-30 back in 2000, and then losing to
the Oklahoma Sooners in 2005 by a score of 17-14.
The Oregon Ducks finished conference play with a 7-2 record, good
for 2nd place and just a game behind conference champion USC. The
Ducks ruined Oregon Stateís chances at the PAC-10 title and a Rose
Bowl berth with a 65-38 road drubbing in the annual Civil War game
to end the season on a strong note. Oregon features a high-powered
offense that averages 478 yds and nearly 42 pts per game, both good
for #1 rankings in the conference in their respective categories.
Most of the damage is done with a power running game that averages
almost 278 yds per game, also good for #1 in the conference. The
Ducks have a dominating rushing attack that features RBís Jeremiah
Johnson and LeGarrette Blount, who have combined for over 2000 yds,
28 TDís, and a 7 yd per carry average. Sophomore QB Jeremiah Masoli
is also a running threat with 612 yds and 7 TDís on his own, and a
5.5 ypc average. As a team, the Ducks have rushed for 3334 yds,
which is good for the # 4 ranking in all of Division 1-A. The Oregon
offense is not one-dimensional however, as the Ducks have also
passed for over 2400 yds and another 19 TDís, for a staggering
offensive total of 5738 yds, 61 TDís and 18 FGís in just 12 games!
Of course the defense could probably use a little help.
The Ducks own the 80th ranked defensive unit in the nation, giving
up around 383 yds and 28 pts per game, on average. They actually
appear pretty stout against the run, giving up an average of just
119 ypg. But itís mainly due to the fact that their games usually
end up in a shoot-out, and their opponents have to throw the ball in
an effort to keep up. As a result, they are giving up an average of
263 yds passing per game and have given up 24 passing TDís, which
ranks them at the bottom of the conference in both categories. But
they do rank 6th in the nation in sacks, 9th in tackles for loss and
13th in turnovers gained.
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Oregonís 3 losses were to Boise St., USC and California, teams with
a combined record of 31-5, with their biggest win being that 27 pt
road win over a very good Oregon St team that was ranked #17 at the
The Oklahoma St Cowboys had similar success, winning the easier
games, but losing to Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma who had a
combined record of 34-3. Their most impressive win was a 28-23 road
win over the Missouri Tigers, who were undefeated and ranked 3rd in
the nation at the time. The Cowboys are also similar in that they
also boast a power running game that ranks just slightly below the
Ducks at 256 yds per game, good for the 7th highest in the nation.
Their premiere runner is RB Kendall Hunter who has amassed 1518 yds
and 14 TDís. But also like Oregon, theyíve got a second option with
RB Keith Toston , who had 658 yds and 9 TDís. And Cowboy QB Zac
Robinson has very similar numbers to Duck QB Masoli with 508 yds and
7 TDís on the ground.
Oklahoma St probably has the edge in the passing game with Robinson
completing 67% of his throws for over 2700 yds and 24 TDís, with
just 8 INTís. And WR Dez Bryant is one of the premiere receivers in
college football, ranking 3rd in receiving yds per game (109 ypg),
2nd in total receiving yds (1313 yds), 4th in scoring (10 ppg) and
he is also ranked 3rd in the nation in punt returns, with an average
return of nearly 18 yds, and with 2 returned for TDís. As a team,
the Cowboys are averaging 41.6 pts per game and 489 total yds of
offense per game.
Oklahoma St is also very similar to Oregon on the defensive side
with very similar numbers in both rushing and passing defense, as
well as scoring defense in giving up just about 27 pts per game.
Itís really creepy how similar these two teams are on both sides of
the ball. These are probably two of the most evenly matched teams in
the bowl game pairings this year. The Ducks likely have an advantage
with their being familiar with the venue. And they did end the
season on a huge high note, whereas the Cowboys had the
disappointing loss in their biggest game of the year. In a game this
even I would be very tempted to take any points I could get, so Iím
going to go with the team that broke the 60 pt barrier 3 times this
season, is likely to be the crowd favorite, and is also getting
points to boot. Oregon Ducks +3