The Eagle’s Kellis Robinett and The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress continue a 10-part series comparing Oregon and Kansas State ahead of the Jan. 3 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. on ESPN, Ch. 32. Go to Kansas.com/wildcats for past matchups.
Starters: Kenjon Barner, jr., 5-11, 195 (Riverside, Calif.); De’AnthonyThomas, so., 5-9, 176 (Los Angeles).
Stats: Barner had one of the best seasons in program history with 1,624 yards (6.5 average) and 21 touchdowns. Thomas contributed 686 yards while averaging 7.6 yards and scored 11 rushing touchdowns.
The buzz: Give these two an inch and they’ll take a 70-yard touchdown run. Both have breakaway abilities, yet each can maneuver for short gains in heavy traffic as well. Oregon’s misdirection running game is designed to get its speed backs in space where they can run away from slower defenders.
Starters: Arthur Brown, Sr, MLB 6-1, 235 (Wichita, KS); Jarell Childs, Sr., OLB, 6-2, 230 (Kansas City, Mo.); Justin Tuggle, Sr., 6-3, 225 (Alpharetta, GA).
Stats: Brown led the team with 91 tackles and was named Big 12 defensive player of the year by some outlets. Childs made 64 tackles while coming through with fumble recoveries and pass breakups. Tuggle is only used in K-State’s base defense -- it normally uses two linebackers out of the 4-2-5 -- but he made 18 tackles and had 4.5 tackles for loss.
The buzz: Brown is one of the best and faster linebackers Bill Snyder has coached. He can make the big hit and come through with interceptions. He was the first player to intercept Robert Griffin III last year and Geno Smith this season. Childs is sometimes forgotten next to Tuggle, a former quarterback, and the injured Tre Walker, the team’s spirit captain, but he has been a solid playmaker all year.
The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress says
Edge to Oregon. K-State allowed 348 yards rushing to Baylor during a 52-24 loss, and was frequently gashed by Lache Seastrunk, a former Duck who left Eugene in part because he was low on the depth chart. Oregon’s running game (third in the country at 328.8 yards) is better than Baylor’s (19th, 225.5).
The Eagle’s Kellis Robinett says
Edge to Oregon. Kenjon Barner is one of the fastest and best running backs in the country. Just look at what he did to USC — 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns.