The Eagle’s Kellis Robinett and The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress continue a 10-part series comparing Oregon and Kansas State ahead of Thursday’s Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. on ESPN, Ch. 32. Go to Kansas.com/wildcats for past matchups.
Starters: Chris Harper, sr., 6-1, 229 (Wichita); Tyler Lockett, so., 5-11, 175 (Tulsa); Tramaine Thompson, jr., 5-8, 167 (Jenks, Okla.).
Stats: All three of K-State’s starters had more than 500 receiving yards. Harper led the way with nearly 800 yards, while Tyler Lockett came through with more big plays downfield. Torrell Miller and Curry Sexton have also been effective at times.
Buzz: All eyes will be on Harper, the former Oregon quarterback/receiver, as he takes on his old team as K-State’s No. 1 receiver. But maybe eyes should be on Lockett. He is itching to play in a bowl game after missing the Cotton Bowl last year with an injury and is more of a deep threat.
Starters: Terrance Mitchell, so., CB, 6-0, 189 (Sacramento, Calif.); Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, so., CB, 5-10, 190 (Chino Hills, Calif.); Brian Jackson, jr., SS, 5-10, 205 (Hoover, Ala.); Erick Dargan, so., 5-11, 205 (Pittsburg, Calif.).
Stats: Ekpre-Olomu was named All-Pac-12 after leading the conference in passes defended with 19 (15 breakups, four interceptions). Mitchell had eight. Oregon led the nation with 24 interceptions and tied for the lead with 38 takeaways.
Buzz: The Ducks look young on paper but this group is loaded with experience and playmaking abilities. Oregon has flourished despite the loss of senior John Boyett early in the season and junior Avery Patterson later in the season.
The Eagle’s Kellis Robinett says
Edge to Oregon. The Wildcats need to run the ball to open the pass. If that happens, their receivers could have big days against the Ducks. If it doesn’t, and Oregon can go after Collin Klein with its pass rush, throwing for big yardage will be difficult.
The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress says
Edge to Oregon. K-State spreads the ball around nicely and has some quality receivers, led by Harper. But UO’s defensive backs have helped the team force the most turnovers in college football.