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: Josh Huff, jr., WR, 5-11, 205 (Houston); Keanon Lowe, so., WR, 5-9, 181 (Portland, Ore.); Daryle Hawkins, jr., WR, 6-4, 202 (Omaha); Colt Lyerla, So., TE, 6-5, 246 (Hillsboro, Ore.).
Stats: Huff leads the team in receiving yards with 467 and receiving touchdowns with seven. Lyerla has just 22 receptions but has turned them into 340 yards and seven touchdowns.
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Buzz: The wild card here is RB De’Anthony Thomas, who leads the team with 41 receptions and is second with 385 yards. He might be the most talented receiver on a team that has yet to find a true go-to target. Huff started to develop into that guy late in the season after overcoming injuries.
Starters: Ty Zimmerman, jr., S, 6-1, 203 (Junction City); Jarard Milo, sr., S, 6-2, 195 (Olathe); Allen Chapman, sr., CB, 5-11, 180 (San Francisco); Nigel Malone, sr., CB, 5-10, 185 (Manteca, Calif.).
Stats: K-State allowed an average of close to 250 passing yards, but most of that yardage came between the 20s. The Wildcats made it hard for opponents to throw for touchdowns, and often came up with interceptions in key situations. Zimmerman intercepted a pass in four straight games, Chapman grabbed three interceptions against Oklahoma State and Malone is always around the ball.
Buzz: Zimmerman is expected to play against Oregon, but can he play the way he did during the regular season coming off an injury? If he can, K-State’s secondary will be tough.
The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress says
Edge to K-State. Oregon’s wide receivers don’t scare many teams and the Wildcats rank tied for 10th in the nation with 18 interceptions.
The Eagle’s Kellis Robinett says
Edge to Oregon. K-State’s zone coverage is effective against teams that look downfield, but it has struggled against opponents that stretch the field with short, quick passes. Oregon’s speed will give the Ducks an advantage.