Oregon is going to win the Fiesta Bowl. There, I said it.
Iowa State is a really good football team. They were a few plays against Louisiana and Oklahoma from having a case for the college football playoff. They have a good QB, a really good defense and one of the best coaches in the country. They have a unique offense, utilizing lots of tight ends and a physical offensive line.
Iowa State is really good, bordering on great. But Oregon is going to beat them.
The Cyclones have exploitable weaknesses that strongly favor the Ducks. First of which is a pass defense ranked 69th in yards allowed per game, as Iowa State has given up 238.4 yards per game through the air. This is good news for Oregon, who has been struggling to throw the ball the last six quarters. Compared to Wisconsin’s 22nd ranked pass defense from the Rose Bowl last season, it looks like the Ducks will have more opportunity through the air this time around.
The next exploitable weakness for the Cyclones is their kickoff coverage unit. They have already given up two touchdowns on kick returns this season, and with a dynamic returner in Mykael Wright returning for the Ducks, there will be the opportunity for not only favorable field position, but potentially, points. Iowa State has also struggled to cover punts, allowing a whopping 12.29 yards per return and a touchdown. Once again, Oregon should be able to exploit a weak kicking game to win the field position battle.
Iowa state has struggled to finish off drives, as 16 of their 46 red zone trips have failed to result in a touchdown. If Oregon can stop their opponent from getting into the end-zone, they should win the game.
Lastly, Iowa State has an even turnover differential. For an Oregon team that has struggled to stop turning the ball over, while also struggling to force turnovers, facing a team just as unimpressive in those regards goes a long way toward assuring victory.
Overall, the above mentioned reasons will result in an Oregon victory. Winning the field position battle, the turnover battle, being able to throw the ball and not giving up red zone scores are what nearly every coach will tell you are the keys to any given game. The Ducks have an advantage, or at least not a disadvantage, in all of those categories.
There is another reason the Ducks will win though. That reason is that I am going to be in the press box on behalf of FishDuck. (The Ducks were 3-0 with me there last season)
Hopefully , Our Beloved Ducks will keep the streak alive!
Top Photo By University of Oregon Athletics
(Reading all the thoughtful posts in reply to this article at our sister site, the Our Beloved Ducks Forum can be found here)
Ryan Robertson is a defense contractor for the United States Marine Corps. A lifelong Duck fan from Grants Pass, he joined the Army out of high school. After four years as an Intelligence Analyst he decided it was time to further his education and pay more attention to his Ducks. One of Ryan’s first memories is of watching the Ducks, led by Joey Harrington, beating up on the Utah Utes in 2001. He is studying to be a Human Rights Investigator for the UN and intends to attend the U of O for graduate school in a few years. His grandfather ran track at Oregon in the ‘50s. He loves the Ducks, and has a passionate interest in reading every scrap of analysis centered around the football team.
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