In less than a week, Oregon went from understudy to the limelight.
The Ducks entered the game for the Pacific-12 Conference title only because Washington had to leave due to coronavirus concerns. Oregon seized the opportunity by defeating host USC 31-24 for the championship.
That gave the No. 25 Ducks (4-2) the automatic spot for the Pac-12 in a New Years Six game. They will face No. 10 Iowa State (8-3) in the Fiesta Bowl on January 2 in Glendale, Arizona.
” We fight this year,” said Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was named the game’s MVP for the Pac-12 title with five tackles and one sack. “So many trials and tribulations. So many things that kept popping up. So many excuses we could have made, and we were unfazed. We stuck to the script and did it.”
Oregon won its first three games before consecutive losses to the state of Oregon and California. A showdown with Washington to determine the winner of the Pac-12 North was called off, leaving the Ducks mid game behind the Huskies and apparently destined for a lower-level bowling game.
That is, until a virus broke out in Washington’s sports department. The defeat of the Huskies was the gain of the Ducks.
” We were eager to get back to our style of soccer, and we did (against USC),” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “( We) really came out with an attitude, we came out with a purpose and a mission.”
The Cyclones took a different path to their first bowling game in January.
After losing their first game of the season to Louisiana, the Cyclones won seven of their next eight games before a 27-21 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship.
” From our point of view, this has been a really special season for our program as we have continued to grow over the past two years,” said Iowa State coach Matt Campbell. ” We have a great senior class made up of 60 seniors who have really stayed on track with this program and have really guided us every step of the way.”
The state of Iowa has the nation’s leading running back at Greece Hall, who totaled 1,436 yards and 19 touchdowns. Quarterback Brock Purdy threw for 2,594 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
” It’s an excellent, talented and well-trained soccer team that schematically executes more than a couple of things that are very different from what we’ve seen,” said Cristóbal.
Ducks quarterback TylerThoughh threw for 1,480 yards and 13 touchdowns with five interceptions in six games. CJ Verdell, who was Oregon’s running leader in the regular season, missed the Pac-12 final with a knee injury, but could return for bowl game.
Whenn you say football in Oregon, you have an immediate respect for who they are and what they are about,” Campbell said.
It will be a homecoming for the quarterbacks, who starred in Arizona high schools. Purdy played at Perry High in Gilbert andThoughh at Hamilton High in neighboring Chandler. They met twice in high school, with Perry, led by Purdy, prevailing 65-63 and 63-60.
Certainlyy a competitive situation at the high school level and now they can do it at the college level,” said Cristóbal.
The Ducks will make their third Fiesta Bowl appearance after beating Colorado in 2002 and Kansas State in 2013.
-– Field level media
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.