Assuming Kansas State beats Texas, the Oregon Ducks will likely be in the Fiesta Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats, and the match-up bodes well for Oregon and their fourth-best rushing offense.
Kansas State’s offense has been admittedly impressive, but it wouldn’t be enough to outgun the Ducks and their fearsome running attack. Just as KSU’s suspect run defense was exposed against Baylor, Oregon would eviscerate them no matter who is carrying the ball.
Whether it’s Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas or even quarterback Marcus Mariota, the option plays and bruising frontline are going to be too much for KSU to handle. Even against the nation’s best rushing defense in Stanford, Oregon still managed to run for over 200 combined yards with five yards per carry. Although they lost that game, Oregon demonstrated they can still have success against an elite run defense, but now that they’re facing an 18th-ranked defense in Kansas State, you can expect the usual suspects in Oregon’s backfield to get back to wreaking havoc.
This is going to be a matchup that will really favor a guy who excels in the open field like Kenjon Barner, and as previously mentioned, if Oregon can really stretch out the KSU front seven and force them to play the ball laterally out into the flat, all it takes is one solid seal or a quick move and an Oregon half-back is going to be sprinting down field for six. It’s also going to be tough to halt Oregon’s run defense sans their standout linebacker, Tre Walker. Walker wasn’t healthy during the Baylor game, and considering the severity of his injury, he may not be available for the Fiesta Bowl either.
Even with their solid passing game, it won’t make a difference for KSU once Oregon establishes the run, and this upcoming match-up is really going to demonstrate the dominance of a varied running attack. You can expect Kenjon Barner to make at least two or three huge highlight plays, and you can guarantee Chip Kelly’s offensive ingenuity combined with a solid offensive line will pave the way for at least 200-plus yards on the ground for Oregon. Look for the Ducks to run their way toward a solid 31-20 win over Wildcats.