Oregon Football: Defense the Key in Fiesta Bowl Matchup with Kansas State

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2012

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 17: Tight end Zach Ertz #86 of the Stanford Cardinal tries to get around defensive back Terrance Mitchell #27 of the Oregon Ducks in the third quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon. Stanford won the game 17-14 in overtime. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

If you're a fan of high-scoring, offensive-minded football, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is what you're looking for.

The Oregon Ducks (11-1, 8-1) will clash with the Kansas State Wildcats (11-1, 8-1) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3 in what will probably be the highest-scoring BCS bowl of the year—and possibly in the entire history of BCS bowl games.

The lines haven't been defined as of yet, but when they are, I wouldn't be surprised if the over/under read "infinite."

The Ducks sport the No. 3 rushing attack in the nation led by senior Kenjon Barner, who has amassed 1,624 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, a rushing yardage mark that ranks No. 7 in college football.

Oregon's freshman QB Marcus Mariota hasn't been too shabby either, throwing for 2,500 yards and 30 TDs and rushing for nearly 700 yards and four scores.

So, naturally, Oregon's defense will be the key to a Fiesta Bowl victory.

Kansas State ranks 10th in the nation in terms of points per game—scoring roughly 40 PPG—and is led by senior dual-threat QB Collin Klein.

Klein has combined for 37 TDs this season (15 passing and 22 rushing) and has been aided by a tough offensive line.

Klein also has junior RB John Hubert as an offensive weapon. Hubert has rushed for 892 yards and 15 touchdowns, making the Wildcats offense one of the toughest in the nation to contain.

There's no doubting that Oregon can put up points to no end, but its the defense that needs to win this game for the Ducks. Oregon has allowed more than 1,700 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns—a mark that needs to shine in the Fiesta Bowl for the Ducks to win.

As far as passing defense, 2,800 yards and 18 passing touchdowns have been allowed by the Ducks, which is actually quite impressive. Oregon's defense has also recorded 24 interceptions, which leads the nation.

That said, Oregon specifically needs to focus on stopping the run against K-State.

The Ducks passing defense is already well established, but their defense on the ground shows much need for improvement. Given the fact that the Wildcats post more of a threat running the football rather than passing, the Ducks must be on top of their game when defending the rush.

If the Ducks can keep K-State under 200 yards of total rushing, I really like their chances of winning the Fiesta Bowl.

However, if Oregon thinks its going to enter University of Phoenix Stadium and play average defense, it's going to be a long day for the Eugene hopeful.

For my prediction of this game and the rest of the BCS bowl games, click here.

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