Fans of offense everywhere will be smiling this January as two of college football's most prolific attacks get set to square off in the Fiesta Bowl.
The No. 5-ranked Kansas State Wildcats enter Glendale, Ariz., for their BCS matchup with No. 4 Oregon as underdogs (+9.5 according to BetOnline.com), and will need to bring their "A+" game to the desert in order to shock the Ducks and the oddsmakers. But even that may not be enough for Kansas State to come out on top.
Here are my bold predictions for Bill Snyder's Wildcats in the Jan. 3 Fiesta Bowl.
Collin Klein Will Rack Up 300-Plus Total Yards
Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein is averaging slightly over 282 total yards of offense per game this season. But in a colossal showdown with Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl this January, look for Klein to step his game up, surpassing 300 total yards against the Ducks in Glendale.
I expect Klein to throw for more than 200 yards and rush for over 100 as well.
That sort of production certainly isn't what we're used to seeing from Klein, who threw for more than 200 yards in just six of 12 games this season, and rushed for over 100 yards in just three of 12 games.
But Oregon ranks just 47th in the nation in total defense, and is 62nd defending the pass. With the Ducks' defensive struggles duly noted, I predict Klein will turn out a huge individual effort in the Fiesta Bowl this January.
Wildcats Will Win the Turnover Battle
Kansas State and Oregon are two of the country's best teams when it comes to winning the turnover battle this season.
The Wildcats boast the best turnover margin in FBS (1.83), while Oregon ranks third (1.58). And while the Wildcats haven't forced quite as many turnovers as the Ducks, they have committed fewer turnovers this season.
Therefore, I like Kansas State to win the turnover battle on Jan. 3. The Wildcats have only given the ball away 10 times in 12 games, compared to 19 giveaways in 12 games for Oregon. I'm anticipating one or two fumbles from the Ducks in the Fiesta Bowl.
Still, that doesn't mean that Kansas State will capitalize on every Oregon mistake, bringing us to my third and final bold prediction.
Kansas State Will Come Up Short
Despite getting more than 300 total yards of offense from Collin Klein, and winning the turnover battle, Kansas State will still come up short in its battle with Oregon.
The Ducks are simply too explosive offensively, and will be able to have their way for the most part in the Arizona desert. The Ducks are scoring more than 50 points per game this season, and racking up more than 550 total yards on offense. The Wildcats' defense is decent, sure, but it ranks just 44th in the nation in total defense.
Plus, the Wildcats surrendered 52 points and 580 total yards in their only loss to Baylor this season. Those numbers are right around Oregon's season averages.
Oregon was only a few bad plays away from beating Stanford last November, and likely playing in the BCS National Championship Game this coming January. I believe the Ducks are a notch above the Wildcats in terms of talent and will be as far as execution is concerned in the two teams' Fiesta Bowl showdown.
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