When the Oregon Ducks won football games this season, they did so convincingly.
Their average margin of victory was more than 32 points. Of their 11 wins, all but two came by more than 20 points. USC gave them the best game during that stretch, losing 62-51 at home.
There were moments, such as a 49-0 blowout of Arizona (which was ranked at the time), that Oregon looked like the best team in the country. If college football started its four-team playoff this postseason, it might still have a chance to prove that it is.
Instead, the Ducks are in the same position as Kansas State. One off night — a 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford — sent them to the Fiesta Bowl.
So what happened against the Cardinal? Here’s a statistical look:
– Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota had one of his worst passing games. The freshman completed 21 of 37 attempts, and took three sacks while throwing an interception.
– Kenjon Barner was anything but explosive. The Oregon running back managed 66 yards on 21 carries — two weeks after rushing for more than 300 yards at USC.
– Ducks kicker Alejandro Maldonado missed two field goals, including one in overtime.
– Stanford scored first and last. It took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter and rallied from a 14-7 deficit in the fourth quarter.
– The Cardinal outgained the Ducks 411-405.
– Oregon was 4 of 17 on third-down conversions.
– Stanford rushed for 200 yards with Stepfan Taylor leading the way. He churned out 161 yards on 33 carries.
– Stanford receiver Zach Ertz had 106 yards receiving.
– The Cardinal had to punt a whole lot against the Ducks, but Stanford often put Oregon in bad field position. It pinned Oregon within its own 20-yard line five times.
– Oregon was unable to take advantage of three Stanford turnovers.
The Wildcats will obviously try to emulate many of those statistics in the Fiesta Bowl. If they can rush for 200 yards while holding Barner to less than 100 yards, their chances of winning increase significantly. Holding Oregon on third-down conversions and special teams will also be important.
One thing K-State won’t likely accomplish: Gaining more yardage than Oregon. The Wildcats often get out-gained and win. Stanford needed more yardage because of three turnovers. Unless K-State can move the ball the same way, it will need to limit turnovers.
Next up on the countdown: Because of conference realignment, the Big 12 and Pac-12 have switched formats.
Last time on the countdown: University of Phoenix Stadium is a unique stadium.
Editor’s Note: On Jan. 3, the Kansas State football team will face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. With that in mind, I am counting down to the big game at University of Phoenix Stadium by attempting to write 21 blog posts in 21 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas. I’m confident that I can go 21 for 21, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @KellisRobinett.