In the days leading up to the 2012 Fiesta Bowl, the Emerald will take a position-by-position look at Oregon and Kansas State, determining which team has the edge going into the BCS showdown on Jan. 3.
Oregon: The Ducks may not have a standout wide receiver, but the trio of Josh Huff, Keanon Lowe and Bralon Addison coupled with the occasional screen pass to Kenjon Barner or De’Anthony Thomas has been more than adequate. Will Murphy and Daryle Hawkins have also gotten their fair share of looks in a passing offense that spreads the ball around just as much as the Ducks’ rushing attack does. In fact, 11 different Ducks — including Marcus Mariota — have a touchdown catch this year, led by Huff’s seven touchdown grabs.
If there was a leader of the Ducks receiving corps, however, it was Huff, who had a team-leading 467 yards despite the fact that he missed three games due to injury early in the season. Huff had back-to-back 100 yard games when the Ducks took down USC and Cal in consecutive weeks, the only two 300 yard passing nights for Mariota in Pac-12 play.
Kansas State: The Wildcats’ passing attack is a little more predictable than the Ducks’, with wideouts Chris Harper, Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson accounting for the bulk of Kansas State’s yards through the air. At the top of that list is Harper, a one time Duck, who has 50 catches for nearly 800 yards on the year. For all of that though, Harper has just one game with 100 yards and only three touchdowns all season — though that’s largely due to the ‘Cats tendency to have quarterback and Heisman finalist Collin Klein scamper into the endzone anytime they get anywhere close to the goal line.
Lockett adds another 40 catches and 652 yards to the mix, including a season highlight against West Virginia where he caught nine balls for 194 yards and two touchdowns. In the Wildcats’ last game against Texas, Lockett may have only had two catches but he still had 73 yards, including a 55 yard touchdown catch, the longest scoring play of the year through the air for Bill Snyder’s bunch.
Advantage- Kansas State. One could make the argument either way, but it’s hard not to give the edge to an ariel attack orchestrated by a Heisman finalist, and while the Ducks don’t have a single wideout with 500 or more yards on the season, Kansas State has three.
Tomorrow: Running backs