Fiesta Bowl Betting Preview – Oregon vs. Iowa State
This might be the most successful season in Iowa State Cyclones’ history. Iowa State is taking part in its first major bowl game since the 1977 Peach Bowl. The Cyclones made the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time ever this season, and this is their fourth straight bowl appearance under Matt Campbell. Campbell’s presence makes Iowa State a contender in their conference, and they will look to beat the Oregon Ducks for the first time in program history on Saturday.
The Fiesta Bowl will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday, January 2, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.
College Football Betting Odds
Iowa State -3.5
Oregon is a slight underdog in this game as the Ducks are just 4-2 on the year. They weren’t supposed to play in the Pac 12 Championship Game, but they tagged in for Washington when the Huskies were decimated by COVID. The Ducks upset previously unbeaten USC to earn a trip to a New Year’s Six Bowl.
Oregon Offense vs. Iowa State Defense
The Ducks were replacing Justin Herbert and Penei Sewell opted out before the start of the season, but this offense was still pretty good despite those two noticeable losses. Tyler Shough did well under center, completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,480 yards (9.4 YPA) with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. He beat out Boston College transfer Anthony Brown for the starting job at the start of the season, and that turned out to be the right call.
Travis Dye led the Ducks in rushing with 391 yards (7.0 YPC), and he was a dangerous threat out of the backfield with eight receptions for 221 yards and four touchdowns. C.J. Verdell was the go-to back for the first two games of the season but missed the Pac 12 Championship Game due to injury, and he is questionable for this game. Shough has been a solid runner too when asked to make things happen with his legs, giving this offense more options.
Iowa State has a very good defense. The Cyclones are allowing 21.8 PPG and 344.3 YPG. This run defense is one of the best nationally, surrendering 3.2 YPC and 105.9 YPG, and it is led by linebacker Mike Rose. Rose led the team with 90 tackles and four interceptions on his way to being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Iowa State Offense vs. Oregon Defense
Breece Hall was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year for his performance with the Cyclones in 2020. Hall became just the second Iowa State player to win this honor, and the only other Cyclone to earn this award was Troy Davis back in 1996. Hall ran for 1,436 yards (5.9 YPC) and 19 touchdowns this year, and this ground game is a big part of why Iowa State is a short favorite. However, he has failed to eclipse 100 yards in his last three games after starting the year with eight straight 100-yard games.
The second leading rusher on the team is QB Brock Purdy. Purdy hasn’t been as efficient as he was in previous seasons, but he has done a solid job under center for the Cyclones. He has completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,594 yards (7.7 YPA) with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Purdy wasn’t too effective in the Big 12 Championship Game though, and he will want to bounce back after that performance.
Xavier Hutchinson and tight end Charlie Kolar are the two top targets in the passing game. Hutchinson led Iowa State with 60 catches for 726 yards and four touchdowns, while Kolar had 39 receptions for 538 yards and six TDs.
Oregon had an above average defense this season. The Ducks weren’t great against any opponent, but they have an all-world player in defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. He will be the best defensive lineman Iowa State has faced in 2020.
The under might be the best bet in this game. Both defenses are solid, and we are due for a few under games.