banner

College Football

more stats

(10) Oregon (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4)



Monday, December 30, 6:45 p.m. (ET)

The Sports Network

By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: A pair of top-level programs with go toe-to-toe in the 21st annual Valero Alamo Bowl, as the 10th-ranked Oregon Ducks play the Texas Longhorns at the Alamodome.

Even with the departure of Chip Kelly last offseason, Oregon came into the 2013 campaign with sky-high expectations and appeared to be one of the favorites for the BCS Championship Game after an 8-0 start. The Ducks stumbled in November however, with a pair of losses at Stanford (26-20) and Arizona (42-16) to finish up 10-2.

"We had a tough four-game stretch here at the end of the season, stubbed our toe a little bit," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "But we'll be hungry to get back out there."

"(This season) was tough and it was unfortunate," quarterback Marcus Mariota added. "But we kind of put ourselves in this position."

Even with the disappointing finish, Oregon still reached the 10-win mark for the sixth straight season and has played in a bowl game in 21 of the past 25 years.

After a slow 1-2 start to the season, Texas played itself back into the picture in the Big 12 with a six-game winning streak, and even with a Nov. 16 loss to Oklahoma State (38-13), it was still in position to win the league outright on the final day of the season but ultimately lost at Baylor, 30-10. Following the regular season, Mack Brown announced his resignation after 16 years at the helm, although he will finish out his tenure by coaching this matchup.

"It's sad to see him go," Texas running back Malcolm Brown said. "At the same time, he's told us that it was his decision and that we just need to focus on beating Oregon. That's the main priority right now. Like I said, that was his decision, and it'll work itself out."

"(Brown's departure) can't change the way we prepare," quarterback Case McCoy said. "We've got to go prepare like we have most of the year...It's a big bowl game for us."

Texas leads the all-time series with Oregon, 4-1. The only meeting in the past 42 years came in the 2000 Holiday Bowl, when the Ducks defeated the Longhorns, 35-30.

Although the Ducks' offensive attack came up small in their two losses this season, for the most part the unit has been nothing short of outstanding, ranking second in the nation in yards per game (573.0) and third in points per game (46.8).

Marcus Mariota orchestrated the offense under center and was one of the nation's best, completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,412 yards with 30 touchdowns with just four interceptions, adding 582 rushing yards and nine more scores on the ground. Mariota, once a projected first round pick in May's NFL Draft, decided to return for his junior season in 2014, which is sure to make the Ducks a top contender once again.

Oregon's rushing attack has been potent (278.3 ypg), but it might be without Byron Marshall (995 yards, 14 TDs), who's listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Luckily the team has plenty of horses in the stable, as Thomas Tyner (689 yards, nine TDs) and De'Anthony Thomas (581 yards, eight TDs) have both been impressive as well, each averaging at least 6.2 yards per carry.

Mariota has a couple of big-play receivers to rely on out wide in Josh Huff (57 receptions, 1,036 yards, 11 TDs) and Bralon Addison (56 receptions, 842 yards, seven TDs).

Atypical of such a high-scoring team, Oregon played great defense this season, allowing just 21.6 points per game while generating 27 turnovers.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (78 tackles, three INTs) earned First Team All-Pac-12 honors and proved to be one of the nation's best shut-down corners. Derrick Malone leads the unit with 102 tackles, while Tony Washington anchors the defensive line with 12.0 TFL, 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

As for Texas' offense, despite coming up small in the season finale against Baylor (217 yards, 10 points), it still enjoyed a stellar season in scoring 31.2 points per game.

With David Ash lost for the season in mid-October, Case McCoy took over as the full-time starting quarterback to middling success, completing less than 58 percent of his passes for 1,885 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The Longhorns were also bit by the injury bug in the backfield when Johnathan Gray (780 yards, four TDs) went down for the year with a calf injury. Malcolm Brown has taken over as the bell cow in his absence, turning 188 carries into 774 yards and nine touchdowns. Joe Bergeron (341 yards, four TDs) is also mixed in, but he's listed as questionable with a foot injury.

Jaxon Shipley (55 receptions, 581 yards) acts as the top receiving target, but he's scored just one touchdown. Meanwhile, Mike Davis has caught 49 passes for 715 yards and eight scores.

Facing the high-flying offenses of the Big 12, the Longhorns' defense held their own in allowing 25.5 points and 402.1 yards per game while forcing 26 turnovers.

Jackson Jeffcoat was a unanimous First Team All-American selection at defensive end, as he racked up 80 tackles, 21 TFL, 12.0 sacks, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, an interception and a blocked kick. Cedric Reed (18 TFL, 9.0 sacks, four FF) was also dominant up front, while Duke Thomas led the squad with three interceptions.

The Longhorns will certainly be playing with a chip on their shoulder in this one wanting to give their head coach a strong bowl win to go out on, and that incentive could be enough against an Oregon squad clearly disappointed with its season and possibly already looking forward to 2014. In the end, however, McCoy and the Texas offense simply don't have enough firepower to keep pace with Mariota and company.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 38, Texas 28

12/25 09:57:41 ET

Other Stories

  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Tomorrow at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Tomorrow at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
ECU 31
UCONN 21
Final
CHA 79
IND 88
Final
CAL 5
CAR 0
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
CAR
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
CHA 79
IND 88
Final
DET 109
PHI 103
Final
NOP 88
DAL 85
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
NYK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
MIA
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
MIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
SAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
PHO
 
10:00pm Tonight
LAL
SAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
DEN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
POR
 
Final
ECU 31
UCONN 21
Final
VT 6
MIAMI 30
7:00pm Tonight
CIN
SFLA
7:30pm Tonight
SALABAMA
TROY
9:00pm Tonight
BSU
BYU
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
OREG
Final
BOS 2
NYI 3
Final
DET 4
PIT 3
Final
MIN 2
ARI 0
Final
NAS 3
CHI 2
Final
STL 1
VAN 4
Final
CAL 5
CAR 0
Final
LOS 2
BUF 0
Final
SJS 4
CLB 5
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
TAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
VAN
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
CAR
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
CLB
 
Final
DEN 35
SDC 21