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(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: Wake Forest at Duke

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at Clemson

    Tonight at 9:00 on WRAL-FM

  • ACC: Duke vs. Wake Forest

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 620am

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Thursday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Thursday at 9:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
Final
MIA 7
FIU 2
 
Final
DET 12
FLASO 2
 
1:05pm Today
DET
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
MIAFLA
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
NEASTERN
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
PIT
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
OAK
SFG
 
4:05pm Today
BOS
BOSTONCOLL
 
5:10pm Tonight
ARI
ASU
 
Final
PHI 103
TOR 114
Final
BRK 110
GSW 108
Final
MIA 115
PHO 98
Final
MIN 105
LAC 110
Final
DAL 102
NOP 93
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
MIL
 
Final
TEX 61
BAY 59
Final
SYR 47
UVA 59
Final
SHSU 76
CARK 49
 
Final
NWST 92
SELA 79
 
Final
NCAT 67
COOK 50
 
Final
HOW 61
NORST 59
 
Final
DELST 85
HAMP 75
 
Final
STEPH 83
INCWORD 62
 
Final
MCNST 70
LAM 69
 
Final
NO 79
NICST 89
 
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
Final
ALAAM 75
TXSOU 77
 
Final
VT 59
BC 66
Final
MVSU 66
GRAM 62
 
Final
ISU 77
OKLA 70
Final
ALAST 65
PVU 67
 
Final
ARKPB 64
JST 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
UMO
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
BST
EMICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUT
GEOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
IND
IOWA
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
JVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
USCU
KNST
 
7:00pm Tonight
BGU
KSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
NKENTUCKY
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
HC
GHND
 
7:00pm Tonight
RUTG
MD
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
OHIO
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
MISS
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
RIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
TOL
 
7:00pm Tonight
DET
YOUNG
 
7:30pm Tonight
UNF
STET
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
HOUB
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
NEOM
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
WMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILLCH
WRST
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIZZ
AUB
 
9:00pm Tonight
UGA
KENT
 
9:00pm Tonight
NW
MICH
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
UF
TEXAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
KU
WVU
 
9:15pm Tonight
CREI
VILL
 
Final
NYR 4
NAS 1
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SJS 4
MON 0
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
NAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
BUF
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
OTT
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
ANA
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
LOS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS