Arthur and I were hanging out today and decided to play some NCAA 13; after Arthur dragged my ass up and down the field in our first game (NTU 63-WKU 31) we decided to play the Fiesta Bowl. And boy was it an exciting game to play. That being said, before we get into the details of the game I should make a few things clear. This game was played as an exhibition match-up; that means everybody was healthy and all the predicted starters from August started in this game. As a result of this game being an exhibition game there are no injuries from a 12-game season; and Arthur (Oregon) and I (Kansas State) have different styles of play from the real-life teams. Now let’s get to the Fiesta Bowl!
From the opening kick it immediately became clear that this game was going to be a track meet, and I mean immediately from the opening kick as HB #6 (De’Anthony Thomas) returned the kickoff for 106-yards for a touchdown. Kansas state responded in just over a minute driving down the field and capping it with a 33-yard touchdown pass to TE #80 (Travis Tannahill). Kansas State got pressure on Oregon’s QB #2 (Bryan Bennett) who immediately responded by throwing the first of his two picks; and Kansas immediately turned that into a touchdown. Oregon responded with a drive of their own, tying the score up at 14-14 with 33 seconds left in the first quarter.
The scoring in the first quarter wasn’t done either as Kansas State QB #7 (Collin Klein) connected with WR #86 on an 80-yard catch-and-run TD. But De’Anthony Thomas struck again 12 seconds later and took the kick off back 107-yards for the touchdown to close out the first quarter with the score all tied up at 21.
Oregon dominated the second quarter scoring 14 unanswered points. Both were touchdown passes from Bennett; the first was a 27-yard pass to WR #81 (Aaron Lee). The second pass was a seven yard goal line pass from Bennett to TE #32 (Evan Baylis). That gave the Ducks a 35-21 lead heading into the half.
Coming out of the half I benched Collin Klein; he finished the night going 7-12 (58.3% accuaracy) with 227 yards, 2 TDs and 4 INTs. His back-up (in the game listed as QB #9 and not visible on the official roster) came in and moved the Wildcat offense down the field scoring on a three-yard pass to WR #3 (Chris Harper). On the Duck’s ensuing drive pressure again forced Bennett into a bad throw and he would end up throwing his second pick of the game. The Wildcats took the turnover down and turned it into a 34-yard field goal. That was it for scoring in the third quarter; the score standing at 34-31 Ducks.
It came down to the fourth quarter where the Ducks would really struggle to get their offense moving and Kansas State was able to control the clock and move the football. The first score of the Quarter belonged to Travis Tannahill as he caught a six yard TD pass from QB #9 to put the Wildcats up 38-34 after the PAT. Again it did not take the Ducks long to respond and again it was on an explosive play; a 89-yard touchdown pass from Bennett to WR #16 (Daryle Hawkins) with 26 seconds left in the ball game, the score was 42-38 Ducks.
Kansas State now had the near-impossible task of marching down the field and scoring a touchdown to win the ball game. And somehow the Wildcats connected on a 70-yard pass to put them in the redzone with 12 seconds left in the ball game. QB #9 snuck into the goal line from the one yard line to put the Wildcats up 45-42 after the PAT. An onside kick later (I was trying to burn the last two seconds on the clock with a short kick) the Wildcats again had possession. I got greedy and went for the Hail Mary pass at the end of regulation and it was picked off; fortunately I got the tackle and the game was over. QB #9 earns my Fiesta Bowl MVP as he took over the offense and maintained possession of the ball; he went 15-23 (65.2% accuracy) with 186 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT and of course the game winning TD.
The Ducks most valuable player was obviously DAT who’s two kick returns for touchdowns amassed 213 yards were the primary reasons the Ducks were even able to stay in this ball game. Kansas State out gained the Ducks 547-204 yards. Through the air the Wildcats out gained the Ducks 461 (24-37 completions-attempts) to 173 (6-14 completions-attempts) yards; on the ground again the Wildcats out gained the Ducks 86 (31 attempts) to 31 (15 attempts) yards. It was a dominating game for the Wildcats that if not for several bad throws by Klein would have turned the Fiesta Bowl into a blowout.