The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (12-1) will be taking on the No. 3 Florida State (13-0) in the Rose Bowl semi-final of the brand new College Football playoff. Oregon’s offense was able to put up points in bunches throughout the season, when the offensive line was healthy, and the Ducks often ended up dominating games no matter who the opponent was. While Florida State frequently struggled to pull away from its opponents throughout the season.
This game should be a high scoring affair as it pits two of the best offenses in the country against each other. Oregon averaged 46.3 points per game during the 2014 season — that’s the No. 3 scoring offense in the nation — thanks to its impressive passing attack that averaged 10.04 yards per attempt. The Ducks’ passing attack helped to open up their rushing attack, as Oregon averaged an impressive 5.5 yards per carry (despite having seven different ball carries with more than 50 carries this past season).
Florida State’s offensive attack also scored a lot in 2014, as the Seminoles averaged 34.6 points per game during the season — that’s the 29th best scoring offense in the country. The Seminoles weren’t as explosive as Oregon, but still averaged an impressive 8.33 yards per attempt during the season. As for the rushing attack, FSU’s offense is above average — the Seminoles averaged 4.3 yards per carry — throughout the season.
Will either offensive attack make our three things to watch for the 101st Rose Bowl? Let’s take a look…
3) Oregon’s defense vs. FSU’s offense
Oregon’s defense secondary struggled to contain some of the more explosive passing offenses in the country (otherwise known as the Pac-12 North) throughout the season. The defensive line struggled to find consistently pressure, and contain, opposing quarterbacks. As the Ducks’ defense gave up 259 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns during its 13 games. This game is going to come down to Oregon’s ability to generate pressure on FSU quarterback Jamesis Winston, therefore forcing him to make decisions quicker — something that he has struggled with in the past.
2) Two Heisman Trophy winners, one football field
Marcus Mariota and Winston are the two best quarterbacks in college football; both are projected to be drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Both quarterbacks have powerful throwing arms, fast legs, can torch a defense on any play, and were awarded the Heisman Memorial Trophy.
Mariota won the 2014 Heisman Trophy as a result of a season where he threw 38 touchdowns, two interceptions, completed 38.4% of his passes, and averaged 10.17 yards per attempt. The quarterback also carried the ball 117 times for an average of 5.7 yards per carry and scored 14 touchdowns on the ground. He scored 52 touchdowns combined during his Heisman Trophy season.
Winston won the 2013 Heisman Trophy during an incredible season where he completed 66.9% of his passes for an average of 11.4 yards per attempt, and 40 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions. He wasn’t much of a threat on the ground in ’13 (88 carries, for 2.5 yards per carry). The quarterback has struggled throughout the 2014 season as he has tossed less touchdowns are way down, while his interceptions have gone up.
1) Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
The Oregon Ducks were really good at not turning the ball over in 2014. Oregon’s offense only turned the ball over two times during the season, and that was one of the reasons that the Ducks offense was so explosive during the season. Teams couldn’t outright stop the Ducks’ offensive attack, or force Oregon players into making poor decisions. As a result, the offense was able to just march down the field and score at will.
Florida State’s offense wasn’t nearly as good as Oregon’s at limiting turnovers in 2014. Winston was the biggest offender for the Seminole as he tossed 17 interceptions (out of 422 attempts). Interceptions (turnovers in general) are drive killers, and to have the star quarterback turn it over 17 times — and only toss 24 touchdowns — is a problem for any team.
Neither team’s offense recorded a lost fumble according to ESPN.
Rose Bowl game time information
Time and date: 5 pm on January 1st, 2015
Location: Pasadena, Calif.