Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Iowa State odds, preview, and pick

Profile Picture: Jason Ence

December 29th, 2020

The Iowa State Cyclones, the Big 12 conference regular-season champions, will face off with the Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.

Sat, January 2 2021, 9:00 PM

Iowa State Cyclones






O 57.5

Oregon Ducks






U 57.5

Oregon took full advantage of strange opportunity

The Ducks finished 3-2 in the regular season, and third in their division. In a scenario fitting of 2020, they still managed to sneak into the Pac-12 title game after Washington had to drop out. The Ducks then knocked off the USC Trojans to claim the conference for the second straight season.

The Ducks jumped out to a 21-7 lead and had to hold on late to claim the victory, in a game where Oregon had two different quarterbacks throw a pair of touchdowns each. Tyler Shough only gained 91 yards in the air on 8-of-15 passing, and backup Anthony Brown threw for only 17 more on his three completions. However, four of their eleven completions found the end zone, as Oregon capitalized on three Trojan turnovers to score on drives of nine, 32, and 41 yards in the first half.

DE Kayvon Thibodeaux was a force on the defensive side of the ball, as the MVP recorded five tackles and a sack and will look to be a disruptive force again in the bowl game. However, Oregon’s rushing attack will likely need to improve, as the Ducks only rushed for just 223 yards on 88 carries over their last two games. Given the Cyclones’ 13th-best rush defense, it will be imperative they are able to take pressure off the QBs if they want to pull out the victory.

Iowa State looking to rebound from disappointing defeat

Meanwhile, the Cyclones come into the game having lost their conference title game, falling 27-21 to Oklahoma in a tough game. They failed to end the Sooners’ five-year conference reign, as they were unable to dig themselves out of a 17-0 first-half hole. QB Brock Purdy threw three interceptions on the day, and Iowa State came well short of their average of nearly 200 yards rushing per game.

RB Breece Hall was held to just 79 yards rushing on 23 carries, failing to break the century mark for just the third time in 11 games this year. The nation’s leading rusher on the year, Hall will be keen to face an Oregon defense that allowed nearly 185 yards per game this season before the USC game.

On defense, the Cyclones have been terrific this year, ranked in the top 25 nationally in rushing defense, time of possession, and plays against per game. They allow just 104.6 yards rushing per game, and held the Sooners to just 120 yards. Prior to their loss to Oklahoma, Iowa State’s defense had allowed just 26 total points over the previous three games.

Iowa State's defense will be the difference

Iowa State has been at its best this year when they can control the clock and pound the rock. This is the perfect matchup for them, against an Oregon team that is among the worst in the country offensively in time of possession and fewest plays.

Given their struggles with running the ball of late, Oregon is unlikely to cause problems for Iowa State’s stout run defense, meaning the Ducks will need their quarterbacks to make big plays. That will likely be too tall a task in this game.

Will Iowa State cover the spread against Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl?

Both teams have already won in a way, as every player will receive a highly sought-after Playstation 5 as a gift. However, only Iowa State’s players will take home a Fiesta Bowl ring along with it as they will win this game easily.

Score prediction: Iowa State 31, Oregon 17

NCAAF picks: Iowa State -4.5, Under 57.5