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Oregon Football

Oregon drops Fiesta Bowl to Iowa State

January 2, 2021

No. 25 Oregon traveled south to Arizona play against the No. 10 Iowa State Cyclones. Oregon’s defense was soaring high from the USC game, while the offense looked to right the ship with a combination of Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown, while starting running back CJ Verdell was ruled out shortly before kickoff. He was dressed in his jersey and street clothes.

The Ducks won the toss and deferred to the second half. 

Brock Purdy and the Iowa State offense wasted no time going to work on the first drive of the game. The Cyclones pounded the rock, running it nine times on the 15 play, 75-yard touchdown drive. It was a heavy dose of star Breece Hall, mixed in with short roll out passes from Purdy. Iowa State ran 7:36 off the clock. 

The Oregon offense and Tyler Shough took the field needing to respond. Shough’s throws weren’t very pretty on the first drive, but he was able to connect with Mycah Pittman twice. Travis Dye took a screen pass 18 yards and followed that up with a 23-yard run to get the Ducks inside the ten.

The Ducks then brought in Anthony Brown who kept it himself for a six-yard touchdown. Ducks respond to draw even with a 7 play, 73-yard touchdown drive that took 3:10 off the clock. 

The Ducks’ defense was looking solid as the first quarter came to a close, swarming to the ball and tightening up inside. The Cyclones continued to favor the run, but when they did pass it was relatively short and simple throws to the big physical tight ends that gave Oregon problems early on. As the first quarter came to a close the Cyclones were driving past midfield. 

Iowa State leaned on Hall to get them into the red zone, and Purdy would find tight end Charlie Kolar wide open for six. 14-7 Iowa State. 

The Ducks would give the ball right back on the ensuing drive as Travis Dye would fumble. 

The Cyclones’ offense took over at the Oregon 15 in prime position to score. Not too much later Mykael Wright would come over the top and lay a big hit on the Iowa State receiver to break up what likely would have been another touchdown. 

Oregon’s defense would catch a break when Purdy connected with Xavier Hutchinson, who wouldn’t be able to come down with the ball in bounds. The drive would come down to fourth-and-goal, and Oregon’s defense would hold Breece Hall out of the endzone. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Popo Auamavae were in on the stop. 

Anthony Brown would take over at quarterback and the offense looked like an entirely different animal. He connected with numerous targets including Jaylon Redd, Mycah Pittman, Johnny Johnson and Devon Williams to drive the offense into the red zone, where he capped off a nine play, 98-yard drive with his second rushing touchdown of the day from 16 yards out. 

From there, things started to sprial out of control for Oregon. 

Purdy would escape the pocket and slide for the first down and was hit late by Isaac-Slade Matautia. The play was received and he was ejected for targeting. The Ducks would call on walk-on linebacker Nick Wiebe to take over after Slade-Matautia’s ejection. 

From there, a 30-yard pass to Xavier Hutchinson and strong running from Brreece Hall got the Cyclones down the field. Purdy would keep it himself and use a pump fake to get Mase Funa off his feet before scoring another touchdown on the ground. 

With just under two minutes to go in the half, Iowa State would sky the kickoff, dropping it in over DJ Johnson’s head. He likely thought it was headed out of bounds and didn’t catch it, and the Cyclones’ hands team slid in to recover the kick just outside the red zone. 

It would take only three plays for Iowa State to score again, widening its lead to two scores, 28-14. 

The Ducks got the ball back needing points before the half and Anthony Brown continued firing some great passes into tight coverage. After he found a rumbling Cyrus Habibi-Likio for a 26-yard gain on a screen. He connected with Mycah Pittman soon after for a touchdown but that was called back after a Steven Jones holding call.

Brown would take another shot at the end zone to Devon Williams but led him out of bounds despite having him wide open. 

The Ducks would have to settle for a 47-yard field goal from Henry Katleman and entered the half trailing 28-17.

Oregon received the second half kickoff and punted. 

The defense was able to respond and Jordon Scott got home for the Ducks’ first sack of the game. Iowa State was forced to punt for the first time but the punt was muffed by Oregon after it hit off Mykael Wright and Iowa State recovered deep in Oregon territory. The Oregon defense held and was able to limit the special teams’ mistake to a field goal. Iowa State led 31-17 with 6:30 left in the third quarter. 

The teams would trade punts before Tyler Shough would return to the game for Oregon. Joe Moorhead called two run plays and brought Anthony Brown back in for third down, who would fumble after getting the yardage needed for the first down. 

After a first half that flew by, this game was grinding to a slow crawl due to Oregon mistakes that seemingly couldn’t stop. 

Iowa State would grind the clock down and settle for another field goal which put the game further out of reach while Oregon continued to struggle on offense. Iowa State led 34-17 with six minutes to go. 

The staff would go back to Tyler Shough once again, as the team went back and forth between him and Brown. Shough would throw an interception for Oregon’s fourth turnover of the game. 

Iowa State would run out the clock and the game was over. 

Tags: Football, Oregon
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