Good Cop/Bad Cop: Fiesta Bowl

Brock Purdy (No. 15) of the Iowa State Cyclones runs during the first half of the 2020 Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

Megan Teske, ; Sam Stuve

Good Cop: Megan Teske

The Cyclones finally made it. A New Year’s Six bowl, another new height they have reached this season that has not been done before.

Iowa State will take on the Oregon Ducks at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, a team who beat the Wisconsin Badgers last year at the Rose Bowl.

I anticipate this being a close game.

It will be interesting to see how the amount of games played in a season affects how a team plays.

Oregon played only six games this season, with its last one a win over the University of Southern California for another Pac-12 Championship. Iowa State, on the other hand, played 11 games, with their last game ending in a loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship.

More games could be either good or bad, with them possibly leaving players more tired out, but also giving them more chances to build chemistry and get experience.

I’m predicting it will go the latter for the Cyclones and experience, especially the new experience they just had on a big stage like the Big 12 Championship, will only play in their favor.

I expect running back Breece Hall to have a big game after finishing in sixth place in Heisman voting against an Oregon defense that gives up almost 160 rushing yards per game.

Quarterback Brock Purdy will also look to bounce back after a three-interception performance in the Big 12 Championship, so I think the Cyclones should be putting some points up on the board in the Fiesta Bowl.

Iowa State’s defense has been solid this season, and they will need to continue that against the Ducks.

The Cyclones will need to limit the Ducks’ big plays downfield and defensive ends Will McDonald and JaQuan Bailey will have to continue to pressure quarterback Tyler Shough and force him to commit a few turnovers.

It will be a close matchup, but I think the loss in the Big 12 Championship will give Iowa State an extra push to win the game.

Prediction: Iowa State 38, Oregon 31

Bad Cop: Sam Stuve

For the first time in program history, Iowa State will play in a New Year’s Six bowl, the Fiesta Bowl. In its first-ever New Year’s Six bowl game, it’ll face the 25th-ranked Oregon Ducks.

I expect this to be a close one.

Last year, Oregon won the Rose Bowl in a close game, although this year’s team is different from last year’s.

Oregon’s offense, led by sophomore quarterback Tyler Shough, should be able to put up a few touchdown passes on Iowa State’s defense that has given up big plays this season (more so in the early portion of the season).

Oregon won the Pac-12 Championship this season by forcing USC (ranked 13th at the time) to commit turnovers — three interceptions.

Early on in the game, Oregon should be in position to create a turnover.

With this being the first New Year’s Six game Iowa State has ever played in, I think Iowa State may struggle on offense to begin the game, kind of like it did against Oklahoma.

Despite that, I think Iowa State will hold a lead, be tied with Oregon or trail by a small margin at halftime.

I expect Iowa State to establish the ground game against an Oregon defense that allows nearly 160 rushing yards a game (Iowa State only allows 104.6).

This should lead to a pair of touchdowns for Iowa State running back Breece Hall.

I think Iowa State wins this game thanks to a field goal, a pair of touchdowns by Brock Purdy and Breece Hall, as well as a late defensive stop.

Prediction: Iowa State 31, Oregon 28