Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder said he was "quite honored" to receive an invitation to play in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, while Oregon coach Chip Kelly said he was "quite excited" for the opportunity to play the Wildcats.
The matchup for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was made official Sunday night with the Wildcats vs. Ducks matchup being one of 11-1 teams.
The kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. (central time) on Jan. 3, at the home of the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. The game will be televised by ESPN.
On playing a Snyder-coached team, Kelly said, "He'll go down in history as one of the greatest college football coaches that we've ever seen. He has a model to run a program by."
The challenge for the Wildcats will be mighty as Oregon has been in the BCS family of bowl games four consecutive years and sport an offense that ranks No. 2 in the nation with its 50.8 point average and 550-yard per game average.
Speaking of Oregon's fastbreak style, Snyder said, "Oregon plays even faster than some of the teams in our conference where they snap the ball between 17 and 18 seconds. Oregon operates faster than that, so it will be an additional challenge from what we've faced so far."
Of the Ducks rapid style, Kelly said, "We just think it's a weapon that we can use, but we don't play fast all the time."
Asked if his club really runs a play every 13 seconds, Kelly replied, "We just try to play. We don't put a clock on it."
Oregon's offense is led by Kenjon Barner, who has rushed for 1,624 yards and 21 scores, while quarterback Marcus Maniota has passed for 2,511 yards with 30 TDs to only 6 interceptions.
On defense, Oregon has forced a nation-leading 38 turnovers.
Kansas State's Collin Klein said of the invitation, "It's a true blessing to play our final game of the year, and my final college game, in the Fiesta Bowl. The goal all along was to lead this team to a conference championship and a BCS bowl game, and with the unity we showed throughout the season, we were able to accomplish that."
Linebacker Arthur Brown added, "It's an honor to be able to play in the Fiesta Bowl against a great Oregon team. It's my job to get our guys focused and ready to play our best game of the season."
KELLY LIKE SNYDER:
Asked about the philosophy of his program, in his own words, Kelly echoed the words Snyder has said at K-State for his 21 years: "If you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves whether that's on the field, on the practice field or in the classroom. It's about taking care of things on a daily basis. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished, but it's only a validation of us doing things the right way."
COACHES DUCK AND DODGE:
It was in 2007 that then KSU football coach Ron Prince scheduled a home-and-home set of games with the Oregon Ducks for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. When Bill Snyder returned from retirement in 2009, opting out of the series was high on his priority list.
Sunday night in a teleconference call, he explained that the game "… didn't fit our scheduling philosophy."
When Kelly was asked about the game, he would only say, "I was told to find another game. I didn't ask why. Is it ironic (that the teams are now playing)? I don't know. We'll see."
In the Associated Press poll released Sunday, Oregon was No. 5 and K-State No. 7. Notre Dame was No. 1, followed by Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Oregon, Georgia, K-State, Stanford, LSU and Texas A&M.
In the USA Today Poll, it was Notre Dame, Alabama, No. 3 Oregon, Florida, Georgia, No. 6 Kansas State, followed by LSU, Stanford, Texas A&M and South Carolina.
SICKNING SATURDAY – NOV. 17, 2012 –
It was a day that dreams suffered a national championship death.
In Waco, Texas, Kansas State was thrashed by unranked Baylor, 52-24, and in Eugene, Ore., Oregon lost to No. 14 Stanford, 17-14, leaving both schools on the outside of the BCS championship game.
BIG GAME FOR HARPER:
Kansas State's leading receiver Chris Harper started his career at the University of Oregon in 2008 out of Wichita Northwest High School.
Harper became the first player in the previous eight seasons that ran, passed and caught a touchdown in the same season for Oregon. He started as a quarterback, but then moved to wide receiver.
"I'm sure the game will have additional meaning for him," said Snyder. "I know I'm awfully pleased to have him. He's a really fine young man and athlete."
THIRD TRIP TO FIESTA BOWL:
Kansas State sports a 1-1 record in the Fiesta Bowl.
In 1997, Michael Bishop took the spotlight over Donavan McNabb of Syracuse in a 35-18 victory over the Orangemen. Bishop rushed for 77 yards and passed for 317 yards and four TDs. Darnell McDonald caught seven passes for 206 yards and three scores.
Following the 2003 season, No. 8 K-State lost to No. 7 Ohio State, 35-28. Ell Roberson passed for 294 yards and rushed for 32, plus scored two ground TDs.