For as much as Texas fans like to point out their disappointment in returning to the Alamo Bowl, Oregon fans have just as big a gripe. Just four games ago, the Ducks were sitting on top of the world at 8-0, staring a potential BCS National Championship berth in the face. Instead, thanks in part to some key injuries, the Ducks sputtered down the stretch, going 2-2 with losses to Stanford and Arizona.
Oregon's primary danger is in its elite offense. The Ducks were sixth nationally in Offensive S&P+, with top-10 marks in rushing (2), passing (7), on standard downs (6) and on passing downs (5).
A big part of the reason for Oregon's offensive balance is quarterback Marcus Mariota (6-4 211), who was arguably the No. 1 candidate for the Heisman Trophy before suffering an injury. He still completed 63.1 percent of his throws for 3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns to four interceptions. He also ran 81 times for 582 yards and nine touchdowns, despite the MCL injury slowing his mobility.
Oregon's top two running backs this season, thanks in part of a banged-up De'Anthony Thomas (5-9 169), have been Byron Marshall (5-10 207) and Thomas Tyner (5-11 201). Marshall is just short of the 1,000-yard mark, running 155 times for 995 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tyner, a freshman with explosive speed, ran 109 times for 689 yards and inn scores. Even after missing time, Thomas still had 581 rushing yards on 93 carries and 222 receiving yards on 20 catches, along with nine combined touchdowns.
All told, the trio combined to run 357 times for 2,265 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns, averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
At wide receiver, Josh Huff (5-11 202) and Bralon Addison (5-10 181) — both Texas natives — create matchup problems for those who neglect Oregon's passing game. Huff has 57 catches for 1,036 yards and 11 touchdowns this year, with Addison just trailing him with 56 catches for 842 yards and seven touchdowns.
Center Hroniss Grasu (6-3 297) made first-team All-Pac 12.
Defensively, the Ducks have been in college football's top third, ranking 36th nationally in Defensive S&P+.
That includes nearly identical ranks on Run Defense S&P+ (57th) and Pass Defense S&P+ (56th), along with similar numbers on standard downs (43rd) and passing downs (46th).
Oregon's pass rush is led by defensive end Tony Washington (6-3 243), who had 56 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks in the regular season. Washington forced a team-high four fumbles. Linebacker Derrick Malone (6-2 212) paced the team in tackles with 102. And cornerback Terrance Mitchell (6-0 189) had the top interception mark on the squad, picking off five passes.
Cover cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (5-10 185) was second on the Ducks in both tackles with 78 and interceptions with three, while earning first-team All-Pac 12 Honors. Defensive tackle Taylor Hart (6-6 287) made the second team by making 64 stops, including 5.5 tackles for loss. He also forced three fumbles.