It's all about the "O' as Oregon and Oklahoma State will battle in this year's Holiday Bowl.
Holiday Bowl president Larry Baber said, “The Ducks and Cowboys are two high scoring football teams that will surely treat fans to a great football game. I think it’s safe to expect yet another exciting Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.”
Head coach Mike Bellotti brings his Oregon Ducks to San Diego after finishing the regular season with an overall record of 9-3, 7-2 in the Pac-10. This is Oregon’s third appearance in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. They beat Texas 35-30 in 2000 and were defeated by Oklahoma 17-14 in 2005.
Oregon’s offense is led by senior running back Jeremiah Johnson who finished the regular season with 1,082 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry and 90.2 yards per game for an offense that led the Pac-10 in scoring (41.9 points per game). On the other side of the ball, senior defensive end Nick Reed led the conference with 13 sacks and five fumble recoveries. He also recorded 50 tackles.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys, guided by head coach Mike Gundy, also enter the bowl game with a 9-3 overall record, and were 5-3 in the Big 12. The only previous Oklahoma State appearance in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl came in 1988 with Gundy under center for the Cowboys. In a 62-14 route of Wyoming, Gundy passed for 315 yards and two touchdowns. When Gundy wasn't throwing, he was handing off to the legendary Barry Sanders. The 1988 Heisman Trophy winner rushed for 222 yards and five touchdowns.
Said Gundy, “It was a tremendous experience for me as a player and I’m happy our team will get to enjoy San Diego and the festivities that surround a great bowl game. We look forward to playing an excellent Oregon team.”
Sophomore running back Kendall Hunter leads the Cowboys offensive attack. He rushed for a conference-best 1,518 yards on just 228 carries, and tallied 14 touchdowns. Defensively, junior linebacker Orie Lemon had a stellar season with 52 solo tackles and 84 total tackles to rank among the Big 12 Conference leaders.
This will be the first ever meeting of the two universities.