The 2021 Fiesta Bowl begins at 4 p.m. EST on January 2nd, 2021. The New Years’ Six bowl game will feature No. 10 Iowa State (8-3) and No. 25 Oregon (4-2) on ESPN.
This 2021 game will be the 50th Fiesta Bowl since its establishment in 1971.
The Cyclones and the Ducks will face off in State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Iowa State is a 4.5-point favorite to win.
This will be the fourth straight bowl game for both teams. Since 2017, Oregon is 2-1 in bowl games, while Iowa State is 1-2. The Ducks are riding a two-game winning streak, while the Cyclones are in a two-game skid.
2021 Fiesta Bowl Preview
The Fiesta Bowl has been the site of many historic college football games. No. 2 Ohio State took down No. 1 Miami in the 2002 game. No. 9 Boise State pulled out the famous statue of liberty play against No. 7 Oklahoma in 2007. As far back as last year, the thriller between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson decided which team Joe Burrow would dismantle in the National Championship.
This will be Iowa State’s first appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. Coincidentally, Iowa State’s first bowl game was in 1971, the same year as the inaugural Fiesta Bowl. The Cyclones are 4-11 in bowl games in their history.
This will also be the first-ever matchup between Oregon and Iowa State.
Oregon is making their third appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, and they are undefeated in the game so far.
This is Oregon’s fourth straight bowl game under head coach Mario Cristobal. The Ducks have won their last two, a 28-27 win against No. 8 Wisconsin in last years’ Rose Bowl.
Oregon is also coming off a surprise Pac-12 Championship. When Washington couldn’t participate due to having too many COVID-19 cases, unranked Oregon traveled to No. 13 USC, who was 5-0 at the time and won the championship game 31-24.
The day before, Cristobal received a contract extension through 2025. This move was likely to keep him from potentially taking the opening at Auburn, but the Ducks are grateful benefactors anyway.
After the late start for the Pac-12, Oregon started off with three straight wins. They dropped their games against Oregon State and California. They won their last game of the season, the Pac-12 Championship, and cracked the CFP top 25 going into bowl season.
The leading passer is sophomore quarterback Tyler Shough. The first-year starter has completed 62.7 percent of his passes in six games this season, with 1,480 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also has 62 rushes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Shough is third in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game.
C.J. Verdell leads the team with rushing attempts, with 65 rushes for 285 yards and three touchdowns. The leader in rushing yards is Travis Dye, with 391 on 56 attempts with one touchdown. Dye also leads the team in receiving touchdowns with four, which is good for third-best in the conference.
Oregon’s defense is middle-of-the-pack in most statistical categories in the conference. Names to watch on defense are defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, linebackers Isaac Slade-Matautia and Noah Sewell, and defensive back Jamal Hill.
Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State started off on a shaky note with a loss to Louisiana in Week 1. They quickly rebounded and defeated No. 18 Oklahoma in Week 3, and became the top team in the conference in the regular season.
Oklahoma got their revenge in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game, winning 27-21 and denying Iowa State their first Big 12 title.
The most well-known Cyclone outside of Ames, Iowa would be Breece Hall. The Iowa State running back has 245 rushing attempts this season, 1,436 yards, and 19 rushing touchdowns. He also has 21 receptions for 170 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
Hall finished 6th in Heisman voting and 7th in our own poll. That makes hall only the third cyclone to receive votes for the Heisman Trophy and the first since 1996.
While Hall finished the season with Heisman buzz, but at the beginning of the season, the attention went to quarterback Brock Purdy. He passed for 2,594 yards, 18 touchdowns, and nine interceptions while completing 66.4 percent of his passes.
Purdy likes throwing the ball to Xavier Hutchinson, who has 60 receptions with 726 yards and four touchdowns. Charlie Kolar leads the team in receiving touchdowns with six while hauling in 39 receptions for 538 yards.
Hall and Purdy led the Cyclones to the third-highest scoring and total offenses in the conference, behind Texas and Oklahoma on both counts. They also have the second-highest scoring defense behind West Virginia and the third-highest total defense behind West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Junior linebacker Mike Rose leads the charge on defense. He is third in the conference in tackles and tied for first in interceptions.
While Iowa State is favored to win, Oregon has had their share of shocking upsets this season. The 2021 Fiesta Bowl might provide another instant classic.