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3 Keys to the Holiday Bowl

What a great way to end the season. Mike Bellotti secures another 10-win season, his 4th. Oregon has another 300 yard day, and the much maligned defense made the plays that it needed to, keeping Oregon in the game during a sloppy first half.

But there were a few things with this game that brought out a victory.

1) Oregon was the far more physical team in the game, and Oklahoma State was toast by the 4th quarter.

Mike Gundy admitted after the game, "They were just more physical.”

Dez Bryant was shaken up multiple times, and was a non-factor in the 4th quarter. Zac Robinson could not throw an accurate pass by the end of the game, having taken an enormous hit by TJ Ward at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, and multiple tough shots throughout. This clearly affected him late in the game.

On top of this, Oregon controlled the lines of scrimmage. OSU could not run the ball nearly as effectively as they had the entire season. Hunter got on 37 yards on 13 carries, when he had been the leading rusher in the Big 12 before this game.

As much as the spread has gotten away from smash mouth football, a spread team can get out there and punch the other team out. Oregon came out and did that, and the physical play took away what OSU tried to do.

2) Jeremiah Masoli can run the spread option as well as just about any QB I've seen.

He made on mistake on the game, the 4th and goal that was stuffed, but other than that, he was pretty darn great. It should be said again, this play really does make our offense. It spreads the defense more than any other play that we run. And this play was not run effectively to any degree until the UCLA game.

When run effectively, this opens up everything Oregon wants to do. They can run, they can pass, and it's almost impossible to stop. Masoli continued to run it very skilfully, setting up the offensive output in the second half.

3) Chip Kelly decided to run the ball in the 2nd half.

In the first half, Jeremiah Johnson touched the ball 5 times. Jamere Holland ran the ball once, and Blount did not touch the ball. This was out of 33 plays. This was totally unacceptable. But Kelly pulled it together in the 2nd half, the running game was emphasiszed, and 35 points were put on the board.

This is no coincidence. The OSU defense was worn down and pushed around in the second half. There was never any inkling that OSU would be able to stop the Oregon rushing game. They frequently had no clue where the ball was, and could not handle the physicality of the Oregon line, Masoli, or Blount.

It took a half to get there, but Oregon asserted it's strengths when it mattered most.

Overall, it was a sloppy, yet exciting game. Oregon dominated the second half due to physicality and making the right adjustments, and it's a perfect cap to what turned out to be a great season.

If you have any specific observations or keys to the game, leave em in the comments.