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No. 25 Boise State looks to spoil Mario Cristobal’s Oregon debut

In this Sept. 26, 2017, photo, former Oregon offensive coordinator and current coach Mario Cristobal gestures during practice in Eugene, Ore. (Andy Nelson / Associated Press)
In this Sept. 26, 2017, photo, former Oregon offensive coordinator and current coach Mario Cristobal gestures during practice in Eugene, Ore. (Andy Nelson / Associated Press)
Associated Press

What’s at stake

The Broncos will try to end a three-game losing streak against Power 5 opposition. Mario Cristobal leads the Ducks in his first game since being promoted to head coach on Dec. 8 after Willie Taggart took the Florida State job.

Key matchup

Oregon QB Justin Herbert vs. Boise State’s pass defense. Oregon averaged 52.1 points in the seven games Herbert started this season, but only scored a total of 75 points in five games when the sophomore was out with a broken collarbone. Herbert, who has thrown 32 touchdown passes against seven interceptions in two seasons as a starter, faces a Boise State secondary that allowed 172 yards passing and no touchdowns through the air in the Mountain West championship game against Fresno State.

Players to watch

Boise State: WR Cedrick Wilson averaged 17.7 yards per catch, best among Mountain West receivers with at least 35 receptions, on the way to finishing with 1,290 yards receiving. Making the most of his two seasons with the Broncos after transferring from a junior college, Wilson has 17 career touchdowns receptions and has topped the 100-yard receiving mark 10 times.

Oregon: LB Troy Dye has 103 tackles in his sophomore season, 48 more than the next closest Oregon defender, middle linebacker Jimmie Swain. Dye’s 13.5 tackles for loss are tied for fourth in the Pac-12.

Facts & figures

Boise State’s last 19 senior classes have won at least one conference championship during their college careers, with 11 winning three or more. . The Broncos are 3-1 against Pac-12 teams in bowl games, including a 2-0 record in the Las Vegas Bowl with wins over Arizona State in 2011 and Washington in 2012. … Making their first postseason visit to Sin City since 2012, Boise State is 3-0 all-time in the Las Vegas Bowl. … Broncos cornerback Avery Williams averaged 12 yards per punt return to lead the Mountain West, scoring two touchdowns. … Cristobal is 1-1 as a head coach in bowl games, leading Florida International to a win in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and dropping the 2011 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. … Oregon threw for a total of 352 yards in the five games Herbert missed while injured. … Oregon LT Tyrell Crosby has not allowed a sack or quarterback hit this season.

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