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Oregon Ducks/Alamo Bowl

by: COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS - Coach Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns will be close to home when they face the Oregon Ducks in the Alamo Bowl at San Antonio on Dec. 30.The match-up

Oregon (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4) in the Valero Alamo Bowl, 3:45 p.m. PT Monday, Dec. 30, San Antonio, Texas.

Backstory

Clemson and Oklahoma got BCS bowl berths, and Oregon didn't, after the Ducks' losses to Stanford and Arizona.

Texas coach Mack Brown's future is up in the air.

Quotes

Oregon center Hroniss Grasu: "A couple things didn't go our way. No one to blame but ourselves. It happened. Got to move on. Worry about what we can control. ... Getting a win in this bowl game will be huge for this program." 

Texas offensive guard Trey Hopkins: "It's exciting to play a top-10 team, a very talented team that's been in the national spotlight all year, talking about possibly going to a national championship."

Who are the Longhorns?

Texas lost four games, badly, by an average of 22 points -- BYU (41-20), Ole Miss (44-23), Oklahoma State (38-13) and Baylor (30-10). But Texas also won six games in a row during the Big 12 season.

Quarterback Case McCoy, a 6-2, 200-pound senior, doesn't scare opposing defenses (157.1 passing yards per game, 57.4 completions, 11 TDs, 11 interceptions).

Jaxon Shipley has 55 receptions. Mike Davis has eight TD receptions.

The Longhorns' running game, which will surely be their ticket to win, averages 197.6 yards and is led by San Antonio native Malcolm Brown (6-0, 225, junior; 774 yards, 4.1 per carry, nine TDs) and Joe Bergeron (6-1, 230, junior; 341 yards, 5.2 average, four TDs).

The leading rusher, freshman Johnathan Gray, had 780 yards and four scores in nine games before suffering an Achilles heel injury and undergoing surgery.

The UT offense had 59 yards in the second half last week against Baylor.

The Texas defense features end Jackson Jeffcoat, a 6-5, 250-pound senior and son of former NFL defensive lineman Jim Jeffcoat. He leads Texas with 80 tackles, 21 tackles-for-loss and 12 sacks. Fellow D-end Cedric Reed has nine sacks. But the Longhorns struggle against mobile quarterbacks.

Oregon's issues

The Ducks need to work on run defense, and the offense needs to keep the chemistry and building rhythm, QB Marcus Mariota says. "And, for me, especially, taking care of the ball  is key," Mariota says.

Grasu adds: "It all comes down to the offensive line. We have to be more physical. The effort is there. It's about executing, blocking, communication. We'll get it fixed." 

A 10-win program

The Ducks have six consecutive 10-win seasons; the first 10-win season in program history came in 2000, which culminated with a 35-30 win against Texas in the Holiday Bowl. "Those guys set the foundation for what we've done here," Mariota says, of the Joey Harrington-led Ducks. "They set the tone and culture. It says a lot when a team goes 10-2 and is kind of disappointed. It says a lot of where we've come as a program and where we want to be." 

Family tie

Jeffcoat's father is an assistant coach at Colorado. "He's been giving me some pointers about them already," Jeffcoat says.

-- Jason Vondersmith