In the 53rd annual Fiesta Bowl, the Oregon Ducks are set to face the Liberty Flames on New Year’s Day at 11 a.m. The game will take place at State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, and will be broadcasted on ESPN.
Notably, this year’s Fiesta Bowl is not a College Football Playoff Semifinal, following last season’s hosting of TCU’s victory over Michigan.
The Oregon Ducks hold a 2-2 all-time record in the Fiesta Bowl. Their most recent appearance was in 2021, resulting in a 34-17 loss to Iowa State. In 2013, the Ducks secured a victory against Kansas State with a score of 35-17. In the BCS National Championship held at the Fiesta Bowl in 2011, Oregon faced Auburn and suffered a 22-19 defeat. However, they triumphed in 2002 against No. 3 Colorado with a score of 38-16.
Oregon, ranked No. 8 with an 11-2 record, recently fell to Washington 34-31 in the Pac-12 Championship. Their two losses this season were both against No. 2 Washington, with a combined point difference of six. Despite this, Oregon quarterback Bo Nix expresses his eagerness to play in the Fiesta Bowl, as conveyed by head coach Dan Lanning.
Lanning stated, “Our guys are thrilled and excited about the opportunity. One of the best things about bowl games is the opportunity to finish this season with a highlight, and our guys are excited.”
On the other side, No. 23 Liberty (13-0) will make its debut in the Fiesta Bowl. The Flames, a provisional FBS member since 2018, gained full FBS membership with bowl eligibility in 2019, transitioning from the FCS. This season marked Liberty’s first in Conference USA and its first appearance in the College Football Playoff’s Top 25.
Liberty secured a Conference USA title by defeating New Mexico State 49-35 in Lynchburg on Friday night. Head coach Jamey Chadwell acknowledged the significant challenge posed by the Fiesta Bowl matchup with Oregon, stating it might be “the biggest challenge maybe ever in the history of our program.”
It’s worth noting that Oregon and Liberty have never faced each other in a football game.