The 2021 Playstation Fiesta Bowl matchup is set! Pac-12 Champion No. 25 Oregon (4-2) will take on Big 12 Runner Up No. 10 Iowa State on January 2 in Glendale, Arizona.
While both sides are antsy to show up on the national stage, two players in particular will have a little extra juice heading into the contest: Arizona native quarterbacks Tyler Shough and Brock Purdy.
This won't be the first time the two quarterbacks match up against one another, either, as the players have played against one another in the past.
In fact, two of the four matchups were called, "two of the greatest high school games Arizona has ever seen," by Arizona Varsity writer Ralph Amsden: a pair of 65-63 and 63-60 thrillers.
However, all four games have ended with Tyler Shough on the losing side, including a 72-14 thrashing to end Shough's senior season in the 6A quarterfinals. Purdy, then without a single P5 offer, ended the game with 539 yards and six touchdowns passing in three quarters and 101 yards and two TDs rushing in the first half alone.
Purdy would go on to lose in the 6A State Title game but win the 2017 Arizona High School Football Player of the Year Award after breaking state records for passing yardage (4,405) and passing TDs (57).
Fast forward three years, and Purdy is a All-Big 12 First Team selection and Tyler Shough is a back-to-back Pac-12 Champion with the two meeting for the third time across from one another in the postseason coincidentally in front of their hometown friends and family in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl.
"That would be huge," Shough said about playing in front of his family after winning the Pac-12 Championship. "Obviously, I would be super grateful for that.
"If we could somehow get some of our immediate family there, that would be amazing because a lot of our families have been itching to come see us play."
Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal echoed that sentiment for not just Shough, but other Arizona native Ducks like Johnny Johnson III.
"The opportunity to have an appearance there espeically for some of our guys that are from the state in front of their friends and family is huge," said Cristobal. "It's a tremendous opportunity."
When asked about the impending quarterback duel, Cristobal acknowledged it's exciting, but also downplayed it's importance and shifted the topic to how complete of a football team the Cyclones have.
'Well, certainly a competitive situation at the high school level and now going to certainly have an opportunity to do it at the collegiate level as well," explained the Ducks head coach.
"I know there will be a lot of noise surrounding that, a lot of attention which adds to the excitement of the game but first and foremost it's important to note we're playing an excellent football team."
Later, Cristobal gushed about the football talent coming out of Arizona and how it will be a recruiting focus of him and his staff for years to come.
"We think the high school football in the state of Arizona is off the charts. They have great players, elite talent, they have elite coaching, top programs that compete at the national level," Cristobal said.
"We want to continue to recruit that area hard. It means a lot to us. It's extremely important to us and it will make up a good percentage of our roster going forward."
That philosophy is already showing with Oregon signing three of the top-five and four of the top-16 players in the 2021 recruiting class, including five-star quarterback Ty Thompson.
The nation will get to watch Shough and Purdy go at it again during the Playstation Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.