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Archive for Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oregon runs over K-State 35-17 at Fiesta Bowl

January 3, 2013

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Oregon’s DeAnthony Thomas raced 94 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff.

The fifth-ranked Ducks barely looked back after that.

Triggered by Thomas’ attention-grabbing return, Oregon raced past No. 7 Kansas State 35-17 Thursday night at the Fiesta Bowl in what may have been coach Chip Kelly’s final game with the Ducks.

Teams that had that national title aspirations end on the same day, Oregon and Kansas State ended up in the desert for a marquee matchup billed as a battle of styles: The fast-flying Ducks vs. the execution-is-everything Wildcats.

With Kelly reportedly talking to several NFL teams, Oregon (12-1) was too much for Kansas State and its Heisman Trophy finalist, Collin Klein. The Ducks tried to turn the game into a track meet, and it worked from the start.

Thomas followed his before-everyone-sat-down kickoff return with a 23-yard touchdown catch, finishing with 195 total yards.

Kenjon Barner ran for 143 yards on 31 carries and scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota in the second quarter. Mariota later scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter, capped by an obscure 1-point safety that went in the Ducks’ favor.

Even Oregon’s defense got into the act, intercepting Klein twice and holding him to 30 yards on 13 carries.

Whether Kelly leaves Eugene or not, he had a good run, leading the Ducks to four straight trips to BCS bowls, the last two wins.

Last year’s Fiesta Bowl was an offensive fiesta, with Oklahoma State outlasting Stanford 41-38 in overtime.

The 2013 version was an upgrade: Nos. 4 and 5 in the BCS, two of the nation’s best offenses, dynamic players and superbly successful coaches on both sides.

Oregon has become the standard for go-go-go football under Kelly, its fleet of Ducks making those shiny helmets — green like Christmas tree bulbs for the Fiesta Bowl — and flashy uniforms blur across the grassy landscape.

Their backfield of Thomas, Barner and Mariota made up a three-headed monster of momentum, each one capable of turning a single play into a scoring drive of 60 seconds or less.

Mariota has been the show-running leader, a question mark before the season who ably ran Oregon’s high-octane offense as the first freshman quarterback to start for the Ducks since Danny O’Neil in 1991.

Oregon won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 95 years last season and was in position for a spot in the BCS title game this year before losing a heartbreaker to Stanford on Nov. 17.

Thomas offered the first flash of speed, crossing into the end zone like a sprinter taking the finish-line tape after picking up a couple of blocks and racing past Oregon’s bench for a touchdown on the opening kickoff. The Ducks, are they are apt to do, went for 2 on the point-after and converted on a trick play to go up 8-0 in the game’s first 12 seconds.

It was the second straight day a BCS bowl began with a quick strike; Louisville returned an interception for a touchdown against Florida on the first play of the Sugar Bowl Wednesday night.

Thomas hit the Wildcats (11-2) again late in the first quarter, breaking a couple of tackles and dragging three defenders into the end zone for a catch-and-run TD that put the Ducks up 15-0.

It’s nothing new for Oregon’s sophomore sensation: He had 314 total yards and two long touchdown runs in the 2012 Rose Bowl. The Ducks are used to it, too, after averaging more than 50 points per game.

And they kept flying.

Oregon followed a missed 40-yard field goal by Kansas State’s Anthony Cantele by unleashing one of its blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scoring drives late in the second quarter. Moving 77 yards in 46 seconds, the Ducks went up 22-10 at halftime after Mariota hit Barner on 24-yard TD pass.

Alejandro Maldonado hit a 33-yard field goal on Oregon’s opening drive of the third quarter and Mariota capped a long drive with an easy 2-yard TD run to the left. Kansas State’s Javonta Boyd blocked the point-after attempt, but even that went wrong for the Wildcats: Chris Harper was tackled in the end zone for a bizarre 1-point safety that put Oregon up 32-10.

Kansas State had gone through its second revival under Bill Snyder, the studious coach who never lost touch with the game or players young enough to be his grandchildren during a three-year retirement.

The 73-year-old followed up the Manhattan Miracle by returning to lead the Wildcats back to national prominence with his attention-to-detail ways.

Klein has led K-State’s meticulous march this season, a fifth-year senior who plays in the mold of the college version of Tim Tebow: Gritty, humble, finds a way to win, whatever it takes.

Like the Ducks, the Wildcats had their national-title hopes stamped out on Nov. 17, blown out by Baylor with a rare letdown on both sides of the ball.

Kansas State needed a little time to get its wheels spinning on offense, laboring early before Klein scored on a 6-yard run early in the second quarter.

Klein kept the Wildcats moving in the quarter, though not toward touchdowns: Cantele hit a 25-yard field goal and missed from 40 after a false-start penalty.

Klein hit John Hubert on a 10-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, but all that did was cut Oregon’s lead down to 32-17.

He threw for 151 yards on 17 of 32 passing.

Comments

gccs14r 1 year, 7 months ago

K-State made some stupid mistakes and it cost them.

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riverdrifter 1 year, 7 months ago

They just got their butts beat. Best team won.

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gccs14r 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh, I have no doubts that Oregon would have won anyway, but it could have been closer without the dumb penalties.

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KEITHMILES05 1 year, 7 months ago

Time for Bill to hang them up. He's done the very proud and nothing to be ashamed. I have a feeling he will always keep his hands in there meddling with the program.

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newmedia 1 year, 7 months ago

Five bowl losses in a row for the Cats. No Martha, that wasn't another Big 12 team they just played...........

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KEITHMILES05 1 year, 7 months ago

For the really big games Snyder doesn't have his team ready to play. For all the accolades of being an outstanding coach when it really counts he can't win.

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

And the Ducks waddle away!
Can't wait for the BCS championship. ROLL TIDE!

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Shane Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

I thought that the officials did K-State a dis-service by keeping the flags in their pockets on a couple of questionable hits. Not that it may have made a difference in which team won but.... anyway, hey KU plays Saturday, looking forward to an Owls defeat.

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CHEEZIT 1 year, 7 months ago

Yea there were two tackles "clearly" continued out of bounds. One right in front of the official but it didn't make a difference even though it was on the K-state sideline!

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irtnog2001 1 year, 7 months ago

The best team won but the Cats should have made it much closer. Anyway nothing to be ashamed of for a team that was predicted to finish 6th in the conference.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 7 months ago

Oregon's defense played their best game of the season, and Bill Snyder blinked.

Bill Snyder was outcoached in this game. Oregon tricked him into playing outside of his style when he didn't need to. By the time Snyder realized it, it was too late. Oregon convinced Snyder to go to the pass, and it cost him. Before he realized he could still run against Oregon, it was too late.

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danmoore 1 year, 7 months ago

I was rooting for the Wildcats but they were clearly outplayed. I don't think Oregon was ever at risk of losing. Too many penalties by the cats. Almost looked like they were not ready to play.

As for Snyder, I have mixed feelings. He has deservedly received credit for resurrecting the worst team in D1 (check out the sports illustrated story written in 1989). http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1068750/1/index.htm But after elevating K-State from the cellar of college football and then raising them to a very respectable level he has failed to advance to the next echelon. Two conference titles, both followed by bowl losses and a 6-8 bowl record is not in my opinion greatness. We keep saying how great he is for how he turned K-State around but K-State is not the same team they were in 1989. I think if I were writing his bio I would say he is a very good coach but not a great coach.

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JayCat_67 1 year, 7 months ago

He's also doing it with kids that aren't being recruited by major programs. He takes 3 star players and builds a 5 star team. Sometimes it just comes down to the match up. KSU's 2 losses this year were to teams that played a high speed offense and they don't match up well against that. Honestly, Baylor probably would have played Oregon closer. Probably another 70-63 game like the Baylor/WV game.

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danmoore 1 year, 7 months ago

P.S. Would love to have him as our coach.

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tyson travis 1 year, 6 months ago

Learned something about football rules tonite, had never, ever, heard of such a thing as a ONE-point safety. Apparently, it's only happened three times since the rule was put in in around 1988. (Last time, Texas vs A&M about 10 yrs ago. Strangely, the same announcer was there for that one, and knew exactly what was going on. So were the officials.) A few times a year, a blocked or intercepted conversion is returned all the way for two points, but this isn't the same thing. Apparently, the K-State player who recovered the blocked PAT tried to do this, but retreated into and was tackled in his own end zone, score one for Oregon. If he had just fallen on, or not touched it, there would have been no score. Net result is the same as if UO had had a successful PAT. Betting fans: I bet you could win a free drink at your local bar by bringing this up, most folks had never heard of this, none of my friends had, I hadn't either.

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