K-State falls 35-17 to Oregon at Fiesta Bowl
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Collin Klein rallied Kansas State after falling into an early hole against Oregon, bulling his way for one of his gutty touchdown runs.
He and the Wildcats just didn't have enough to keep up with the speedy Ducks.
Rocked by De'Anthony Thomas' 94-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff, No. 7 Kansas State never fully recovered and lost its fifth straight bowl game, 35-17 to No. 5 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night.
"They just made a lot of great plays, moved around, really flew to the football, executed better than we did," Klein said.
Teams that had 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 methodical Wildcats.
Oregon (12-1) had the edge early, going up 15-0 in the first quarter after Thomas' attention-grabbing return and 23-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Marcus Mariota.
Klein, K-State's Heisman Trophy finalist, brought the Wildcats back, scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run by scrambling and diving for the pylon early in the second quarter.
He led Kansas State (11-2) on another scoring drive that resulted in Anthony Cantele's 25-yard field goal to cut Oregon's lead to 15-10 and had the Wildcats moving again late in the second quarter.
That drive didn't turn out so well; Kansas State was called for a false-start penalty while trying to draw the Ducks offside and Cantele followed by missing a 40-yard field goal.
Oregon kicked its blink-and-you'll-miss-it offense into gear after that, moving 77 yards in 46 seconds for a 24-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Kenjon Barner that made it 22-10 at halftime.
"At that moment in time, we felt as a team we had the momentum," Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown said.
Kansas State didn't put up much of a fight after that, unable to stop Oregon's offense or get much going when it had the ball.
Thomas finished with 195 total yards, Barner ran for 143 yards on 31 carries and 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.
The win was Oregon's second straight in a BCS bowl, which should be a nice send-off for coach Chip Kelly if he does leave Eugene to take one of the many NFL jobs he's reportedly in the mix for.
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