"Our focus was on this game tonight," Kelly said. "If for some reason, someone wanted to talk to me, it's because of those players over there. We have an unbelievable team, an unbelievable program and any success is because of those guys."
Oregon's defense, which has been maligned in the past, played a big role in the win, too.
The Ducks had a hard time corralling Klein in the first half, but closed in around him in the second half.
Oregon didn't let the dual-threat quarterback get his ground game going, holding him to 30 yards on 13 carries.
Klein threw for 151 yards on 17-of-32 passing and hit John Hubert on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but that only cut Oregon's lead to 32-17. He also threw two interceptions, though one was a desperation heave toward the end zone on the final play of the first half.
"It's hard," Klein said. "It's not the way any of us wanted to go out. That's the way it goes.
Kansas State had gone through its second revival under coach 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.
Klein has led K-State's meticulous drive 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.
Similar to the Ducks, the Wildcats had their national title hopes stamped out on Nov. 17, blown out by Baylor with a rare letdown.
They closed out the regular season strong to win the Big 12 championship, but again couldn't back it up with a bowl win.
"We got beat by a better team tonight, combined by the fact that we let down from time to time," Snyder said.
Klein did his best and came up short, but he'll still go down as one of the greatest — and most popular players — in Kansas State history.