GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A stout second-half defense and an efficient, explosive offense helped the Oregon Ducks to a 35-17 victory over the Kansas St. Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oregon stopped Kansas St. on its first three second-half possessions. Meanwhile the Ducks scored a field goal and touchdown on consecutive two-minute drives to break open what was a close first half.
DeAnthony Thomas returned the game's opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and then scored on a 23-yard pass, helping No. 5 Oregon open up a 15-0 early lead. But Kansas State came back behind the running of Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein. The Wildcats quarterback scrambled for a 6-yard TD run, and then led his team back down the field on the very next drive before Anthony Cantele for a 25-yard field goal that made it 15-10.
Kansas State appeared to be poised to narrow the lead again but missed a 40-yard field goal in the final minute. It might have been the game's pivotal momentum swing, as the Ducks rediscovered their up-tempo game and marched 77 yards in 46 seconds, scoring a touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Marcus Mariota to Kenjon Barner that gave Oregon a 22-10 halftime lead
At halftime, Oregon coach Chip Kelly noted the Ducks started fast and ended fast, then commented "I've got to call a faster game."
The Ducks added a 32-yard field goal on their first possession of the 3rd quarter to extend their lead to 25-10.Quarterback Marcus Mariota scored on a 2-yard bootleg run on Oregon's second possession of the second half after the Ducks defense forced Kansas St. into a three-and-out.
In a bizarre twist, the Wildcats blocked the extra point attempt but their player was tackled in the end zone and Oregon was awarded a one-point safety. Really.
Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein hit John Hubert for a 10-yard scoring pass early in the fourth quarter to narrow the Ducks lead to 32-17.
Midway through the final quarter, the Ducks took the ball and took over the clock, marching methodically down the field on a ten-play drive that consumed more than five minutes off the clock, tacking on another field goal to extend ther lead to 35-17.