2013 Fiesta - Oregon 35, Kansas State 17

Posted Jan 3, 2013

2012-2013 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta

2013 Fiesta

Oregon 35, Kansas St 17

- 2012-2013 CFN Bowl Central 

National Rankings
4th Total Offense 55th
47th Total Defense 43rd
2nd Scoring Offense 9th
26th Scoring Defense 24th
2nd Rushing Offense 33rd
44th Run Defense 17th
66th Passing Offense 83rd
63rd Passing Defense 91st
3rd Turnover Margin 1st
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
O   K
5 Quarterbacks 5
5 RBs 4
3 Receivers 2.5
4 O Line 4
3 D Line 4
3.5 Linebackers 4
3 Secondary 3
2.5 Spec Teams 5
Coaching 5
De'Anthony Thomas set the tone on the first play of the game with a 94-yard kickoff return for a score, and late in the first quarter he took a pass 23 yards for a touchdown and a 15-0 Oregon lead. Kansas State fought back to within five, helped by a six-yard Collin Klein touchdown run, but late in the half the offense went deep into Duck territory, didn't go for it on fourth down, and missed the field goal. Oregon responded going 77 yards and five plays and 46 seconds culminating in the game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass to Kenjon Barner. The Ducks upped the lead to 32-10 in the second half, and coasted from there despite a slight scare after a ten-yard John Hubert touchdown catch shrunk the lead to 14 early in the fourth, but an Alejandro Maldonado and an interception by Erick Dargan put the game away.

Oregon: The Ducks outgained Kansas State 385 yards to 283. … QB Marcus Mariota completed 12-of-24 passes for 166 yards and two scores, and he ran eight times for 62 yards and a touchdown. … RB Kenjon Barner ran 31 times for 143 yards. … RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas ran twice for 15 yards, caught four passes for 60 yards and a score, and returned two kickoffs for 120 yards and a game-opening touchdown. … P Jackson Rice averaged 46 yards on three kicks, putting two inside the 20. … LB Michael Clay made nine tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss. … S Erick Dargan made eight tackles with two picks.

Kansas State: QB Colin Klein completed 17-of-32 passes for 151 yards and a score with two picks, and he ran 13 times for 30 yards and a touchdown. … RB John Hubert ran 17 times for 55 yards and caught two passes for 16 yards and a touchdown. … LB Arthur Brown made nine tackles with a tackle for loss. … Kansas State had the ball for 33:06

(AP) GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Oregon's De'Anthony 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.

"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."

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.

"We got beat by a better team tonight, combined by the fact that we let down from time to time," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said

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.

"It's amazing," said Barner, a senior. "Just to go out like this, the Fiesta Bowl with my teammates, the coaching staff, I couldn't be happier."

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 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.

"They did a great job of flying to the football," Klein said.

Oregon (11-1) vs. Kansas State (11-1) Jan. 3, 8:30 ESPN

Here's The Deal … On November 16th, this looked like the possible BCS championship matchup. At the end of the day on November 17th, both teams were left picking up the pieces and hoping beyond hope for a few miracles to happen to get back into the national title hunt.

At least Kansas State was able to get over the puzzling clunker against Baylor to win the Big 12 championship. The Wildcats lost out on a trip to Miami, and Collin Klein's Heisman bid went bye-bye, but with a solid win over Texas, this still turned out to be an amazing season under Bill Snyder as he showed once again that it really is possible to win and win big in Manhattan.

But now it's time to win big at a high level. 15 of KSU's 16 bowl appearances have come since 1993, but despite all the big performances and even with all the great things done under Snyder, and for a few seasons under Ron Prince, the team has lost five of its last six bowls and hasn't done much more than win the Holiday since beating Syracuse in the 1998 Fiesta.

Kansas State is extremely well coached, extremely disciplined, and extremely good at fitting the type and the style to work around its talent, but it's also not exactly the most talented team around. Snyder gets the guys to do what he wants to do and can work around his schemes, but there's usually a ceiling on what teams like that can normally do, evidenced by the problems in last season's Cotton Bowl loss to Arkansas. With a win over a high-powered Ducks, all the perceptions would quickly change.

Oregon has as much speed and talent as anyone, and there's still a belief by some that they really might be the best team in college football. The lone loss came to a Rose Bowl-winning Stanford team in overtime, but everyone else got blown out of the water with all 11 wins coming by double digits and many a lot closer than they could've been – the Ducks imposed their own mercy rule time and again.

The offense is explosive, the defense is better than it gets credit for, and the special teams are dangerous. Like Kansas State, this is a phenomenally well-coached team that has a major swagger, knowing it can step its foot on the gas at any time and change around games in a heartbeat. There's a great chance the Ducks could finish second in the nation with an impressive performance, and for a program in its fourth straight BCS game, a big win would solidify a place among the elite of the elite teams.

But is this it for both teams? Is this the last big gasp for a while? Snyder is 73 and already retired once – considering the Big 12 will be stronger next year, does he have the team in place next year for another run at a Big 12 title and a BCS bowl? Will Chip Kelly leave Oregon for the NFL, and will the NCAA find anything in its investigations that could hamstring the program?

For now, this is the second biggest matchup of the entire bowl season, and while it's not for the national title, it should have the feeling of a very, very big playoff game.

Players to Watch: Everyone seemed to have fun in last season's Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin except for Kenjon Barner. While DeAnthony Thomas was blowing past the Badgers with warp speed, and LaMichael James was doing most of the heavy lifting. Barner chipped in 30 yards on seven carries, but he did catch two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. This time around in the BCS, the running game should mostly fall on his shoulders following an inconsistent final month. After cranking out 321 yards and five touchdowns in an unstoppable performance against USC, he didn't find much room to move against Cal and Stanford, getting bottled up for a pedestrian 131 yards in the two games. He broke out again against Oregon State to close out the regular season, and now he has to be dominant despite being keyed on as the focus of the Wildcat defense.

This is the final game in the phenomenal career of Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, who finished third in the Heisman balloting and should've been a finalist in 2011. With 49 touchdown runs over the last two years, improved passing, and peerless leadership, he has arguably been college football's most valuable player – there's no way Kansas State comes within ten miles of the Cotton Bowl last season or the Fiesta this year without him. For a team that relies so heavily on the quarterback, he has been a rock despite taking a major pounding. Rested and healthy after pushing through the final few games banged up, he needs to make amends for a mediocre day against Arkansas in the Cotton, throwing for 173 yards and running for 42, getting held under wraps and failing to move the offense. It'll be his job to keep the chains moving with third down conversion after third down conversion, and he has to bring the power to a game that might turn out to be all about speed and athleticism.

While Klein just missed out on a Heisman this year, Oregon's Marcus Mariota should be front and center in the chase next season. While he took a bit of a backseat in publicity compared to the other stars in the backfield, he was the one who made the engine go with 30 touchdown passes, just six picks, and 690 yards on the ground. While he's not necessarily a power runner like Klein, he's big enough to bring a little bit of pop to go along with his blazing speed. Accurate, smart and tough, he has all the tools and all the talent to take over the Fiesta Bowl and be one of the hot guys going into the offseason.

Kansas State will win if … it bottles up Barner and the Oregon ground attack for a full sixty minutes. California had the Ducks in big trouble, keeping Barner from breaking free and allowing just 180 rushing yards on the day, but it didn't have the talent or the offense to take advantage of several opportunities, and in a snap, the close game turned into a 59-17 blowout. Stanford had the talent, and it showed by allowing 198 rushing yards and keeping control of the game in the win. Kansas State has to be Kansas State by moving the chains, controlling the time of possession, and milking the clock, but the defense has to do its part by not allowing the game to get out of hand early on. Baylor was able to hit home run after home run on the way to 342 rushing yards and five scores, and while that might have been an aberration and an off day for the team, it still exposed a problem against speedy backs getting in space.

However, even though the Kansas State model works, the offense might have to change things up on the fly in a big, big hurry. The Cats can't get involved in a firefight, but they have to at least open things up a wee bit to take a few chances early on. Oregon has too much speed and athleticism defensively for the KSU running game to come up with too many big runs, but the power game should work. It's the M.O. to simply get the first down on 2nd-and-short, but in this game, the offense has to use the opportunities to make something big happen.

Oregon will win if … it scores early. The faster Klein has to become Peyton Manning, the better. It's not like Klein is a liability throwing the ball, but Kansas State has to try to win this by keeping Oregon's offense on the sidelines as much as humanly possible. However, the big problem is that the Wildcats' strengths don't mean a lick for the Ducks. It won't matter if KSU has the ball for 40 minutes – Oregon scores so quickly that time of possession is irrelevant. The Ducks don't have big problems with turnovers, and while they commit a few too many penalties, it won't be crippling if Kansas State wins that battle, too. Basically, Kansas State can do what Kansas State does, and Oregon won't care, but if Oregon does what Oregon does, Kansas State might not be able to adjust.

The Ducks will try to come out hot, and if they do, then all will be right with the world and there won't be any problems. But if Kansas State is able to slow things to a crawl and take things at its own pace, the Ducks have to be really, really patient. They were able to do that against Cal, taking one mistake as the spark for the keg to blow up, and they have to assume that even if the game is tight, eventually, there will be one slip, one opening, and then everything will start to work as normal. That didn't happen against Stanford, and Kansas State will certainly try to repeat the same plan, but even when everything worked perfectly for the Cardinal, it still took overtime to come up with the win. As long as Oregon isn't pressing and isn't making a ton of silly mistakes, all should be fine.

What Will Happen: Kansas State won't have the speed and athleticism to keep up. The Wildcats won't get blown away early on, and they'll be able to hang around because of their power and the sheer will of Klein, but there will be a few plays when Thomas and Barner will get free, and that will be the difference. The Ducks won't feel comfortable until late, but they'll be in control throughout.

CFN Prediction: Oregon 41 … Kansas State 30
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oregon -8.5 O/U: 75.5

Fiesta Bowl History 
2012 Oklahoma State 41, Stanford OT
2011 Oklahoma 48, Connecticut 20
2010 Boise State 17, TCU 10
2009 Texas 24, Ohio State 21
2008 West Virginia 48, Oklahoma 28
2007 Boise St 43, Oklahoma 42 OT
2006 Ohio State 34, Notre Dame 20
2005 Utah 35, Pitt 7
2004 Ohio State 35, Kansas State 28
2003 Ohio State 31, Miami 24 2OT
2002 Oregon 38, Colorado 16
2001 Oregon State 41, Notre Dame 9
2000 Nebraska 31, Tennessee 21
1999 Tennessee 23, Florida State 16
1997 (Dec.) Kansas State 35, Syracuse 18
1997 (Jan.) Penn State 38, Texas 15
1996 Nebraska 62, Florida 24
1995 Colorado 41, Notre Dame 24
1994 Arizona 29, Miami 0
1993 Syracuse 26, Colorado 22
1992 Penn State 42, Tennessee 17
1991 Louisville 34, Alabama 7
1990 Florida State 41, Nebraska 17
1989 Notre Dame 34, West Virginia 21
1988 Florida State 31, Nebraska 28
1987 Penn State 14, Miami 10
1986 Michigan 27, Nebraska 23
1985 UCLA 39, Miami 37
1984 Ohio State 28, Pitt 23
1983 Arizona State 32, Oklahoma 21
1982 Penn State 26, USC 10
1980 Penn State 31, Ohio State 19
1979 Pitt 16, Arizona 10
1978 Arkansas 10, UCLA 10
1977 Penn State 42, Arizona State 30
1976 Oklahoma 41, Wyoming 7
1975 Arizona State 17, Nebraska 14
1974 Oklahoma State 16, BYU 6
1973 Arizona State 28, Pitt 7
1972 Arizona State 49, Missouri 35
1971 Arizona State 45, Florida St 38