Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is seen as the architect of a unique style of spread offense that actually centers around running the football.
If the 2013 Fiesta Bowl was his final game at the helm of the Ducks’ football program, his team won the way it was built to win, scoring fast and scoring often to beat Kansas State, 35-17.
And by fast, we mean really — really, really, really — fast. Superstar speedster De’Anthony Thomas returned the game’s opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. If that wasn’t enough, Kelly opted to go for a 2-point conversion, and just like that the Ducks mounted an eight-point lead less than 20 seconds into the game.
Oregon would never look back, bobbing, weaving, and sprinting their way all over the football field.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota out-dueled Heisman Trophy finalist and Kansas State’s senior leader, Collin Klein. Mariota completed 12-of-24 pass attempts for two touchdowns, but most importantly, no interceptions. In the regular season, Klein threw three interceptions in the team’s lone loss at the hands of Baylor and three more the rest of the year. On Thursday evening, Klein completed 17-of-32 passes for 151 yards, a touchdown and two ill-fated interceptions.
Both signal callers have also made waves with their legs, but while Mariota flew around for 62 yards on a mere eight carries, Klein only mustered 30 yards on 13 carries against an Oregon defense generally seen as the team’s weak link.
One of the nation’s top rushers throughout the regular season, senior Kenjon Barner showed why he will be a top-flight draft pick in very little time. The ‘Barn-burner’ compiled 143 yards on a whopping 30 carries. He also scored a touchdown through the air on one 24-yard reception.
The catch came with only 14 seconds remaining in the first half, and it moved the Ducks’ lead from a mere five points to 12.
After Oregon opened the third quarter with a four-minute drive that resulted in a field goal and scored again on a Marcus Mariota rush, it finally looked like the Wildcats were going to catch a break after K-State blocked the extra point. However, the ‘Cats took the ball into the end zone and were tackled, resulting in a rare and bizarre one-point safety for the Ducks.
That play summed up the entire night for the Wildcats, who fell to 11-2 on the season.
Oregon wraps up yet another spectacular season with touchdowns from all of their star players and a severe case of ‘what if?’ with its 12-1 final mark.
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