De'Anthony Thomas caught the opening kickoff, raced past Oregon's sideline and leaned his head into the end zone like a sprinter crossing the finish line.
The track meet had started and the fifth-ranked Ducks (No. 4 in BCS Standings) barely looked back after that.
Triggered by Thomas' 94-yard return, Oregon bolted by No. 7 Kansas State (No. 5 in BCS) 35-17 Thursday night at the Fiesta Bowl in what may have been coach Chip Kelly's final game with the Ducks.
''I felt like my role in this game was to be a momentum-builder and a game-changer,'' Thomas said. ''Once I saw that edge, I wanted to get to the end zone as fast as I could so I could celebrate with my teammates.''
They did it a lot.
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...