Mariota Shines as Oregon Tops K-State in Fiesta Bowl
Freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota issued two touchdown passes and ran for another score as No. 4 Oregon defeated No. 5 Kansas State, 35-17, to win the Fiesta Bowl Thursday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Mariota, named MVP, completed 12 of 24 passes for 166 yards and issued touchdown passes to running backs De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner as the Ducks finished their season with a 12-1 mark.
Mariota also ran for 62 yards on eight carries and a score while Barner tallied 143 yards on 30 carries for the Ducks, who clinched their second straight BCS bowl win after beating the Wisconsin Badgers, 35-28, in last year's Rose Bowl.
Thomas posted 60 yards on four catches and returned a kickoff for a 94-yard touchdown that jumpstarted the Ducks' 15-point assault in the first period.
"We were beaten by a better team," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "We just didn't play that way tonight and made too many mistakes."
Collin Klein hit 17 of 32 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions for the Wildcats (11-2), who suffered their fifth consecutive bowl loss and second defeat in the Fiesta Bowl.
Klein also ran for 30 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown while junior running back John Hubert caught his 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Hubert rushed for 55 yards on 17 carries and Chris Harper had 71 yards on eight catches for the Wildcats.
Thomas' touchdown kickoff return coupled with a two-point conversion and Mariota's 23-yard scoring throw to Thomas staked the Ducks to a 15-0 advantage in the first period.
The Wildcats closed the gap, 15-10, in the second with Klein's touchdown run and a 25-yard field goal by Anthony Cantele.
However, Mariota replied with a 24-yard scoring pass to Barner and a two-yard touchdown rush while Alejandro Maldonado buried a 33-yard field goal to put the Ducks comfortably ahead, 32-10.
In the fourth, Klein hit Hubert with a 10-yard touchdown pass but Maldonado answered with a 24-yard field goal for the final tally.
Highlight Of The Night: De'Anthony Thomas returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for the first of his two touchdowns and Marcus Mariota accounted for three scores in Oregon's 35-17 win over Kansas State
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