GLENDALE, Ariz. De'Anthony Thomas caught the opening kickoff, raced down 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 barely looked back after that.
Triggered by Thomas' 94-yard return, Oregon bolted by No. 7 Kansas State 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night.
"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."
Teams that had national-title aspirations end on the same day 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.
Oregon (12-1) was too much for Kansas State and its Heisman Trophy finalist, Collin Klein, turning the game into a try-to-keep-up race from the start. Thomas followed his kickoff return with a 23-yard touchdown catch and finished with 195 total yards.
Kenjon Barner ran for 143 yards on 31 carries and scored on a 24-yard pass from Marcus Mariota in the second quarter. Mariota later scored on a two-yard run in the third quarter, capped by an obscure one-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, combined by the fact that we let down from time to time," coach Bill Snyder said after Kansas State's fifth straight bowl loss.
Kelly reportedly has talked to several NFL teams about coaching jobs. He has led the Ducks to four consecutive BCS games, including two wins in a row.
Fans sure let him know how they felt, chanting, "We want Chip!" just before he was handed the massive Fiesta Bowl trophy.
"Our focus was on this game," 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."
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 successful coaches.
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 creating a scoring drive of 60 seconds or less.
Mariota has been the 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 last season won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 95 years and was in position for a spot in the BCS title game this season before losing a heartbreaker to Stanford on Nov. 17.
Thomas offered the first flash of speed, picking up a couple of blocks and racing toward a not-so-photo finish. The Ducks, as they're apt to do, went for a two-point conversion and converted on a trick play to go up 8-0 in the game's first 12 seconds.
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 touchdown that put the Ducks up 15-0.
Alejandro Maldonado kicked a 33-yard field goal on Oregon's opening drive of the third quarter, and Mariota capped a long drive with an easy two-yard scoring run.
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 one-point safety that put Oregon up 32-10. It was the first one-point safety in major college football since 2004, when Texas did it against Texas A&M.