We knew No. 4 Oregon was explosive when it had the ball in its hands, but nobody expected the Ducks to strike this fast.
It only took 12 seconds for Oregon to get on the scoreboard against Kansas State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl thanks to sophomore De'Anthony Thomas, who returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
Kansas State did its best to limit Thomas' chances of success, kicking the ball to the sideline, but Thomas picked up some blocking, juked through a handful of defenders, got a crease and streaked into the end zone without a defender near him.
To add insult to injury, Oregon went for the two-point conversion—and was successful, as defensive end and projected first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft Dion Jordan ran the ball in to give the Ducks an early 8-0 lead.
Via the Fiesta Bowl's official Twitter account, Thomas has some work to do if he wants to lay claim to the longest kickoff return in Fiesta Bowl history:
De'Anthony Thomas' 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was the 5th-longest in #FiestaBowl history.— Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (@FiestaBowl) January 4, 2013
The fact that Thomas ran one back shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He was averaging over 19 yards per return heading into the game, and he ran two kickoffs back for a touchdown as a freshman, something ESPN Stats and Info reminds us of (via Twitter):
And the Fiesta Bowl is off to a quick start-- De'Anthony Thomas: 3rd career kickoff-return TD (1st this season) gets Oregon on board.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 4, 2013
Kansas State faced a stiff challenge in Oregon’s explosive offense to begin with, but if the Wildcats cannot contain the Ducks on special teams, it’s going to be a long night for head coach Bill Snyder and his fifth-ranked Wildcats.
Keep checking back with B/R for the latest analysis and updates from the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.