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DUCKS NOTES: Kickoff return just 'another play' to Thomas

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon Ducks players hold up the Fiesta Bowl trophy after defeating the Kansas State Wildcats 35-17.GLENDALE, Ariz. — Oregon Ducks speedster De'Anthony Thomas added a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 23-yard TD reception to his bowl bounty in Thursday's Fiesta Bowl, after TD runs of 91 and 64 yards against Wisconsin in last year's Rose Bowl.

"A team effort," Thomas said, after Oregon's 35-17 win over Kansas State.

Of his 94-yard kickoff return, he added: "It's nothing to me. I feel like it's another play. I just feel like I should have a lot more to accomplish and a lot more things to work on. I'm just out there having fun."

The 94-yarder was the longest all-purpose play in UO bowl history.

Thomas owns the Oregon bowl record with 509 all-purpose yards on only 19 touches.

• Oregon linebacker Michael Clay, defensive player of the game, had nine tackles and a sack, and Kiko Alonso had six tackles as both made their career finales.

"They're NFL guys," UO defensive tackle Isaac Remington said. "I expect to see them get picked (in the draft) in April."

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: MEG WILLIAMS - University of Oregon cheerleaders hug as the Ducks finish the season 12-1.• The Ducks had zero turnovers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Kansas State's star QB, Collin Klein, threw two interceptions, both picked off by safety Erick Dargan, although neither had a significant impact on the game.

Dargan was Oregon's third starting free safety of the season, after injuries to John Boyett and Avery Patterson. He said Patterson helped coach him during the Fiesta Bowl, giving him advice via a headset on the sideline.

"I knew I'd play at some point, and my team would have to depend on me," said Dargan, who received plenty of playing time, even with Patterson starting. "I'm not young anymore. I filled a bigger role. Avery kept me ready the whole week."

Dargan also had eight tackles.

• While awaiting to hear whether Oregon coach Chip Kelly takes a job in the NFL, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich will be attending a coaching convention this weekend in Nashville, Tenn.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon Ducks running back Kenjon Barner (left) celebrates with teammate De'Anthony Thomas after Barner scored a touchdown in the first half against Kansas State.•Â Ducks running back Barner lost a pass in the lights in the first half, a rare occurrence.

"I didn't see it from the time it left (QB Marcus Mariota's) hands until the time it hit the ground. If you watch that play, I'm still running looking for the ball. I didn't see it from the get-go."

•Â Kelly praised the play of true freshman defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

"I thought Arik played really, really well today, (and) is really starting to blossom," the coach said.

Armstead and fellow true freshmen DeForest Buckner and Alex Balducci played together again on the line at times.

Armstead, by the way, expects to be in uniform on Sunday with the UO basketball team at Oregon State.

•Â Oregon's Alejandro Maldonado, who has two crucial misses on his resume (against USC in 2011 and Stanford in 2012), went 2 for 2 to help the Ducks win.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota is hoisted by teammate Jake Fisher after Mariota scored a touchdown in the second half.•Â Offensive player of the game Mariota set the UO record for total TDs in a season with 38 (32 passing, 5 rushing, 1 receiving).

The previous mark of 36 belonged to Darron Thomas (2011) and Akili Smith (1998).

Mariota also set the school season mark for completion percentage (68.5 percent).

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: MEG WILLIAMS - Oregon's Byron Marshall (left) congratulates De'Anthony Thomas after the latter's opening touchdown Thursday at Glendale, Ariz.•Â Barner, who had 143 yards on 31 carries, finished with 1,767 yards rushing, the second-best single-season total.

He finished 21 yards shy of LaMichael James' all-purpose yardage record, with 5,848.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon's Jake Fisher tackles Kansas State's Allen Chapman for a one-point safety after the Wildcats blocked the Ducks' extra-point try.• Oregon's 1-point safety, by virtue of K-State's Ryan Mueller batting the ball from the field of play into the end zone, where teammate Allen Chapman recovered and got tackled, was the second in Football Bowl Subdivision history (Nov. 26, 2004, for Texas).

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: MEG WILLIAMS - Kansas State tries to get the ball out of the end zone on what turned out to be a one-point safety for Oregon after a blocked point-after touchdown kick attempt.•Â With Oregon's win, the Pac-12 went 4-4 in bowl games — victors being Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and UO.by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Ducks wide receiver Josh Huff bobbles the ball after being interfered with by Kansas State defensive back Randall Evans in the Fiesta Bowl.