Fiesta Bowl: De'Anthony Thomas' kickoff return sticks out to current Ducks originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest
On Saturday, the No. 25 Oregon Ducks (4-2) will play in the first Fiesta Bowl since 2013 when one of the program's most notable moments occurred: De'Anthony Thomas' opening kickoff return.
#PlayOfTheDay (2013): Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas had a crazy second gear, which was in full display on the opening kickoff of the Fiesta Bowl. Kansas State fans disapproved. pic.twitter.com/o4bF35IX6b
— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) December 9, 2020
In classic DAT fashion, he scored fast on the first play of the game to give Oregon an 8-0 lead after just 12 seconds of game time.
In fact, it was such a quick score that future Oregon quarterback and Arizona native Tyler Shough wasn't even seated yet.
— PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (@Fiesta_Bowl) December 30, 2020
"We were walking down the steps and we weren't even in our seats yet when De'Anthony Thomas took the kick back on the first play and we were all freaking out because we thought something happened," said Shough.
"It was just pretty funny because we finally got to our seats and we were already up."
The 94-yard score also sticks out in the memory of Oregon cornerback Jamal Hill, who named it as the first play that came to his mind from watching the Fiesta Bowl growing up.
"De'Anthony Thomas against Kansas State," answered Hill. "That's the only real like Fiesta Bowl memory that stick out in my mind, to be honest."
That wasn't the end of Thomas getting into the endzone that evening. He also caught a 23-yard pass from Marcus Mariota in the first quarter to give Oregon a 15-0 lead. Oregon would go on to win 35-17 to finish the season 12-1 and close out the season ranked No. 2 nationally in the AP Poll and Coaches Poll.
The new generation of Oregon Ducks will have a chance to create iconic moments of their own Saturday, January 2nd at 1:00 p.m. PT in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl against No. 10 Iowa State (7-3).