|Bowl Appearances Under Coach Snyder
- 2011-12 Cotton Bowl
- 2010 Pinstripe Bowl
- 2004 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
- 2002 Holiday Bowl Champions
- 2001 Insight.com Bowl
- 2000-01 Cotton Bowl Champions
- 1999 Holiday Bowl Champions
- 1998 Alamo Bowl
- 1997 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Champions
- 1996-97 Cotton Bowl
- 1995 Holiday Bowl Champions
- 1994 Aloha Bowl
- 1993 Copper Bowl Champions
On the heels of the program's best season in almost a decade and its eighth 10-win season under head coach Bill Snyder, nearly 40,000 purple-clad K-State fans took over Dallas for the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic against Arkansas on January 6, 2012.
Quarterback Collin Klein tied the Big 12 single-season for rushing touchdowns and the NCAA single season record by a quarterback but the No. 8 Wildcats came up short in a 29-16 loss to No. 6 Arkansas.
Cotton Bowl Game Recap & Photos
The purple masses of the Little Apple descended upon the Big Apple for the holidays as Kansas State faced off with Syracuse in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 30 in New York City.
The game was played in the world-renowned Yankee Stadium with a nationwide television audience watching on ESPN. K-State’s trip to the state of New York was the third all-time for the Wildcat football program – its first since 1966 – and the Cats’ first postseason appearance in the state.
Pinstripe Bowl Game Recap & Photos
K-State’s bowl history is virtually unmatched in the ranks of college football. The Wildcats have earned a postseason bowl berth in 14 of the last 19 seasons, and were one of just nine programs nationally to reach a bowl game in 12 of 14 season (1993-2006).
Since 1993, K-State has played in seven different bowls in three different states and has averaged nearly 30,000 fans at each of its bowl games played in the Continental U.S. The Wildcats had an estimated 45,000 fans travel to Dallas for the 1997 Cotton Bowl, while the largest crowd ever to cross state lines to watch a college football game went with the Wildcats to Tempe, Ariz., for the Wildcats’ 1997 Fiesta Bowl victory over Syracuse. Wildcat fans were again out in force at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl as an estimated crowd of just under 40,000 K-State faithful traveled to Arizona.
||K-State went to 11 straight bowl games under head coach Bill Snyder from 1993-2003
1982 INDEPENDENCE BOWL
Wisconsin 14, Kansas State 3
December 11, 1982 • Shreveport , La. • Independence Stadium
Shreveport , La. — Wisconsin quarterback Randy Wright tossed two touchdown passes as the Badgers overcame an early Kansas State lead for a hard-earned 14-3 victory over the Wildcats in the seventh annual Independence Bowl.
The game, played in cold and wet conditions before an announced crowd of 49,523, marked the first-ever Bowl appearance by Kansas State . A 23 mile-per-hour wind dropped temperatures to 10 below zero and kept many fans away.
After a scoreless first quarter, K-State took the game's first lead with 7:10 left in the second period when Steve Willis booted a 29-yard field goal after defensive end Bob Daniels recovered a fumble at the Badger 18-yard line.
The Wildcats' lead was short-lived, however. On Wisconsin 's ensuing drive following the field goal, the Badgers marched 79 yards in eight plays, scoring a touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Wright to Michael Jones to give UW a 7-3 halftime lead.
Wisconsin struck again midway through the third quarter, when game offensive MVP Wright connected with Tim Stracka on an 87-yard touchdown pass for a 14-3 Badger advantage.
K-State drove deep into Wisconsin territory on its next two possessions, but was unable to score.
One opportunity ended when a Wildcat pass was intercepted in the Badger end zone, while a second was stymied at the Wisconsin 26-yard line, when K-State could not convert on fourth down.
Darrell Ray Dickey completed 13 of 35 passes for 127 yards and one interception on the game for 1982 Big Eight Coach of the Year Jim Dickey's Wildcat squad.
The 35 pass attempts stood as a Kansas State bowl record until 2004, when Ell Roberson's 51 attempts in the 2004 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl vs. Ohio State.
1993 COPPER BOWL
(20) Kansas State 52, WYOMING 17
December 29, 1993 • Tucson , Ariz. • Arizona Stadium
TUCSON , Ariz. — It's probable that not even Bill Snyder could have scripted the events of Dec. 29, 1993, any better as K-State put the finishing touches on one of its finest football seasons in school history with a breathtaking 52-17 total domination of Wyoming .
Wyoming took a quick 3-0 lead on a 35-yard field goal, but the rest, as they say, is history. K-State put its high-powered offense into overdrive and scored on its first three possessions. J.J. Smith put K-State on the board with a two-yard TD run as the Wildcats drove 68 yards in just six plays to take a 6-3 lead. Tate Wright added a 22-yard field goal, and on its third possession, K-State drove 76 yards in only eight plays to take a 16-3 lead on Chad May's two-yard TD plunge.
With 1:07 left in the first half, Wyoming punted deep in its own territory. All-American Andre Coleman fielded the ball at his own 32, sidestepped two defenders and then raced untouched down the far sideline for a touchdown to put K-State ahead 24-10 at the half.
Coleman and company began the second half right where they left off and quickly broke the Cowboys' spirit with a 61-yard touchdown catch just 54 seconds into the third quarter.
Freshman All-American Kevin Lockett then put K-State ahead 38-10 midway through the third quarter with a 30-yard touchdown reception. Reserve running back Leon Edwards later added a 13-yard touchdown run, and cornerback Kenny McEntyre provided the game's crowning moment with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown with just over six minutes left in the game.
The final numbers were staggering, as the Kansas State offense rolled up 502 yards and averaging 7.5 yards per play.
1994 ALOHA BOWL
Boston College 12, (8) Kansas State 7
December 25, 1994 • Honolulu , Hawaii • Aloha Stadium
HONOLULU , Hawaii — Kansas State played Boston College to a defensive standoff much of the afternoon at Aloha Stadium, but the Wildcat offense never got on track and fell 12-7 in the 1994 Aloha Bowl.
The Eagles sacked K-State quarterback Chad May eight times, including a four-hit effort by end Mike Mamula, who was named the game's most valuable player.
Couple that with a ground game that gained just 30 yards and K-State netted just 124 altogether in finishing 9-3.
The Eagles couldn't distance themselves from the Wildcats despite a 51-yard bolt by David Green on the game's second play. That carry led to an early 7-0 cushion for the Eagles but would be the only touchdown of the day.
K-State's lone score came with eight seconds left in the first quarter when Joe Gordon crashed the middle of BC's line and blocked a punt by Jeff Beckley. Chris Sublette recovered the ball on the first hop in the end zone and the game was tied, 7-7.
However, BC would answer with its own end zone patrol later in the half when Mamula applied the biggest of his hits on May for a safety with 2:37 left.
The Wildcats reached the BC 19 on their ensuing drive, but Eric Shorter intercepted a dropped pass in the flat on third-and-15 with 19 seconds left in the half.
Still, a defense that featured punter Eric Hardy, Gordon and a pair of 10-tackle performances from Chuck Marlowe and Mario Smith kept the Wildcats within striking distance until the end.
BC could only tack on a 35-yard field goal by David Gordon with 1:18 remaining in the second half.
1995 HOLIDAY BOWL
(10) Kansas State 54, (25) COLORADO STATE 21
December 29, 1995 • San Diego , Calif. • Jack Murphy Stadium
SAN DIEGO , Calif. — For the second time in three years, Kansas State ran roughshod over the Western Athletic Conference's best as the Wildcats outran, outplayed and outscored Colorado State for a 54-21 win in front of more than 51,000 fans at the 1995 Plymouth Holiday Bowl at Jack Murphy Stadium.
K-State began the scoring on an Eric Hickson 4-yard run with 11:21 left in the first quarter. After CSU responded with a touchdown to knot the score at 7-7, it was all Kansas State .
The Wildcats outscored the Rams, 19-0, in the second quarter by virtue of an interception return by safety Mario Smith and a blocked punt. Brian Kavanagh, who would earn the game's Offensive MVP award, came in for the injured Matt Miller in the second quarter and immediately put the ball in the end zone.
Kavanagh completed 18-of-24 passes for 242 yards and a Holiday Bowl-record tying four touchdowns. The junior signal-caller tossed scoring strikes to Brian Lojka, Tyson Schwieger, Kevin Lockett and Mitch Running.
Including Miller's statistics before he was hurt, the Wildcat quarterbacks combined to complete 24 of 32 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, Smith earned MVP honors by picking off two passes, registering two passes broken up, making four tackles and generally creating havoc among the Ram receivers.
The nation's top-ranked defense held the potent CSU offense to 301 yards, while forcing four turnovers.
Individually, Hickson ran for 103 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, while catching six passes. Running caught six passes for 126 yards and a TD. Freshman punter James Garcia averaged 45.0 yards on three punts.
1997 COTTON BOWL
(5) Brigham Young 19, (14) Kansas State 14
January 1, 1997 • Dallas , Texas • Cotton Bowl
Dallas, Texas — An estimated 45,000 Kansas State fans descended on Dallas to watch the Wildcats in their first-ever New Year's Day Bowl and were witness to one of the most exciting games of the bowl season.
After taking a 15-5 lead following a 72-yard touchdown pass from Brian Kavanagh to Kevin Lockett, the Wildcats saw why BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian was considered one of the nation's best. The Cougar QB tossed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead No. 5 BYU to a 19-15 Cotton Bowl victory.
Following Sarkisian's 28-yard scoring strike to Kealaluhi with 3:39 remaining in the game, Kavanagh and Lockett led the Wildcats to a first down at the BYU 12-yard line with around one minute remaining. But, Kavanagh's pass to Jimmy Dean was picked off at the 3-yard line by Omarr Morgan to preserve BYU's 14th win.
The game's first score came when Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP Shay Muirbrook tackled Kavanagh in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter. After the free kick, BYU scored again on an Ethan Pochman 39-yard field goal.
K-State had a hard time getting on track until the final play of the first half. Kavanagh heaved a Hail Mary into the end zone, where, after the ball was deflected by a BYU defender, K-State junior Andre Anderson scooped the ball in for a touchdown. Following the PAT that gave K-State a 7-5 lead, a penalty on BYU forced the teams to return from the locker room so that the Wildcats could try for two points. Mike Lawrence made it pay off by scoring to give KSU an 8-5 lead heading into halftime.
K-State scored its second touchdown of the game when Kevin Lockett bounced off tacklers following a reception on a short slant pattern and raced 72 yards down the left sideline
1997 FIESTA BOWL
(9) Kansas State 35, (14) Syracuse 18
December 31, 1997 • Tempe , Ariz. • Sun Devil Stadium
Tempe , Ariz. — Kansas State capped its best season in school history with a 35-18 win over 14th-ranked Syracuse , the Big East champion.
Wildcat quarterback Michael Bishop stole the show by throwing for four touchdowns and completing a career-high 14 passes for a career-best 317 yards.
Darnell McDonald was on the receiving end of seven Bishop passes and turned them into a school-record 206 yards in receptions and three touchdowns. His 77-yard reception in the fourth quarter was the longest in Fiesta Bowl history.
After allowing Syracuse to jump out to a 3-0 lead on the first of Nate Trout's three field goals, Bishop led the Wildcats to three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter. The first came following a failed fake field goal attempt by Syracuse , culminating in a 19-yard pass to McDonald. Bishop followed with a 12-yard TD dash on K-State's next possession, and wrapped up the first-half scoring with a 28-yard completion to Justin Swift on a tight end screen.
Syracuse scored 12 points in the final 2:18 to close within 21-15 at the half. Following a scoreless third quarter, Bishop and the Wildcats put away the Orangemen with two big plays in the fourth.
McDonald pulled in a long pass along the sidelines, fought off a Syracuse defender and completed a 77-yard TD play, then followed with a 41-yard reception with 3:17 remaining to salt the game away.
Bishop, who earned the Offensive Player of the Game award, finished the contest with 390 yards in total offense, including 317 yards passing and 73 yards rushing. Swift caught a career-high five passes for a career-high 98 yards and one touchdown, while Travis Ochs, was Named Defensive player of the Game.
1998 ALAMO BOWL
Purdue 37, (4) Kansas State 34
December 29, 1998 • San Antonio , Texas • Alamodome
SAN ANTONIO , Texas — The unranked Purdue Boilermakers shocked the No. 4 Kansas State Wildcats, 37-34, in the sixth annual Builders Square Alamo Bowl.
More than 30,000 purple-clad fans cheered the Wildcats on in one of the most exciting bowl game finishes in school history.
After a scoreless first quarter, both offenses finally got untracked, exploding for 71 points over the final three periods.
Unfortunately for K-State, it was the Boilermakers who were the first to get things going, taking a 17-7 halftime lead courtesy of a pair of Drew Brees touchdown passes and a 25-yard Travis Dorsch field goal.
Fumble recoveries in the end zone by both squads and another Dorsch field goal, this time with just four seconds to go in the third quarter had Purdue sporting a 27-13 lead heading into the final stanza.
But the Wildcats put together a furious rally over the final 15 minutes.
David Allen, who rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries, scored from three yards out to get things going before Michael Bishop found an open Darnell McDonald for an Alamo Bowl record 88-yard touchdown strike that pulled the Cats within a field goal at 30-27. Then, with just 1:24 left in the game, Bishop connected with tight end Justin Swift for a two-yard touchdown and a 34-30 K-State lead, its first and only of the game.
Brees then engineered a six-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 24-yard score to Isaac Jones to put the Boilermakers back on top for good at 37-34 with 30 seconds remaining.
Pinned back on its own two-yard line, K-State saw its hopes dashed when Bishop was intercepted to end the game.
1999 HOLIDAY BOWL
(7) Kansas State 24, WASHINGTON 20
December 29, 1999 • San Diego , Calif. • Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego , Calif. — Kansas State used a stiff defense and three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Jonathan Beasley to defeat Washington 24-20 in the 1999 Holiday Bowl.
Trailing 20-17 late in the third quarter, the Wildcats embarked on a 20-play, 92-yard drive that took 9 minutes, 54 seconds off the clock to score the eventual game-winning touchdown. The drive was set up after senior Lamar Chapman picked off Marques Tuiasosopo.
K-State took a 17-13 lead on its first possession of the second half, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown run by Beasley. The Huskies came back with a 73-yard touchdown drive when Maurice Shaw scored on a five-yard run. That score was the first against K-State in the third quarter during the entire season.
Beasley completed 15-of-31 passes for 216 yards to go with three rushing touchdowns to earn Offensive MVP honors, while Darren Howard was named Defensive MVP after totaling nine tackles and three sacks.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Huskies take a 13-10 lead into the locker room.
Washington drew first blood when John Anderson booted a 39 yard field goal just 3:32 into the contests. K-State quickly responded as Beasley drove the Cats 47 yards on the ensuing possession, calling his own number from one yard out to cap the eight-play drive.
Anderson hit on his second of two first-half field goal attempts to pull Washington with in a point heading into the second quarter.
A Jamie Rheem field goal from 41 yards out pushed K-State's lead to 10-6, but the Huskies would put the half's final points on the board on a Pat Conniff three-yard touchdown run midway through the period.
2001 COTTON BOWL
(11) Kansas State 35, (21) Tennessee 21
January 1, 2001 • Dallas , Texas • Cotton Bowl
Dallas , Texas — Jonathan Beasley threw two touchdowns and rushed for another in leading Kansas State to a 35-21 win over Tennessee in the 65th annual Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Classic. The victory gave the Wildcats back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history.
Beasley, who was named the game's Offensive MVP, had touchdown passes of 56 and 10 yards to Quincy Morgan to key a rally in the second quarter. The touchdown throws, which came three minutes apart, turned a 7-7 tie into a 21-7 Wildcat lead.
Tennessee pulled within seven points before halftime when Jabari Greer went 78 yards with an interception for a touchdown.
But Kansas State got two touchdown runs from Josh Scobey early in the third quarter to regain its cushion. Scobey finished with 147 yards on a career-high 28 carries in the game, the most yards gained in a bowl game by a Wildcat in school history.
Travis Henry 81-yard run late in the game was the final Volunteers' score. Henry finished as the game's leading rusher, gaining 180 yards on 17 carries.
Beasley finished with 210 yards passing on a 13-for-27 performance. He also rushed for a career-best 98 yards on 17 carries. The senior put the Wildcats on the scoreboard first with a 14-yard run late in the first quarter.
Senior defensive end Chris Johnson was the Defensive MVP after leading the Wildcats with four tackles, including two sacks of Tennessee QB Casey Clausen. The Wildcat defense held Clausen to just seven completions and forced three interceptions.
2001 INSIGHT.COM BOWL
(18) Syracuse 26, Kansas State 3
December 29, 2001 • Phoenix , Ariz. • BankOne Ballpark
Phoenix , Ariz. — Syracuse running back James Mungro rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Orangemen to a victory over Kansas State in the 2001 Insight.com Bowl played at Bank One Ballpark.
Mungro scored on runs of 65, 1 and 1 yard to pace the Syracuse offense. The Orangemen added a late touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 52-yard pass from Robin Anderson to Johnnie Morant.
The Syracuse defense did a good job in stopping Kansas State 's running offense, which came into the bowl game ranked fifth in the nation. Despite allowing 46 yards on 10 carries to senior Josh Scobey, the Orangemen held K-State to just 33 net rushing yards.
Junior Marc Dunn led the Wildcats with 151 yards passing in relief of starter Ell Roberson. Dunn completed 12 of 25 passes and suffered one interception. Roberson was 2-for-15 for 70 yards for the Wildcats, who were sacked five times by Syracuse .
Mungro opened the scoring on his 65-yard run midway through the first quarter.
Kansas State responded just two minutes later with a 29-yard field goal by freshman Joe Rheem. The drive was sparked by a 47-yard pass from Roberson to Aaron Lockett and a 27-yard carry by Scobey.
Syracuse took advantage of a fumble deep in Wildcat territory early in the second quarter. Mungro scored from the 1-yard line to convert the turnover, but the extra-point was blocked by Josh Buhl.
On the next play from scrimmage, Willie Ford got the first of his two interceptions to set up the Orangemen again. Two plays later, Mungro went over from the 1-yard line again, but Buhl also blocked the extra-point.
2002 HOLIDAY BOWL
(6) Kansas State 34, Arizona State 27
December 27, 2002 • San Diego , Calif. • Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego , Calif. — Derrick Evans caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Ell Roberson with 1:15 left in the game to lift Kansas State to its first and final lead of the contest, as the Wildcats defeated Arizona State , 34-27, in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.
Evans' catch completed a K-State comeback from deficits of 10-0, 20-7 and 27-20 against the Sun Devils. Roberson, voted the Offensive MVP of the game, rushed for 63 yards, including touchdowns of 32, 3 and 1 yards, and passed for 215 yards by completing 11 of 28 throws.
Roberson's 32-yard score came with just 54 seconds left in the second half and pulled the Wildcats within 20-14. Just 31 seconds earlier, Mike Barth converted on a 39-yard field goal to give ASU its largest lead of the game at 20-7.
K-State tied the game at 20-20 early in the fourth quarter when Roberson capped a 16-play, 65-yard drive with a 3-yard score.
Arizoan State quarterback Andrew Walter, who threw for 293 yards on 28-for-57 passing, found Mike Williams for a 10-yard score to put the Sun Devils back ahead on the next possession.
But the Wildcats responded with an 80-yard drive on its next opportunity, setting up Roberson's 1-yard touchdown dive that tied the game again at 27-27 with 6:41 left.
The Wildcat defense forced a Sun Devil punt that Terence Newman returned 27 yards. From there, the Wildcats needed seven plays to cover 59 yards to set up the game-winning touchdown.
Arizona State converted two first downs on its final drive, but Rashad Washington batted down Walter's final pass to preserve the win.
2004 FIESTA BOWL
(7) Ohio State 35, (8) Kansas State 28
January 2, 2004 • Phoenix , Ariz. • Sun Devil Stadium
Tempe , Ariz. — Kansas State started slowly but finished with a fury in the 33rd Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. But it was enough to overcome a 21-point third-quarter deficit as the Wildcats lost a hard fought 35-28 decision to Ohio State in its first ever BCS bowl game at Sun Devil Stadium.
Trailing 35-14 heading into the fourth quarter, Ayo Saba scored from three yards out to cap an eight-play, 46-yard drive and closed the game to 14 points.
Ell Roberson's second rushing touchdown with just 2:47 to go pulled K-State within a touchdown, setting up a frantic finish.
After recovering the ensuing on-sides kick, the Wildcats were flagged for being offsides, forcing a re-kick. This time the Buckeyes recovered at the K-State 36-yard line.
But the Wildcats held and got the ball back with 1:12 to play at their own 10-yard.
A 21-yard completion to Davin Dennis, who finished with a career-high seven receptions for 113 yards, moved the ball to the K-State 26. On the next play Roberson connected with Jermaine Moreira for 26 yards to the Ohio State 48 to get Kansas State within striking distance.
However, Roberson's desperation pass from midfield was batted down at the 2, allowing Ohio State to escape with its second straight Fiesta Bowl victory.
Roberson completed 20 passes on a career-high 51 attempts for 294 yards. His 51 attempts were the most ever by a Wildcat in a bowl game, surpassing Darrell Dickey's 34 in the 1982 Independence Bowl.
Josh Buhl tied a K-State bowl game record with 13 total tackles, equaling Laird Veatch's total from the 1993 Copper Bowl and giving him a K-State single-season record of 184.
2006 TEXAS BOWL
Rutgers 37, Kansas State 10
December 28, 2006 • Houston, Texas • Reliant Stadium
HOUSTON, Texas - Kansas State hung with No. 16 Rutgers for 30 minutes, but the Scarlet Knights scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to hand the Wildcats a 37-10 loss in the inagural Texas Bowl before 52,210 fans at Reliant Stadium.
Rutgers, which just missed out on a BCS Bowl berth, was as good as advertised and kept K-State off balance all night long.
Ray Rice, the Texas Bowl MVP, rushed for 170 yards and a touchdown and Tim Brown caught two TD passes, for the Scarlet Knights (11-2), who claimed thier first bowl victory in 137 seasons of intercollegiate football.
Brown's two TD catches came in the opening period and staked Rutgers to a quick 14-0 lead.
Kansas State (7-6) answered with a 44-yard field goal by Jeff Snodgrass -- his 17th of the season -- and a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown by Yamon Figurs that was the longest in K-State bowl history to close the gap to 14-10 midway through the second quarter.
But Jeremy Ito connected on a 37-yard field goal to close the half and linebacker Quintero Frierson returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage of the second half to put Rutgers comfortably ahead 24-10.
Rice sprinted 46-yards for his lone touchdown of the game on the Scarlet Knights' next posssession before Ito closed out the scoring with a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to provide the final margin.
The Scarlet Knights' seventh-ranked defense proved to be too much and held Kansas State at bay all game long. The Wildcats mustered just 162 yards of total offense for its second fewest yards in a bowl game.
Freshman quarterback Josh Freeman finished the game 10-for-21 passing for 124 yards with two interceptions and also lost a fumble.
Junior wide receiver Jordy Nelson led the Wildcat receivers, hauling in four receptions for 81 yards.
On defense, senior linebacker Brandon Archer led all players with nine total tackles to finish his career with 268 stops for the 17th-most in school history.
2010 PINSTRIPE BOWL
Syracuse 36, Kansas State 34
December 30, 2010 • New York, NY • Yankee Stadium
NEW YORK, New York -- The first Pinstripe Bowl turned into a home run derby.
Delone Carter ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns, Marcus Sales caught three long TD passes and Syracuse got some help from a celebration penalty on Kansas State to beat the Wildcats 36-34 on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
Adrian Hilburn slipped a tackle and raced to a 30-yard touchdown catch with 1:13 remaining to pull Kansas State within two. Hilburn saluted the crowd behind the visitor's dugout and was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, which pushed the 2-point conversion attempt back to the 17-yard line.
Carson Coffman overthrew Aubrey Quarles in the end zone, and when Kansas State (7-6) couldn't come up with the onside kick, Syracuse (8-5) only had to take a knee to win a bowl game for the first time since 2001.
Daniel Thomas ran for three touchdowns for Kansas State, which was making its first bowl appearance since 2006.
The teams traded big plays right from the start -- Thomas went 51 yards for a score on the second play from scrimmage -- and scored touchdowns on the first five second-half possessions.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, sensing field goals would not be enough, called for a fake with about five minutes left in the fourth from the 10, but Syracuse stacked up Ryan Doerr on the run.
Carter, who scored two second-half touchdowns, broke free for a 60-yard run on the next play. It set up Ross Krautman's 40-yard field goal with 3:08 left that made it 36-28.
Too much time.
Coffman, who played brilliantly in his last college game, led the Wildcats into Syracuse territory and connected with Hilburn near the sideline about 10 yards down field. After winning a footrace to the end zone, he dropped the ball, did a quick salute and turned to celebrate with his teammates.
The flags came flying and the 2-point attempt turned into a desperation play.