Wildcats Fall To Syracuse, 26-3, At Insight.com Bowl

Josh Scobey  picks up a short gain past Syracuse's Christian Ferrara (93) during the first quarter Saturday.

Dec 29, 2001

Final Stats?|?Notes

By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

PHOENIX (AP) - There were too many mistakes and too much Mungro for KansasState in the Insight.com Bowl.

James Mungro wrapped up his outstanding collegiate career with 112 yards andthree touchdowns, including a disputed 65-yarder as 18th-ranked Syracuse shutdown the Wildcats 26-3 Saturday.

With his seventh 100-yard rushing game of the season, Mungro passed LarryCsonka for second place on Syracuse's career rushing list with 2,981 yards.Only Joe Morris (1978-81) had more.

The Wildcats, fifth in NCAA Division I this season in rushing at 257 yardsper game, ran for a season-low 33 yards in 34 attempts.

"Today was a great day for the defense - a great, great, great effort,"Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said.

The Orangemen, the Big East runner-up to No. 1 Miami, thought they deservedto play in a New Year's Day bowl, but were passed over by the Gator Bowl infavor of Virginia Tech.

To add to the insult, Syracuse was a 5{-point underdog against a KansasState team that had to win four out of its last five to even qualify for abowl.

"That was an incentive for us," Mungro said. "I don't think we were like,`Why are they favored?' But it was like `OK, they're favored, we know we're abetter team. Let's go out there and prove to America we're a better team thanthem."'

The Orangemen (10-3) were in command of this one early, then celebrated witha big splash at the finish. Offensive linemen Giovanni Deloatch and SeanO'Connor leaped - uniforms and all - into the Bank One Ballpark swimming pool.

R.J. Anderson completed just five of 14 passes, but one of them was a52-yarder to Johnnie Morant for a touchdown with 3:22 to play.

The Orangemen reached double-digit victories for the sixth time in schoolhistory but first since 1992.

They turned two Kansas State turnovers into touchdowns in a 52-second spanin the second quarter.

Kansas State (6-6) failed to have a winning season for the first time since1992. The Wildcats had won 11 in each of the previous four seasons.

"We didn't prepare as well as we should have, didn't play as well as weshould have, and I didn't coach as well as I should have. From the outset, thathas a lot to do with it," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said.

Wildcats receiver Aaron Lockett, who caught four passes for 83 yards in hislast college game, wondered why his team had so much trouble on offense despiteso much practice time.

"It's just a frustrating feeling right now," Lockett said.

In a rematch of the teams that played in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, neitheroffense had much success. The difference was three big plays by Syracuse andfour turnovers by Kansas State, including two interceptions by Willie Ford.

Mungro went 65 yards down the left sideline on an option play to giveSyracuse a 7-0 lead with 6:38 to play in the first quarter, even thoughtelevision replays showed he appeared to step out of bounds in front of theKansas State bench at the 50.

"Right in front of my eyes," Snyder said.

Ell Roberson's only completion in 11 first-half attempts, a 47-yarder toAaron Lockett, set up Joe Rheem's 29-yard field goal that made it 7-3 with 4:03to go in the first quarter.

Then came Kansas State turnovers on consecutive plays that put Syracuse infirm control for good.

Punter Mike Ronsick bobbled the snap from center and Syracuse's Barry Bakerrecovered at the Wildcats 4. Mungro scored on a 1-yard run two plays later toput Syracuse up 13-7.

Marc Dunn replaced Roberson, and his first pass was picked off by Ford, whoreturned it 36 yards to the Kansas State 42. Anderson's 41-yard pass to Morantset up another 1-yard touchdown run by Mungro that gave Syracuse a 19-7 leadwith 10:47 to play in the half.

Both conversion kicks were blocked by Kansas State's Josh Buhl.

Dunn replaced Roberson again and completed three quick passes to move theWildcats to the Syracuse 24 in the final seconds of the half, but Rheem's41-yard field-goal attempt was wide left.

Kansas State took the second-half kickoff and Dunn drove the team to theSyracuse 30, but Roberson - back for one play - fumbled and Josh Thomasrecovered for the Orangemen at the 27.

A crowd of 40,028 attended the bowl game, which was moved two years ago tothe home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and is the only football contest played inthe baseball facility.