PHOENIX, Ariz. – Kansas State rushed for a team bowl record 344 yards, including a K-State individual bowl game high 158 from quarterback Alex Delton, and used 28 unanswered second half points to rush past UCLA for a Cactus Bowl crown late Tuesday night at Chase Field. Delton came off the bench and took his first touch to the house for 68 yards, the first of three rushing touchdowns and four total scores the Cactus Bowl Offensive MVP.
Nine different Wildcats logged rushes with Alex Barnes joining Delton over the century mark with 117 yards, 41 of which came on a fourth quarter, fourth-down conversion to help put the game away. K-State tallied 344 total rushing yards to surpass the 329 yards rushed against Tennessee in the 2001 Cotton Bowl against Tennessee. Delton’s total topped Josh Scobey’s mark of 150 in the same game and was the sixth-highest rushing total by a K-State quarterback in any contest.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Cats trailed 17-7 at the half but used Delton’s shortest run – a fourth-and-inches push – to open scoring in the third quarter. Denzel Goolsby locked up Cactus Bowl Defensive MVP honors with a strip and fumble recovery on the ensuing possession, then used the short field to surge ahead 21-14 when Dominique Heath juked a defender and took a Delton pass in for an eight-yard score. Barnes made it a 21-0 run when he cut back on another fourth down conversion and scampered 41 yards less than a minute into the fourth quarter. Late in the game, Delton keyed a 15-play, 98-yard drive that chewed up 8:06 of game clock, then punched it in from three yards out for the final tally. In all, K-State possessed the ball for 35:07 in the contest.
With the win over UCLA, K-State closed its season with an 8-5 record, marking the sixth time in the last seven years that the Wildcats have tallied at least eight wins and the 16th time in head coach Bill Snyder’s 26 years leading the program.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Delton’s career-high 158 yards was the most ever by a K-State player in a bowl game and sixth-highest rushing total by a Wildcat quarterback in any contest. Delton, who missed the last three and a half games of the regular season and didn’t start Tuesday night’s contest, took his first touch to the house for a 68-yard touchdown. It was the first of three rushing touchdowns for the Cactus Bowl Offensive MVP.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Goolsby was one of four Wildcats to tally more than five stops in the game but one play sealed the Cactus Bowl Defensive MVP honors and perhaps saved the game for the Wildcats. Goolsby stripped UCLA tailback Bo Olorunfunmi on the first play of UCLA’s second drive of the second half, setting up a short field and go-ahead scoring drive for K-State.