KANSAS STATE 49,
NORTH TEXAS 41
Kansas St. 7 14 21 7 — 49
North Texas 20 0 14 7 — 41
NT — Dunbar 52 run (Olen kick), 12:59.
KSt — Dan.Thomas 23 run (Cherry kick), 9:17.
NT — J.Jackson 15 pass from Dodge (kick failed), 6:27.
NT — Dunbar 63 run (Olen kick), 3:33.
KSt — Coffman 1 run (Cherry kick), 11:25.
KSt — Harper 7 pass from Coffman (Cherry kick), :05.
KSt — Klein 6 run (Cherry kick), 13:48.
KSt — Wilson 1 run (Cherry kick), 7:33.
NT — Dunbar 36 run (Olen kick), 2:46.
KSt — Dan.Thomas 3 run (Cherry kick), :13.
NT — Chancellor 93 kickoff return (Olen kick), :00.
KSt — Quarles 92 kickoff return (Cherry kick), 14:46.
NT — Dunbar 17 pass from Baine (Olen kick), 10:00.
A — 21,952.
First downs 21 16
Rushes-yards 59-373 33-298
Passing 77 161
Comp-Att-Int 9-21-0 12-20-1
Return Yards 8 0
Punts-Avg. 4-35.3 5-32.4
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yds 3-15 4-18
Time of Poss. 36:19 23:41
RUSHING — Kansas St., Dan.Thomas 36-269, Coffman 14-34, Klein 5-31, Harper 1-29, Hubert 1-5, Wilson 2-5. North Texas, Dunbar 22-270, Baine 1-19, Byrd 2-6, Dodge 6-3, Chancellor 2-0.
PASSING — Kansas St., Coffman 9-20-0-77, Dan.Thomas 0-1-0-0. North Texas, Dodge 8-12-0-123, Baine 4-8-1-38.
RECEIVING — Kansas St., Hilburn 3-20, Harper 2-26, McFall 2-12, Bachamp 1-10, Quarles 1-9. North Texas, Carey 3-45, J.Jackson 3-42, Dunbar 3-35, Taylor 2-9, Olawale 1-30.
DENTON, Texas (AP) — The final game in the college home of “Mean” Joe Greene mocked the stingy defensive legacy of the former Pittsburgh Steelers star and had Kansas State coach Bill Snyder fuming.
Daniel Thomas rushed for a career-high 269 yards and the Wildcats rallied in the first half before withstanding a wild second half to beat North Texas 49-41 on Saturday.
Snyder, an old-school coach who spent some of his early years as an assistant at 58-year-old Fouts Field, couldn’t think much past the 270 rushing yards the Wildcats surrendered to North Texas’ Lance Dunbar. Or the 459 total yards for the Mean Green, nine more than Kansas State.
“Tremendously disappointing,” said Snyder, whose team is bowl-bound at 7-5 but had just this one win in three games after blowing out Texas at home. “That’s why I’m angry.”
The half-full stadium that will be replaced next year by a $78 million facility across Interstate 35 had at least as much Wildcat purple as Mean Green, but the Kansas State fans didn’t have much to cheer for most of the first half.
The Wildcats were down 20-7 in the first quarter after two long touchdown runs by Dunbar, who had 161 yards less than 12 minutes into the game. Thomas ended up matching him almost yard for yard in a game that featured two of the top 15 running backs in the nation.
Thomas took quite a few snaps in the wildcat offense, setting up a couple of scores from that formation while also scoring twice himself the traditional way. He didn’t have much of a chance to defend his Big 12 rushing title, but ended up 34 yards ahead of Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter before Hunter took the field Saturday night against Oklahoma.
“I knew (Dunbar) was going to do a good job because he’s a great back, but I didn’t expect it to be like this,” Thomas said.
With his team unexpectedly leading in his final audition for the permanent job, North Texas interim coach Mike Canales did plenty of arm-pumping trying to keep his team in front. But Kansas State’s varied rushing attack kept coming.
Backup quarterback Collin Klein came off the bench in the third quarter for a 6-yard scoring run and a nifty pitch to Braden Wilson for a 1-yard TD.
The Mean Green (3-9) followed their coach’s cue, though, and made an offensive spectacle of the final game on the field once roamed by Greene, a fearsome defensive end who won four Super Bowls with the Steel Curtain defenses of the 1970s.
Dunbar went 36 yards to finish a 79-yard touchdown drive that pulled the Mean Green within 35-27 before Thomas answered with his second touchdown, a 3-yard run that capped a 56-yard march.
The teams traded 90-plus-yard kickoff returns that left Kansas State in front 49-34 early in the fourth quarter before North Texas drove another 77 yards to pull within 49-41. Dunbar scored from 17 yards on a fourth-down shovel pass from backup Chase Baine on the first snap after starter Riley Dodge left on a stretcher with a neck injury.
Dodge spent about 10 minutes on the field but had full movement before going to a hospital for X-rays.
“We couldn’t tackle anybody and we couldn’t tackle anybody then we couldn’t tackle anybody,” Snyder said. “Then we had some people where they weren’t supposed to be.”
Kansas State restored some defensive sanity with a three-and-out stop midway through the fourth, then held the ball for nearly five minutes before punting.
Trailing by eight, North Texas had just 55 seconds to go 89 yards. The final play at Fouts Field was a Hail Mary toss from Baine that traveled 60 yards before Kansas State intercepted it in the end zone.
“We played our tails off tonight but couldn’t make a few plays when we had to and they did,” said Canales, who went 2-3 after North Texas fired Todd Dodge with a 6-37 record in 3½ seasons.