Sat, Jan 01, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Kansas State left undone by Syracuse and penalty

NY Times News Service, NEW YORK

Kansas State wide receiver Adrian Hilburn polished off the final touchdown of the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Thursday by stopping outside the back of the end zone, not far from the visitors’ dugout and a 1m-high bank of snow, then saluting the Wildcats’ fans.

It was a costly salute. The officials immediately penalized Kansas State 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Wildcats missed a long pass on a 2-point conversion attempt with 1:13 to play, and Syracuse held on for a 36-34 victory.

Most of the crowd of 38,274 had stayed even though the sun had gone down and it was much chillier than 5°C, the announced temperature at kickoff. A majority were Syracuse fans, who celebrated the Orange’s first bowl victory since 2001. Hilburn, meanwhile, was devastated.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have done that,” Hilburn said of his actions after his 30-yard touchdown catch. “I still think they shouldn’t have made that call.”

The final score happened to be the same as when Nebraska beat Miami on Dec. 15, 1962, in the first, and only, Gotham Bowl at the old Yankee Stadium. That game drew only 6,166 and quickly became an afterthought.

Thursday’s game, held at the new stadium across 161st Street, did not draw a capacity crowd of 54,251, the number that came to see Notre Dame and Army on Nov. 19, but this game was much more exciting than the Fighting Irish’s 30-3 victory on that Saturday night.

Although New York was pounded with 50cm of snow over the weekend, the playing field and the blue seats at the Stadium had been cleared for the game, which went off without a hitch. Most of the snow had been trucked away and dumped in the Harlem River.

There were large piles of snow in the left-field and right-field corners and behind the end zone where Hilburn scored, and Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president, said before the game that some of the snow was left behind for a less than tropical effect.

The crowd was late finding its seats — fewer than 5,000 appeared to be in the stands when the Kansas State band played a half-hour before the game — but no one seemed to have trouble getting to the Stadium, or no more trouble than usual.

“We’re from Syracuse, this is nothing,” said Terrence Buckman, an Orange fan wearing a T-shirt. “It was absolutely not a problem.”

Everything was open at the stadium — including the concession stands selling US$10 beers and US$4.50 soft pretzels, baseball prices. Business at the souvenir shops was brisk, maybe because they were heated. The crowd seemed to get bigger, or louder, as the game went on.

Syracuse (8-5) fell behind, 28-27, when Daniel Thomas scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for Kansas State with 11:03 remaining. However, Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Sales with 7:52 left. It was Sales’ third touchdown of the game.

Kansas State (7-6) drove to the Syracuse 10-yard line on its next possession, but on third down Thomas fell down on what appeared to be a running play. Kansas State holder Ryan Doerr was then tackled for a 4-yard loss on a fake field-goal attempt.

That led to a 40-yard field goal by Syracuse’s Ross Krautman, who had hooked an extra-point attempt wide left after a touchdown run late in the third quarter by Delone Carter, who had 198 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

“We felt like we were ice--skating a little bit,” Carter said of the field conditions.

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