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K-State runs over NC State in Pop-Tarts Bowl


Avery Johnson found Jayce Brown for an 11-yard touchdown to cap the clinching drive in the fourth quarter as No. 25 Kansas State defeated No. 18 North Carolina State 28-19 in the Pop-Tarts Bowl on Thursday in Orlando.

The Wildcats took the ball with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter and kept it for 7:24 on the decisive march, which lasted 15 plays and covered 72 yards.

Kansas State (9-4) only had one quarterback on the roster Thursday, limiting the Wildcats’ use of Johnson in the running game. He still finished with 71 yards on seven carries to go with 14-of-31 passing for 178 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

North Carolina State (9-4) was seeking its second 10-win season in program history (2002). Brennan Armstrong was 14 of 28 for 168 yards and one interception. He led the Wolfpack with 121 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground but ran for only 7 yards in the second half.

After trailing 21-10 at halftime, NC State dominated the third quarter, outgaining the Wildcats 166-44. Brayden Narveson hit a 49-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half. Narveson missed a chance to cut into the lead further when he missed a 52-yard attempt on the Wolfpack’s next possession.

NC State used a fake punt to cut the deficit. Trent Pinnix took the snap and went 60 yards for the score. The two-point conversion attempt failed when Armstrong was sacked before he could find a receiver, leaving Kansas State up 21-19 with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

Seth Porter appeared to put the Wildcats up by two scores with a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown, but a penalty nullified the score. The Wildcats had another touchdown wiped out by a penalty, but Johnson ran for a first down on third-and-10 to keep the drive alive. Eight plays later, Johnson and Brown connected for the crucial touchdown.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Jacob Parrish intercepted an Armstrong pass to all but seal the victory. The Wildcats were able to run out the final 2:33.

–Field Level Media

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