Kansas St. 49, North Texas 41
Daniel Thomas rushed for a career-high 269 yards and Kansas
State closed the college home of ”Mean” Joe Greene by rallying
for a 49-41 victory against North Texas on Saturday.
The Wildcats (7-5) fell behind 20-7 in the first half after
Lance Dunbar rushed for 161 yards and two long touchdowns in the
first quarter alone.
Dunbar finished with 270 yards and three touchdowns for the Mean
Green (3-9), who are leaving 58-year-old Fouts Field and moving
across Interstate 35 into a new $78 million stadium next year.
Kansas State finally went ahead 21-20 on Carson Coffman’s
touchdown pass with 5 seconds left in the first half. The Wildcats
scored twice early in the third quarter to build a cushion that
withstood a wild second half.
The half-full stadium 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.
Running through huge holes, Dunbar had a 52-yard scoring run on
the fourth play of the game and went 63 yards for a 20-7 lead with
3:33 left in the first quarter.
In his final audition for the permanent job, interim North Texas
coach Mike Canales did plenty of arm-pumping trying to keep his
team in front. But Kansas State’s varied rushing attack kept
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. Thomas took several direct snaps for runs that
helped set up both scores.
The rest of the game mocked the legacy of Greene, the former
Pittsburgh Steelers star who won four Super Bowls as part of the
stingy Steel Curtain defense.
Dunbar went 36 yards to finish a 79-yard touchdown drive that
pulled the Mean Green within 35-27, but 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
Dodge spent about 10 minutes on the field but had full movement
before going to a hospital for X-rays.
Both defenses stiffened late in the fourth quarter, but not
before the teams combined for 909 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