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

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. 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

neck injury.

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

end zone.