December 29, 1998
By KELLEY SHANNON
AP Sports Writer
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The Kansas State Wildcats never wanted to be in the Alamo Bowl - and it showed by the way they played most of the game.
Even their late rally couldn't overcome the unranked Purdue Boilermakers, who drove 80 yards for a touchdown in the final minute to shock No. 4 Kansas State 37-34 Tuesday night.
After losing a 14-point lead in the final quarter and letting the Wildcats jump ahead 34-30, Purdue used just 54 seconds for the game-winning drive, capped by Drew Brees' 24-yard pass to Isaac Jones with 30 seconds left.
It was a bitter ending for Kansas State (11-2), which felt snubbed at not getting an invitation to a top-tier bowl after being knocked out of the national title picture with a 36-33 double-overtime loss to Texas A&M in the Big 12 championship.
"I feel for every player in that (locker) room, every coach and every Kansas State fan that showed up here in San Antonio," said Wildcats coach Bill Snyder. "Tonight was the culmination of three weeks of disappointment."
In fact, the Wildcats seemed to play the first three quarters as if they resented even being in this game. Their 21 points in the fourth quarter was the only thing that kept them from being blown out.
"I was proud of our football team, that they were able to come back from the 14-point deficit to take the lead. We didn't give up," Snyder said.
Quarterback Michael Bishop lost a fumble and threw four interceptions, but also threw an Alamo Bowl-record 88-yard touchdown pass to Darnell McDonald with 6:23 remaining. With 1:24 left, Bishop tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Justin Swift as Kansas State went ahead 34-30, completing a comeback that brought 30,000 purple-clad fans to their feet.
Purdue coach Joe Tiller said this victory rivaled last year's defeat of Notre Dame.
"This is a great win for all Purdue people," Tiller said. "The defense played great and the special teams had its moments."
Purdue scored 17 points off Wildcats fumbles, and Kansas State stayed in touch only because it scored its first two touchdowns after recovering bad snaps on Purdue punt attempts. The Wildcats got the ball on the 1 after the first and recovered the second in the end zone.
The offense didn't produce a touchdown until three minutes into the fourth quarter on David Allen's 3-yard run that got Kansas State back into the game at 27-20.
"I may have pressed too hard to make things happen," said Bishop, the Heisman Trophy runner-up. "I'm not embarrassed at all. We got beat by a good team. We have no reason to hang our heads."
A 37-yard field goal by Purdue's Travis Dorsch put the Boilermakers ahead 30-20 with 6:44 left.
Kansas State answered on the next play with Bishop's pass to McDonald, who overcame pass interference to grab the ball and score untouched to move the Wildcats to within 30-27 with 6:23 to play.
Purdue dominated Kansas State in the first half like no team had this season. The Boilermakers made the most of Kansas State's two fumbles in the second quarter and led 17-7 at halftime.
Kansas State, failing to score in the first quarter for the first time this season, got on the board with 9:49 remaining in the second after a bad snap that eluded Purdue punter Andy Standifer gave Kansas State possession at the Boilermakers 1. K-State scored on a 1-yard pass from Bishop to McDonald.
Brees was 25-of-53 for 230 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions, while Bishop was only 9-of-24 for 182 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions, matching his interception total for the entire season.
"I'm thinking right now, how did we win that game?" Brees said. "All I can say is that offense wins games and defense truly wins championships."
Bishop said the first half was his worst since he came to Kansas State two
years ago from Blinn (Texas) Junior College. He led Blinn to consecutive
undefeated national championships in 1995 and 1996. At Kansas State last
season, he threw for four touchdowns and ran for one in the Wildcats' 35-18
victory over Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl.