Wow. What a final quarter. What a show the Syracuse Orange and Kansas State Wildcats put on for the fans at Yankee Stadium.
In the first-ever Pinstripe Bowl, which had everything a college football fan -- heck, even the casual sports fan -- could want, the Orange beat the Wildcats, 36-34.
Syracuse (8-5) claimed the George H. Steinbrenner Trophy and its bowl first victory since the 2001 Insight.com Bowl, which featured SU beating KSU 26-3.
SU running back Delone Carter, who rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns, earned MVP honors.
The unsung hero, however, was junior wide receiver Marcus Sales.
Sales snagged a collegiate-best three TDs, the third was a 44-yarder that gave SU a 33-28 lead with 7:53 remaining in the game. Sales finished with a game-best 172 receiving yards.
The Orange added a 40-yard field goal by kick Ross Krautman to increase its margin to 36-28 with 3:07 to go.
KSU answered Krautman's kick with a five-play, 57-yard TD drive, which ended when wide receiver Adrian Hilburn caught a quick-out pattern from quarterback Carson Coffman and dashed 30 yards for the score.
However, any chances of a Wildcat comeback were shattered when Hilburn crossed the goal line, stood in a military stance then saluted the fans. Hilburn was flagged and KSU was penalized 15 yards for unsportmanlike conduct.
"Two officials threw the flag, both judged it to be drawing attention to themselves, and that's what the flag was for," said referee Todd Geerlings.
The penalty was assessed on the two-point attempt, pushing Kansas State back to the 18-yard line for its game-tying attempt. Coffman missed his intended receiver, allowing Syracuse to maintain its two-point advantage.
KSU recovered the onside kick attempt, but the Wildcats were penalized as the kick did not go 10 yards. That gave Syracuse the ball and SU ran out the remainder of the clock from the victory formation.
Junior quarterback Ryan Nassib finished 13-of-21 for 239 yards passing and three TDs.