New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Somewhere, George Is Smiling

A general view of play between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Syracuse Orange during the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 30 2010 in New York New York. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

-- Revisit all the action at SB Nation New York's live-story stream. -- SB Nation New York's Ed Valentine thinks SU's victory is a start of good things.

All week the critics squawked.

This was just another Yankee event put on to showcase how much money they have. All the Yankees organization wanted to do was slap a football field on a baseball diamond, feed the media some fancy food -- the chicken fingers were good -- and wait as the glowing reviews of another "over-budgeted" show rolled in.

Many wanted the first-ever New Era Pinstripe Bowl to fail to make Mr. George H. Steinbrenner, who loved football and wanted an event like this to happen, look bad.

Sorry folks, George had nothing to do with what happened on Thursday night. He may have built the stage but it was the Syracuse Orange and Kansas St. Wildcats who put on the show.

Two small-city programs, thrown into the big-city spotlight of the greatest city in the world, showcased what Steinbrenner would have wanted.

Like the first act of a Broadway play, the game started slow. The crowd was given time to feel out the performers and what the story was all about.

The second quarter showed a little razzle-dazzle when SU junior quarterback Ryan Nassib connected with wide receiver Marcus Sales a 36-yard flea-flicker, which tied the game at 14-14 -- the halftime score.

At intermission, the crowd put a little bit more charge into the atmosphere. More chatter, more cheers and even some singing -- the crew Rock of Ages performed "Here I Go Again", "Wanted (Dead or Alive)" and "Don't Stop Believing."

The third quarter featured a bit more fireworks. Syracuse scored on its two possessions of the quarter. Kansas State did the same on its lone possession.

With the score at 28-27 and KSU deep inside SU territory to start the final quarter, fans thought they saw what was coming. This ending was going to be good.

They had no idea.

The final act featured another flea-flicker (a 41-yarder by KSU), a 60-yard run by SU running back Delone Carter and both offenses marching up and down the field -- SU fans hadn't seen this type of show since legendary running back Jim Brown starred in movies.

Carter, the game's MVP, became the star but Sales was the "hooray!" unsung hero that audiences love to cheer for.

Sales' third TD of the day allowed Syracuse to take a 36-28 lead with 3:08 remaining. And, you thought the show was over?

KSU, like most villains, came back from the dead and tried to put a dagger into the heart of SU.

The Wildcats almost did, scoring a TD with 1:13 remaining and closing within two points.

But irony has its way of showing up in shows like this -- it adds a twist to the plot.

When KSU wide receiver Adrian Hilburn crossed the goal line, he to wanted to put on a show by himself. The college football gods don't like that. His showmanship of saluting the fans turned into the Wildcats undoing.

Syracuse held off its villain and celebrated in victory formation.

Show over. Draw the curtains. Standing ovation.

Somewhere, above the big lights of Yankee Stadium, Mr. Steinbrenner is smiling. Once again, he helped create the stage. The players did the rest and put on one hell of a show.

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