In his 19th bowl appearance, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder led the Kansas State Wildcats to a 35-17 win over the UCLA Bruins on December 26th in the 29th Annual Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. Down by 10 going into the second half, Kansas State scored 28 unanswered points to complete the comeback and help Snyder to his 210th career victory.
UCLA used two explosive pass plays from backup quarterback Devon Modster to jump out to 17-7 lead after a 14-point second quarter in which they held Kansas State scoreless. Modster first found Jordan Lasley for a 52-yard touchdown and less than three minutes later threw a 70-yard strike to Theo Howard.
After the turn of the half, the game was dominated by the Purple and White.
Snyder opted to make a quarterback change in the first quarter after Skylar Thompson threw an interception. Backup quarterback Alex Delton proved to be the difference-maker for the Wildcats. Delton scored on runs of 68 yards, three yards and one yard. Alex Barnesadded added 117 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats, who rushed for 344 yards – a program record for a bowl game.
The Kansas State defense was equally as impressive in the second half, shutting down UCLA and halting a late comeback attempt. Early in the fourth quarter, UCLA turned it over on downs – after a successful fake punt – and Kansas State turned its fourth-down try into a touchdown, with Alex Barnes putting the Wildcats up 28-17 with a 41-yard run. The Bruins had 100 total yards and three first downs in the second half.
Denzel Goolsby earned Defensive Player of the Game honors with five tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery and Delton’s performance earned the sophomore quarterback Offensive Player of the Game.