1998 Fiesta Bowl
Offensive Player of the Game: Michael Bishop, Kansas State
Defensive Player of the Game: Travis Ochs, Kansas State
Sportsmanship Award: Jason Walters, Syracuse
Head Coaches: Bill Snyder, Kansas State - Paul Pasqualoni, Syracuse
Weather: Clear, warm
Payout Per Team: $8,500,000
Amid a sea of fans dressed in purple, Kansas State recorded what many believe was the biggest win in the school’s history, as Michael Bishop passed and rushed the Wildcats to a 35-18 victory over Syracuse in the 1998 Fiesta Bowl.
During the only Fiesta Bowl game played on New Year’s Eve, Bishop supplied his own fireworks with 317 yards and four touchdowns through the air and 73 yards and one touchdown on the ground. The win culminated an 11-1 season for Kansas State, the first 11-win season in the school’s history, with its only loss coming to eventual national champion Nebraska.
Another key to Kansas State’s victory was wide receiver Darnell McDonald, who established Fiesta Bowl records for most receiving yards (206) and longest reception (77 yards for a touchdown), while also tying the Fiesta Bowl record with three touchdown receptions.
Syracuse, behind one of the nation’s most exciting players in quarterback Donovan McNabb, moved the ball on offense but had a hard time putting the ball in the end zone when it got into Kansas State territory. The Orangemen were held to three short field goals by Nathan Trout and had a key turnover late in the game.
Trailing 28-18, Syracuse had the ball at the Kansas State 17-yard line. McNabb took the snap and ran to the left side where he looked to have a clear path to the end zone. But, as he turned the corner, the ball hit off his hip, and Defensive Player of the Game Travis Ochs recovered for Kansas State.
The Wildcats took advantage of the turnover, as they marched down the field and scored on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Bishop to McDonald that put the game out of reach.