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Fiesta Bowl

December 31, 1997

Kansas State (10-1) vs. Syracuse (8-3)

Today, 4 p.m., Channel 2

Site: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.

Series history: First meeting.

Bowl records: Kansas State 2-4, Syracuse 10-6-1.

How teams got there: Kansas State fashioned its best season since 1910. The Wildcats are fourth in the nation in total defense and, in the last game of the season, held Iowa State to zero yards rushing. Balance and consistency got Kansas State through a smooth season. Syracuse, on the other hand, regrouped after a 1-3 start to win its first Big East championship. A big-time quarterback and a varied offense turned the season around. Donovan McNabb passed for 2,488 yards, rushed for 404 and has been the player most responsible for Syracuse's 35-point-per-game scoring average.

The game: It will hinge on the thing coaches carp about--fundamentals. Both teams have shown the ability to seize upon turnovers and score points. Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb is a dynamic leader who must be contained. Should Kansas State get even within shouting range of the end zone, it has the nation's best kicker, Martin Gramatica, who has made 19 of 20 field-goal attempts this season.

KANSAS STATE (10-1)

Northern Illinois: W 47-7

Ohio: W 23-20

Bowling Green: W 58-0

Nebraska: L 56-26

Missouri: W 41-11

Texas A&M: W 36-17

Oklahoma: W 26-7

Texas Tech: W 13-2

Kansas: W 48-16

Colorado: W 37-20

Iowa State: W 28-3

SYRACUSE (9-3)

Wisconsin: W 34-0

North Carolina State: L 32-31 (OT)

Oklahoma: L 36-34

Virginia Tech: L 31-3

Tulane: W 30-19

East Carolina: W 56-0

Rutgers: W 50-3

Temple: W 60-7

West Virginia: W 40-10

Boston College: W 20-13

Pittsburgh: W 32-27

Miami: W 33-13

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