MIAMI -- A determined defensive effort and an efficient offensive showing were not only enough for the Kansas State Wildcats to beat the Miami Hurricanes 28-24 on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium, they were enough to make Coach Bill Snyder proud.
With less than a minute remaining and the Hurricanes facing a fourth-and-goal at the 1, sophomore linebacker Tre Walker tackled Miami quarterback Jacory Harris in the open field to secure the K-State victory. Harris rolled left looking for a receiver and by the time he realized his receivers were covered and decided to run, Walker was closing fast, pulling the senior quarterback down at the 1 and just short of a Miami victory after withstanding a first-and-goal from the 2 for the Hurricanes.
"It showed a lot of courage for a football team, our defense," K-State coach Bill Snyder said after the Wildcats moved to 3-0 on the season. "I'm proud of them for a variety of reasons; it's not just that play. To have that stand down there was really special."
Meanwhile on offense, K-State quarterback Collin Klein was efficient in leading the Cats, completing 12 of 18 passes for 133 yards, but also running for 93 yards on 22 carries. Miami's ongoing focus on Klein also helped sophomore running back John Hubert bust loose for a career-high 166 yards on 18 carries.
K-State gained a season-high 398 yards of total offense, including 265 on the ground.
"It really was a team effort," Klein said. "Our offensive line hung in there down the stretch and played an extremely physical Miami team. John Hubert stepped up and had great production. Miami is a great defense, and the coaches did a great job to put us in a position to succeed."
Succeed the Wildcat offense did, converting all four of its trips into the red zone into touchdowns. Coming into the game, Miami had surrendered just one score in nine opponent trips into the red zone. K-State also converted a critical nine of 15 third downs into first downs.
"We knew their gameplan coming in," Miami coach Al Golden said. "Collin Klein made some tremendous plays. We let them convert too many third downs and that kept them the ball. We have to stop them and give our offense more opportunities to have the ball."
Coming out for the second half with a 14-3 lead and the first possession of the half, K-State faced an opportunity to bolster its lead and it looked as if the Wildcats may get it done, but a 46-yard field goal attempt by Anthony Cantele was partially blocked and fell short.
Miami's offense then sprang to life.
Harris led the Hurricanes on a six-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a 40-yard touchdown pass to cut the K-State lead to 14-10.
The Wildcats responded with their own long drive, covering 83 yards on eight plays. Klein's jump pass from the 3 was pulled in by tight end Travis Tannahill to put the Wildcats back ahead by 11, 21-10, with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter.
Miami quickly answered with a 59-yard run by Lamar Miller to cut the K-State lead to 24-17 and then with 14:17 remaining in the game, Harris connected with Travis Benjamin for a 36-yard touchdown pass that put Miami on top, 24-21.
"Jacory Harris is a great quarterback," Snyder said. "You're not the number three all-time passing leader in Miami history and not be pretty good. He gave us some trouble."
K-State wasn't done, however, as Hubert broke loose for a 47-yard run that propelled K-State on an eight-play, 80-yard drive that handed the Wildcats a 28-24 advantage with 10 minutes remaining.
The game was offering no indication that the scoring was complete, but thanks to K-State's defense strengthening its resolve and making the game-saving play at the end, the score would stay unchanged.
"Miami is a great team," said K-State linebacker Arthur Brown, who played his first two college seasons at UM before transferring home to K-State. "I give them a lot of credit and have a lot of respect for them, as I do my team. I'm just really excited and really proud of them for holding it together."
Miami started the game with a big play in special teams as Benjamin returned the opening kickoff 41 yards to the UM 45. The Hurricanes immediately began driving into K-State's territory, but a false start penalty on a third-and-1 at the KSU 17 helped stall the drive. Miami's Jake Wieclaw then drilled a 39-yard field goal to give UM a 3-0 lead.
K-State, with Klein coolly in control, answered right back. The junior quarterback completed all four of his pass attempts on an 11-play, 63-yard drive that was capped by Klein bulling his way into the end zone from two yards out, putting K-State up 7-3 with 5:15 left in the fist quarter.
Miami got the ball back and drove right back into K-State's half of the field, but when the Hurricanes lined up to try to convert a fourth-and-4 from the 37, another false start penalty hurt UM, forcing a punt.
K-State took over its 20 and Klein proved masterful on a seven-play touchdown drive. Klein tossed a pass to tight end Andre McDonald, and the 6-foot-8 sophomore ran roughshod through the UM secondary, breaking a series of tackles on a 34-yard game to the Miami 46.
Later in the drive, Klein darted 18 yards to the UM 20, but back-to-back incomplete passes left the Wildcats in a third-and-10 at the UM 20. Miami dropped into zone coverage, but Klein perfectly threaded a pass to freshman Tyler Lockett at the front of the end zone for his first career touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 14-3 lead they would take to halftime.
K-State now opens Big 12 play by returning home next Saturday to play Baylor in a 2:30 p.m. game on ABC.