Ultimate Battle for Ultimate Destiny: Finals

1996-2014 K-State Football

19 teams. 18 weeks. It all comes down to today’s game. 1998 was the favorite coming in, and they’re here, matched up against what could be one of the most underrated teams of the Snyder era, 2002. Right now… there’s no tomorrow…

You can see all the match ups so far, as well as the methodology, here.
Remember, we run the simulation on whatifsports.com, so if you don’t like the results, fight them.

The Match up

Record11-2 (6-2 Big 12)11-2 (8-0 Big 12)
Head CoachBill SnyderBill Snyder
BowlHoliday (vs Arizona State; W 34-27)Alamo (vs Purdue; L 34-37)
Big 12 Award winners1st Team: Nick Leckey, C; Terence Newman, CB (both)/KR (Coaches); Tank Reese, DT; Terry Pierce, LB.

2nd Team: Darren Sproles, RB; Thomas Barnett, OL; Henry Bryant, DE (Coaches); Andrew Shull, DE (AP); Josh Buhl, LB (AP).

3rd Team (Coaches only): Taco Wallace, WR; Ell Roberson, QB; Andrew Shull, DE; Josh Buhl, LB; Travis Brown, P.

Defensive Player of the Year: Terence Newman
1st Team: Michael Bishop, QB; Ryan Young, OT; Darnell McDonald, WR; Martin Gramatica, PK; David Allen, PR; Jeff Kelly, LB; Darren Howard, DE; Jarrod Cooper, SS; Lamar Chapman, FS (Coaches); Mark Simoneau, LB (AP).

2nd Team: Damion McIntosh, DT (Coaches); Mark Simoneau, LB (Coaches); Lamar Chapman, FS (AP); Travis Ochs, LB (AP).

Defensive Player of the Year: Jeff Kelly
Pre-Tournament Salute Ranking#5#1

Seeding and methodology here

The Game

1st Quarter

Though they were separated by 4 years and shared no players, both the ’98 and ’02 teams were known for dominating defense. So it’s no surprise that the game starts out featuring them. The ’02 team goes 3 and out and then the ’98 team gives up the ball when Justin Swift fumbles his reception on the first play. The ’02 team comes back and starts using all the running backs they have. Ayo Saba picks up a yard, followed by games of 8 and 18 from Darren Sproles. But it’s Daniel Davis that breaks away for the big one, picking up 41 yards and the first touchdown of the game. 2002 leads 7-0.

’98 Snyder, not to be outdone by his slightly older counterpart, starts pounding the ball with Eric Hickson on the next drive. Michael Bishop gets him the ball through the air as well, when the pair connects for a 31 yard gain. Ultimately, however, the drive gets shut down, but not before making it in easy range for Martin Grammatica, who connects from 42 yards. 2002 leads 7-3.

2nd Quarter

Headed into the 2nd quarter the ’98 team was in the midst of a 7 play, 43 yard drive, and Martin Grammatica is good for his 2nd field goal of the game, this time from 33 yards, to cut the deficit to 1. 2002 leads 7-6.

They ’98 team then gets the ball back after holding ’02 to a 3 and out. Starting from their own 37 yard line Hickson picks up a couple yards on back to back plays before Michael Bishop does Michael Bishop things, scrambling for a gain of 11 yards on 3rd down. On the next play Eric Hickson breaks lose and no one can run him down from behind. He goes 49 yards for the touchdown and his team’s first lead of the game. 1998 leads 13-7.

That lead doesn’t last long, though. Don’t forget that incredible stable of running backs on the ’02 team. Sproles goes for 20 yards, and then later in the drive Victor Mann powers through the line and and scores from 36 yards out. 2002 leads 14-13.

The next time 2002 gets the ball back they pick up right where they left off. Sproles picks up 22 yards on a second down rush. Later on 3rd and 13 Ell Roberson connects with Taco Wallace for 16 yards to extend the drive. Ultimately on 4th and goal from the 2, ’02 Bill Snyder knows he has to take advantage of any opportunity the ’98 defense gives him. He hands it off to Sproles who breaks through for the touchdown. 2002 leads 21-13.

With just 40 seconds left in the half the ’98 team takes over and knows they need to work fast. And like the explosive offense that they are, they take care of it on just one play. Bishop throws to Justin Swift who gets behind the defense and goes 67 yards for the touchdown. 2002 leads 21-20 at the half.

3rd Quarter

We’re back to the dominant defenses in the 2nd half. On the opening drive Eric Hickson picks up 13 yards to open the half, they’re forced to punt right after. The 3rd quarter goes on like this for both teams. Neither able to take advantage of the other team’s stifling defense. The ’02 team is the only one that even gets within field goal range in the quarter, but Joe Rheem misses the 50 yard attempt wide right. As the quarter comes to a close the ’98 team is driving, having just picked up 20 yards on a pass from Bishop to Gavin Peries. They’ll start the 4th from the 36 yard line.

4th Quarter

After the start of the 4th quarter the ’98 team picks up another big gain on a pass from Bishop to Darnell McDonald. That sets up a 33 yard field goal attempt, and Martin Grammatica isn’t going to miss that. 1998 leads 23-21.

With 3:38 left in the game the 2002 team needs to get back on the board. A drive that started on the 33 yard line, with runs of 12 and 14 yards by Sproles stalls out on the 36. Joe Rheem is in to take back the lead, but misses wide right from 53 yards out.

After passes complete from Bishop to Peries, Aaron Lockett, Swift, and McDonald the ’02 team is out of timeouts, and Bishop goes into the victory formation… officially the greatest team in K-State history.


Score by Quarters  Score 
2002 7 14 21
1998 3 17 23

Player of the Game

tempMichael Bishop
’98 Quarterback
12/14, 269 yards, 1 TDs, 0 INTs
18 carries, 36 yards

Leading rusher
’02 Daniel Davis
7 attempts, 126 yards, 1 TD

Leading receiver
’98 Justin Swift
3 receptions, 111 yards, 1 TD

The Final Bracket


ultimate bracket


About The Author

Founder & Chief Saluter

Mike is a '00 graduate of Kansas State University and holds season tickets for Football and Men's & Women's Basketball. He lives in Kansas City, but stays loyal to his Chicago sports (Bulls & Bears & Hawks & Sox). He's a social media marketer by day and dreams in purple at night.

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