Alex Delton Brilliant as Kansas State Routs UCLA in Cactus Bowl

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2017

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Alex Delton #5 of the Kansas State Wildcats avoids a tackle from defensive lineman Marcus Moore #95 of the UCLA Bruins in the second half of the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field on December 26, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Quarterback Alex Delton and the Kansas State Wildcats ran roughshod over the UCLA Bruins en route to a 35-17 Cactus Bowl win at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats, who were matched up against a UCLA side that lacked firepower with quarterback Josh Rosen sidelined because of concussion concerns, gashed the Bruins' 129th-ranked run defense to the tune of 344 yards and four touchdowns.

According to ESPN.com's Kyle Bonagura, UCLA finished the season by allowing five separate opponents to rush for at least 300 yards. By comparison, he noted only two Power Five conference teams (Washington State in 2008 and Texas Tech in 2015) had allowed more games of at least 300 yards rushing in a season dating back to 2004.

All told, Kansas State averaged 7.0 yards per carry while completing a mere 10 passes.

And while he didn't light it up through the air, Delton ran circles around the Bruins' front seven and finished with 20 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns, including a 68-yard scoring scamper in the first quarter.

Sophomore running back Alex Barnes tacked on 12 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown.

The Bruins, meanwhile, mustered 69 rushing yards and couldn't consistently expose the Wildcats' 129th-ranked passing defense despite some flashes of brilliance from freshman Devon Modster.

A former 247Sports 4-star recruit, Modster made an early bid for the starting job under new head coach Chip Kelly in 2018 by completing 21 of 34 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns, as ESPN's Jen Lada noted:

The first score was a 52-yard catch-and-run by junior Jordan Lasley, while the second was a 70-yard strike to Theo Howard that blew the top off the Kansas State secondary.

Modster's pair of timely tosses had the Bruins up 17-7 at the break, but the Wildcats responded by ripping off 28 unanswered points and dominating time of possession throughout the second half to secure consecutive bowl wins for the first time since 1999-2000.

SB Nation's Spencer Hall highlighted the demoralizing fourth-quarter drive that sent the Bruins packing:

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is now 9-10 all-time in bowl games, while UCLA is still searching for its first postseason win since the 2014 Alamo Bowl.

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