PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Syracuse felt it was worthy of a New Year's Day bowl. Instead, the 18th-ranked Orangemen got a belated Christmas present in the desert.
James Mungro rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns as Syracuse took advantage of three first-half turnovers to rout Kansas State, 26-3, in the Insight.com Bowl at Bank One Ballpark.
The Orangemen (10-3) reached 10 wins for the fixth time in school history and avenged a loss to Kansas State in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl.
"The fact that Kansas State was favored was an incentive to us," Mungro said. "We just wanted to go out and prove to America that we are a better team. The whole offense was very focused the entire game. We stuck together."
Mungro rumbled 65 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter, then added a pair of one-yard scoring runs in the second period. Syracuse's first three scoring drives took a combined 74 seconds.
Mungro eclipsed the century mark for the seventh time this season and tied Jim Brown's school record for rushing touchdowns in a bowl game. Brown ran for three scores in the 1957 Cotton Bowl.
The Orangemen, who registered just seven first downs, were not content to sit on the ball as R.J. Anderson tossed a 52-yard TD pass to Johnnie Morant with 3:22 left in the fourth quarter.
"I feel very satisfied," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "We played 10 teams with winning records and nine of them went to bowl games. We are only the sixth team in 112 years of Syracuse football to win 10 games."
Syracuse won 10 of its final 11 games following an 0-2 start. However, the one loss during that span was a 59-0 drubbing at top-ranked Miami on November 17, one of the reasons Syracuse was shut out of a New Year's Day bowl.
Kansas State (6-6) was making its ninth straight bowl appearance but managed only Joe Rheem's 29-yard field goal with four minutes left in the opening period.
"We weren't as prepared, and that is my fault," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "We knew they would have everybody in the box, and we couldn't execute."
Linebacker Clifton Smith led Syracuse's defensive effort with 12 tackles, including a sack.
"I think we played very aggressively because we were underdogs," he said. "It was important that we got that 10th win and respect for the Big East."
The Wildcats came into the game averaging 255 rushing yards per game but were held to 33 on 34 attempts. Ell Roberson completed just 2-of-15 passes for 70 yards for Kansas State before giving way to Marc Dunn, who was 12-of-25 for 151 yards.
"Even with playing two quarterbacks, we knew they were a running team," Smith said. "But it's nothing new in terms of our ability to stop the run."
"It's like slot machines," Snyder said of his quarterback change. "You try to find the right combination. We just didn't have any continuity."
Following a punt, Syracuse needed just two plays to take a 7-0 lead on Mungro's 65-yard TD with with 7:38 left in the first period.
The game turned when Kansas State punter Mike Ronsick dropped a snap inside the Wildcats 5. Barry Baker recovered at the 4 and Mungro scored two plays later to give the Orangemen a 14-0 lead 3:21 into the second period.
On Kansas State's next possession, cornerback Willie Ford intercepted Roberson at the Wildcats 43. Anderson hit Morant for a 41-yard reception, setting up Mungro's third TD just 48 seconds later.
"It was a day of big plays and there were three key blocks that made the difference on Mungro's long run," Pasqualoni said.
Kansas State ougained Syracuse, 254 yards to 222, but most of that came in the second half, when the Wildcats were forced to play catchup.
After Mungro's first touchdown, the Wildcats made their only big play -- a 47-yard completion to Aaron Lockett to the Syracuse 36.
Josh Scobey ripped off a 27-yard gain, giving Kansas State 1st-and-goal. But the Wildcats went backwards with two straight penalties and had to settle for a field goal.
"We had the opportunity, but we didn't get it done," Snyder said. "I have to call it a disappointing performance, although I am proud of our defense."
Kansas State had a chance to close within 19-6 at halftime, but Rheem missed a 41-yard field goal with 36 seconds left.
The Wildcats also had a chance to get back in the game on its first possession of the second half, but Roberson fumbled on first down at the Syracuse 30.
"It's frustrating because we had time to prepare and we didn't execute," Lockett said. "We always thought we could come back and we had that long drive at the start of the third period, but couldn't capitalize."
The teams combined for 20 punts, including 11 by Syracuse's Mike Shafer.