MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bijan Nichols kicked a 23-yard field goal with two seconds remaining and No. 21 Navy capitalized on a fourth-down gamble in the final minute to beat Kansas State 20-17 in the Liberty Bowl on Tuesday.

A Navy team with the nation’s top-ranked rushing attack set up the winning score by completing a halfback option pass with less than 30 seconds left. The Midshipmen snapped the ball on fourth-and-3 from the Kansas State 46. Quarterback Malcolm Perry pitched to C.J. Williams, who threw downfield to a wide-open Chance Warren for a 41-yard gain.

“Sometimes you just go with your gut,” Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “You have all this analytics stuff and all these sheets, but sometimes you’ve got to go with your gut and roll with it.”

Perry, who rushed for 213 yards, spiked the ball with 5 seconds left to set up Nichols’ field goal. Nichols had missed a 38-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter.

The victory enabled Navy (11-2) to tie a program record for wins and ensured the Midshipmen will finish a season in the AP Top 25 for just the third time in the last 56 years. Navy finished 18th in 2015 – when it also won 11 games – and was 24th in 2004.

After going 3-10 last year, Navy matched the second-biggest season-to-season improvement in wins in Football Bowl Subdivision history. Hawaii owns the record by going 9-4 in 1999 after finishing 0-12 in 1998.

BELK BOWL: Lynn Bowden Jr. ran for 223 yards on 34 carries, and then tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Ali with 15 seconds left as Kentucky rallied behind its remarkable receiver-turned-quarterback to beat Virginia Tech 37-30 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bowden ran for two touchdowns before leading an 18-play, 85-yard drive that took more than eight minutes off the clock. Bowden, who took over as Kentucky’s quarterback after five games because of injuries, carried 13 times on the winning drive, converting a fourth down along the way.

The Wildcats (8-5) added a final touchdown as time expired when Jordan Wright returned a failed lateral attempt by the Hokies 28 yards for a touchdown.

Hendon Hooker passed for two touchdowns and Deshawn McClease ran for 126 yards and a score to lead the Hokies (8-5).

SUN BOWL: Willie Harts returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to lead Arizona State (8-5) to a 20-14 victory against Florida State (6-7) in El Paso, Texas.

Cristian Zendejas kicked four field goals for Arizona State, including a 34-yarder in the fourth quarter to cut Florida State’s lead to 14-12.

Then James Blackman’s fourth interception of the game was returned by Harts to put the Sun Devils ahead for good with 10:06 remaining.

James Blackman threw a 91-yard touchdown pass, the longest pass play in Sun Bowl history, to Tamorrion Terry to give Florida State its first lead, 14-9, in the third quarter. The Seminoles trailed 9-0 at halftime.

ARIZONA BOWL: Xazavian Valladay ran for 204 yards and scored two touchdowns, quarterback Levi Williams accounted for four scores, and Wyoming (8-5) rolled to a 38-17 win over Georgia State (7-6) in Tucson, Arizona.

Williams, a freshman making his first career start, threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

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