HONOLULU - Ben Hartman kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give East Carolina a 41-38 win over No. 24 Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl last night.
Chris Johnson set an NCAA bowl record with 408 all-purpose yards for the Pirates (8-5), who won their first postseason game since the 2000 Galleryfurniture.com Bowl.
Johnson rushed for 223 yards, caught three passes for 32 yards, and returned six kickoffs for 153 yards. But he committed a costly fumble late that almost sent it to overtime.
With East Carolina trying to run out the clock near midfield, Marty Tadman scooped up Johnson's fumble and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 38 with 1 minute, 25 seconds left.
The Pirates took possession at their 39 with 1:16 left and drove to the Broncos' 17 to set up Hartman's kick.
The Pirates stormed the field in celebration and chased after Hartman, who dashed toward the locker room.
The Broncos (10-3), making their sixth straight bowl appearance, almost repeated their last-minute magic from a year ago when they stunned Oklahoma in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 13-0.
But this time, it was the Broncos who fell a little short without any trick plays and an ailing Ian Johnson.
Johnson, nursing a sprained left ankle, carried the ball just once for 1 yard in the first quarter and finished with 11 yards on four carries.
It was Chris Johnson who stole the show.
He was named the most valuable player for the Pirates. Jeremy Avery, who rushed for 68 yards and caught four passes for 43 yards was named Boise State's MVP.
Taylor Tharp was 30 of 44 for 266 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for Boise State.
Patrick Pinkney threw for 117 yards and also rushed for 53 more for East Carolina.
The Pirates appeared to have the game in hand when they took a 38-14 lead early in the third quarter on Brandon Simmons' 3-yard TD run. The Broncos, however, hung in and reeled off 24 straight points.
Boise State was without its top receiver, Jeremy Childs, who didn't make the trip for violating team rules.