Ben Hartman kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give East Carolina a 41-38 victory over No. 24 Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl...

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HONOLULU — Ben Hartman kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give East Carolina a 41-38 victory over No. 24 Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl on Sunday 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 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 the game 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 the score at 38 with 1:25 remaining.

“I let my team down,” Johnson said. “But when I got back to the sideline, they told me they had my back and they loved me.”

The Pirates took possession at their 39 with 1:16 to play 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 team’s locker room at Aloha Stadium.

The Broncos (10-3), making their sixth consecutive bowl appearance, almost repeated their last-minute magic from last season — when they stunned Oklahoma in overtime in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 13-0.

But this time, it was the Broncos who fell a bit short. Ian Johnson, one of the Fiesta Bowl standouts, was bothered by a sprained left ankle and finished the Hawaii Bowl with 11 yards on four carries.

It was Chris Johnson who stole the show. He was named the game’s most valuable player for the Pirates. He scored two first-half touchdowns, on a 68-yard run and an 18-yard pass from Patrick Pinkney.

“I wanted to come out here and show the country that I am the best back in the country,” Chris Johnson said.

Jeremy Avery, who rushed for 68 yards, was named Boise State’s MVP.

Taylor Tharp was 30 of 44 for 270 yards and two touchdowns for the Broncos. Two of his passes were intercepted.

Pinkney threw for 118 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 touchdown run.

D.J. Harper’s 1-yard TD plunge cut East Carolina’s lead to 38-31 with 7:09 left.

Much of the crowd of 30,467 was headed out of the stadium after Titus Young fumbled the ball, setting up the Pirates at their 39 with 1:45 left.

But East Carolina’s Johnson couldn’t hang on to the ball as he struggled to gain additional yardage.

The usually explosive Broncos, who were 10-½-point favorites, looked rusty and somewhat unprepared in the first half. They went three-and-out on their first four possessions.

“It was weird for us to start slow,” Tharp said.

“I think it was a combination of not being ready to go and missed assignments.”


• The previous record for all-purpose bowl yardage was held by Alabama’s Sherman Williams, who had 359 against Ohio State in the 1995 Citrus Bowl.

• Boise State was without its top receiver, Jeremy Childs, who didn’t make the trip because he allegedly violated team rules.