Texas Bowl - Great Fit for the Wildcats

When the invitations rolled out for the first inaugural Texas Bowl - Kansas State was asked to attend and the Cats could not be happier. The Wildcats will play Rutgers deep in the heart of recruiting country in a state of the art facility at Reliant Stadium - Houston we do not have a Problem!


Nope, not San Antonio, or Phoenix, or El Paso.

Heck, not even Shreveport.

No, Kansas State is going to Houston on Dec. 28, to play in the inaugural Texas Bowl (7 p.m. kick-off) against the No. 16-ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

"We're surprised only in that most of our conversations had taken place with the Alamo and Insight Bowls," said Kansas State athletics director Tim Weiser. "But it's hard to think of any other terms than excitement. Many predicted Kansas State last in the Big 12 North, and we had a first-year coach who was following a legend in Bill Snyder. To be able to take a team into the postseason is pretty pleasing."

Weiser added, "It's delightful to be back in the bowl business after setting out a couple years. I think we all have a greater appreciation of how difficult it is to get to a bowl game now."

Prior to the 2005 and 2004 seasons, Kansas State had been involved in postseason play for 11 consecutive years under Snyder.

In his first year on the job, Ron Prince guided the Wildcats to a 7-5 season, and now with a chance for an eighth victory.

The Wildcat coach said he was "thrilled" to have his team in the Texas Bowl, with the game played in Houston's Reliant Stadium against one of the Cinderella teams of the 2006 seasons.

"Who the opponent is, is the most exciting thing about any of these bowls," said Prince, who added that he was familiar with the Scarlet Knights from his coaching days at Virginia. "We're playing one of the best teams in the country."

Thrilled with the Kansas State versus Rutgers match-up was Texas Bowl President David Brady.

"We're just giddy. I can't begin to tell you how excited we are," Brady said.

Brady called both programs as "ones on the rise," and mentioned that both are coming to Houston with "signature wins" as K-State defeated No. 4 Texas and Rutgers upset No. 8 Louisville.

Rutgers is 10-2, which includes a triple-overtime 41-39 loss to West Virginia this past Saturday. The Scarlet Knights only other slip-up was to Cincinnati (30-11), which came the week after Rutgers stunned then No. 8 ranked Louisville, 28-25.

"I'm not going to fib to you. It was a pretty somber meeting," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said during a late-afternoon teleconference call on Sunday. "But it's my job to get us out of that funk and get us going again. After meeting with our seniors, I think we'll be fine. It's another opportunity for this program to take a step."

In 137 years of college football, this will be Rutgers first back-to-back trip into postseason play as the Scarlet Knight lost a 48-45 contest to Arizona State in the 2005 Insight Bowl.

Rutgers features a pounding running back in sophomore Ray Rice, who averages 5.2 yards per carry, 135.3 yards per game and has scored 19 touchdowns.

Mike Teel quarterbacks the Scarlet Knights passing for 155 yards per game with a 55 percent completion rate. He has thrown 13 interceptions to just 10 touchdowns.

Rutgers' defense allows only 14.7 points and 260 yards per game.

"We're going to have to make sure we play our best football of the year," Prince said. "They can run the ball as well as anybody. Rice is just a terrific runner. They have terrific coaches and they play terrific defense. Their head coach is a defensive coordinator by trade, and that comes across. They play a very aggressive style of football."

As of Sunday afternoon, Schiano said he knew little of Prince or this year's KSU team. He said he had watched the Louisville game on tape and watched the second half of the Texas game on television.

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