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December 9, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
The Wildcats are headed south to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
The game is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, Dec. 28, and K-State will face the Big Ten's Michigan Wolverines (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten).
The fourth consecutive bowl game for the Wildcats, head coach Bill Snyder said he is proud to represent the Big 12 Conference in another bowl game and ready to see the K-State faithful again in Tempe.
"It gives the wonderful fan base that we have an opportunity to vacation in warm weather," said Snyder last night. "We travel very, very well, and for so many this is their vacation; I take that to heart."
Last January, the 11-2 Big 12 Champions took on Oregon in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix. Though the Wildcats were unable to come home with a win, K-State fans painted Phoenix purple as they continued to showcase their support and national reputation for traveling to bowls.
Over 23,000 fans showed up for the Fiesta Bowl Pep Rally on Jan. 3 in the Chase Field, and more than 35,000 fans attended the game.
The Wildcats are currently 1-1 at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly the Copper Bowl and Insight.com Bowl), and in 1993, the K-State football celebrated the school's first-ever bowl victory with a 52-17 win over Wyoming.
Even back then, two decades ago, K-State fans knew how to travel.
It was Snyder's fourth year as head coach of the K-State football program, and after leading the team to a 9-2-1 finish, he looks back to that season, and that bowl victory, very fondly.
"It was a tremendous ballgame, but the most significant thing was that we took 22,000 people to the Copper Bowl coming off a period in time when you couldn't get 22,000 people in the stands at the stadium for ballgames," Snyder said, "and that was special and significant. We had a pep rally there at a hotel that couldn't house as many people as we were; we had over 5000 people at the pep rally. That was an exciting period for time for me and for our players. It was one of my favorite periods of time."
In his 22 years as head coach, Snyder has led his team to 14 bowl games and is no stranger to the Phoenix area. Including K-State's three Fiesta Bowl appearances under Snyder (1997, 2004 and 2013) he has been to Arizona for a bowl game five times.
"It's an honor, and we're proud to be selected for this bowl game," said Snyder. "We have had so many opportunities to be in Phoenix with this bowl game and the Fiesta Bowl as well on numerous occasions, and we just have a great appreciation for the people there who have always treated us in a very first class manner. So we appreciate the opportunity to be back, it's an honor to be chosen."
The Wolverines are coming off of a tight 42-41 loss to Ohio State on Nov. 30. Quite the opposite of the season the Wildcats faced, Michigan started the year strong with a 5-0 record before finishing 2013 2-5 down the stretch.
K-State was able to turn around a difficult 2-4 start with a 5-1 finish, among the best season turnarounds in Big 12 history.
Going into the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, though, those are only numbers, as both teams finished the season at 7-5 and fifth in their respective conferences.
"I think what you do is you emphasize why you didn't win the games that you felt you should have won and you make sure during these bowl practices that you emphasize that and you don't allow that to happen again," said Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison last night. "Coach Snyder is a tremendous football coached and (K-State) will always be very, very well coached, which they are. To win five of the last six games and average 35 points per game, you know their offense has the ability to score on anybody."
Tickets for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl are available through the K-State Athletics Ticket office. K-Staters are offered some of the best seats in Sun Devil Stadium and can click here for more purchasing options or call 1-800-221-CATS (2287).
"On behalf of President Schulz, Coach Snyder, our football program and all of Wildcat Nation, we are thrilled to be heading back to Arizona and representing the Big 12 Conference in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl," said K-State Athletics Director John Currie. "The chance for our university and football brands to be showcased nationally on ESPN against a terrific program and brand in Michigan is a tremendous opportunity, and the experience our student-athletes, band members, cheerleaders and fans will have in Tempe will be world-class."