** # 16 RUTGERS AND KANSAS STATE TO SQUARE OFF IN INAUGURAL TEXAS BOWL
HOUSTON – **The inaugural Texas Bowl will feature a matchup between 16 th ranked Rutgers and Kansas State, it was announced today. It will be the first ever meeting on the football field between the two schools.
The 2006 Texas Bowl will be televised live nationally on NFL Network at 7 p.m. CST on Thursday, December 28, 2006 at Reliant Stadium. The Texas Bowl held the third selection among BIG EAST affiliated bowls and the eighth slot among Big 12-affiliated bowls.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-2, 5-2 Big East) finished tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference, and are coming off a 41-39 triple-overtime loss to West Virginia last night. The loss denied the Scarlet Knights their first-ever BCS berth and allowed Louisville to gain the automatic bid. Rutgers will come into the inaugural Texas Bowl ranked 16 th in the Associated Press poll, and are led by The Home Depot Coach of the Year Greg Schiano, who guided his squad to the school's best season since they posted an 11-0 mark in 1976. Rutgers had been in contention all season long for the Big East Conference title after racing out to a 9-0 start, including a 28-25 victory over then third-ranked Louisville on November 9. The Scarlet Knights will be playing in their second consecutive bowl following the 2005 Insight Bowl – which was their first bowl appearance in 26 years.
Kansas State has posted a 7-5 overall mark this year, with a 4-4 Big 12 record. First-year Head Coach Ron Prince led the Wildcats to a stunning 45-42 upset of then fourth-ranked Texas back on November 11. The Wildcats are led by a pair of freshman sensations: Quarterback Josh Freeman finished the 2006 regular season with 1,651 yards passing - the 16th-most in K-State single-season history and the most ever by a Kansas State freshman. Running back Leon Patton set the K-State freshman rushing record during the regular season with 595 yards on 100 attempts (5.6 average), and led all freshman in the Big 12 with 976 all-purpose yards. He also set the K-State single-game record for rushing yards by a true freshman with 151 vs. Oklahoma State and the school's single-game all-purpose record.
Prior to the teams being announced over 35,000 tickets had been sold for the Texas Bowl. Tickets can be purchased at Reliant Stadium, through Ticketmaster or online at www.texasbowl.org. Fans purchasing seats through the presale, on-line and via phone (866.GO.TEXANS) receive the first right to renew their seats in future seasons.
Fans traveling to Houston for the Texas Bowl can find all information about the city of Houston including special hotel deals at www.visithoustontexas.com.
The license for the Texas Bowl was awarded by the NCAA to Houston on June 28, 2006. Lone Star Sports & Entertainment has been leading the effort to launch the game and has established a clear vision to create an annual celebration of the culture, heritage and football tradition of the Lone Star State. Recently, the Bowl has announced its board of directors, selected DePelchin Children's Centers as its charitable beneficiary, and secured local and national radio partnerships with ClearChannel and Westwood One, respectively. The Bowl also has a regional television broadcasting relationship with Fox Sports Network Southwest (FSN).