December 4, 2006

Cats to face Rutgers at Texas Bowl

Even before Kansas State accepted its bid to play Rutgers in the Texas Bowl, first-year coach Ron Prince indicated that he admired the Scarlet Knights. Interestingly, once-downtrodden Rutgers aspired to be a program like K-State. Perhaps that best sums up the respect level between the two rebounding programs that will meet Dec. 28 at the Houston Texans' Reliant Stadium.

Behind an impressive turnaround, the Wildcats, 7-5, are back in the postseason for the first time since 2003 and will play in its 12th bowl in 14 years - a feat shared by just nine others in the nation. No other Big 12 coach since 1999 has won more games in his first season than Prince, who inherited a program that finished with back-to-back last-place finishes in the North division and was projected to finish in the cellar again this season.

That wasn't the case, as the Wildcats won three of their final four games to finish tied for second in the North.

Although the Wildcats were the last Big 12 team selected for a bowl, they get to play No. 16 Rutgers. It's an attractive marriage for the Wildcats, who will meet the Scarlet Knights for the first time.

"We made several analogies about the Rutgers program this year and just how with a lot of hard work and smart work and sticking to it how you can develop your team," Prince said. "You can see all of that in what has transpired this year with Rutgers."

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