MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – K-State Nation is once again headed to Texas for the postseason as Kansas State officials announced Sunday that the Wildcats have accepted an invitation to play in the TaxAct Texas Bowl inside NRG Stadium. The game will take place on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at 8 p.m. and will air on ESPN. K-State’s SEC opponent for the Texas Bowl will be announced later on Sunday.
It will be the third time in school history the Wildcats will play in the Texas Bowl. K-State played in the inaugural game against Rutgers in 2006, while it topped Texas A&M, 33-28, in 2016. This year will mark the eighth time in 23 bowl appearances that the Wildcats will play a bowl game in the state of Texas, which is home to many K-State alumni. It will be the eighth time in school history that K-State will play in the month of January and the first since the end of the 2015 season.
“We are pleased to accept an invitation to play in the Texas Bowl,” said K-State head coach Chris Klieman, the first head coach in school history to lead his team to two bowl games in his first three seasons. “I am really proud of our team, especially our seniors, and our staff for their dedication throughout the season and display of our four core values – Discipline, Commitment, Toughness and Be Selfless. The story of the 2021 Wildcats still has one chapter to write, and we look forward to kick off the new year in Houston and prepare for what will be an exciting Texas Bowl.”
The Wildcats (7-5) are among the nation’s leaders in bowl appearances since 1993 as they are tied for 18th nationally and rank fourth in the Big 12 with 22. K-State will also be one of just 25 Power 5 teams to play in a bowl game at least 10 times in the last 12 years. The Wildcats are back on the bowl scene after a one-year hiatus in 2020 in which they were bowl eligible but unable to field enough players due to COVID-19. K-State has won two of its last three bowls and will be looking for three bowl wins in a four-game stretch since 1999-2002.
“We are excited to be back in a bowl game, and congratulations to Coach Klieman and our football team on a great regular season,” said Athletics Director Gene Taylor. “We look forward to showcasing our football program and Kansas State University in the Texas Bowl, and I know our fans – especially our alumni in Texas – are excited to show their outstanding support in Houston while our football student-athletes, coaches and staff are provided a great experience.”
Kansas State raced out to a 3-0 start in 2021, highlighted by a season-opening 24-7 win over Stanford at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in addition to an impressive 38-17 victory against Nevada, which finished the year with an 8-4 record and boasts a potential first-round NFL Draft pick at quarterback. Big 12 play began with three losses against teams that were either ranked in the top-25 at the time or were a preseason top-25 team.
However, K-State was able to right the ship and rattle off four-straight wins, its second-straight season with a four-game winning streak in conference play. The streak began with a gusty 25-24 victory at Texas Tech, a game in which K-State trailed, 24-10, at halftime before pitching a second-half shutout against a Red Raider team that eventually reached the postseason. The Wildcats then came home and throttled TCU, 31-12, as they limited an explosive Horned Frog team that averaged 34.3 points per game entering the contest.
Kansas State opened the month of November by winning its 13th-straight game against Kansas to retain the Governor’s Cup. The 13-straight wins over KU is tied for the fourth-longest active streak by a team against any one opponent in a series that has been contested each year since at least 2009. K-State then turned around and topped West Virginia – another bowl team this season – 34-17 as the Wildcats snapped a five-game losing streak to the Mountaineers.
The Wildcats will enter the TaxAct Texas Bowl on a two-game slide, dropping the final two regular-season games by two or less scores. The Wildcats held a potent Baylor offense – which led the Bears to a Big 12 Championship and a berth into the Sugar Bowl – to just 20 points after averaging 35.4 points per game entering the contest, as K-State fell, 20-10. The Cats then lost at Texas, 22-17, on a short turnaround as they played the day after Thanksgiving.
Tickets in the official K-State sections are available now online at www.kstatesports.com/bowlgame and via phone at 1-800-221-Cats until 5 p.m., Sunday and beginning again at 8:30 a.m., on Monday. All tickets in the official K-State sections are priced by the bowl at $123.75. All Ahearn Fund members and fans who pre-ordered tickets will receive communication with information regarding their requests by the end of the day on Sunday.
The K-State Alumni Association will also provide official travel packages to the bowl game. Visit the Alumni Association’s official bowl travel page – www.k-statesportstours.com – for travel package information.