As news spread Friday that Kansas State had accepted an invitation to play in the Pinstripe Bowl, imaginations ran wild.
Playing against Syracuse on Dec. 30 in the inaugural postseason game at Yankee Stadium will give Aubrey Quarles the chance to visit New York for the first time. It means Carson Coffman will get to see, and play in, an iconic venue he has dreamed about touring.
And it means Bill Snyder will get to conduct practice for the next four weeks.
Oh, the possibilities.
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"I am really excited," Coffman said. "When I found out that we had an opportunity to go to this bowl, that is the one I wanted to go to. I am excited that we got it.”
Added Snyder: "It is going to be a tremendous experience."
The Wildcats certainly hope so. After going 7-5 this season, they will play in their first bowl game since qualifying for the Texas Bowl in 2006.
This trip may be more difficult for K-State fans to make than that one was, but what New York lacks in accessibility the Pinstripe Bowl hopes to make up for in glamour.
"We're very excited to have the opportunity to play in this bowl game on a national stage," said K-State athletic director John Currie. "New York is one of the biggest stages in the world, and it will be a world-class experience."
Currie said the K-State band will have the opportunity to play and be featured on a national morning show before the game, and the school's alumni association is already planning several other pregame activities.
The university began selling tickets Friday afternoon, and they can be purchased at Bramlage Coliseum’s ticket office, which opens at 8:30 Monday morning, or online through K-State’s athletics web site. Travel packages to the bowl can be purchased through the alumni association.
The Pinstripe Bowl allotted K-State 2,300 tickets. Currie said the initial fan feedback was strong enough that the university has already secured extra tickets to meet demand.
"The tickets we have in our institutional allotment are all excellent seats, and that's good," Currie said. "A lot of times in bowl games . . . are all in the end zones. Not these. These are great seats.
"We'll have a great representation in New York City. If you look at the history of our bowl attendance, we've always had great representation. Some of the games that were further away, maybe not quite so many people went. But we're a national university. . . . We have thousands and thousands of alumni on the East Coast that will enjoy a home game, so to speak."
For K-State players, it will be a chance to play in a new setting and in front of ESPN cameras with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff time.
Syracuse, which will represent the Big East after a 7-5 season, has met K-State twice before in bowl games. The Wildcats defeated the Orange in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl and lost to Syracuse the 2001 Insight.com Bowl. K-State enjoyed big fan advantages in those games. Syracuse will likely have a crowd advantage this time, with its campus just a four-hour drive from Yankee Stadium.
"I am really out there to put on the Wildcat helmet one last time,” Quarles said, “and go about my business and try to get the win.”
KSU QB signee leads Blinn to bowl — Before he suits up at quarterback for Kansas State next season, Justin Tuggle will first lead Blinn (Texas) Junior College in a bowl game.
After helping his team average 44.9 points and 422.3 yards of offense on its way to a 7-3 record, the sophomore will take the field today against Arizona Western in the Heart of Texas Bowl.
A dual-threat quarterback, Tuggle has completed 132 of 241 passes for 1,855 yards with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. On the ground, he has 623 yards and 11 touchdowns on 109 carries.
Tuggle, 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, began his career at Boston College, will have two years of eligibility at Kansas State and is expected to compete immediately for playing time.
Kansas State vs. Syracuse
When: 2:30 p.m., Dec. 30
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York
Records: KSU 7-5, SU 7-5
Radio: KLIO, 1070-AM, KWLS, 107.9-FM
TV: ESPN, Ch. 32
Tickets: Available at the Bramlage Coliseum ticket office, or online at k-statesports.com.