Kansas Accepts Bid to Fort Worth Bowl

Dec. 4, 2005

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — For the second time in three years, the University of Kansas (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) football team will participate in the postseason as the Jayhawks have accepted an offer to play Houston (6-5, 4-4 Conference USA) in the 2005 Fort Worth Bowl. The game will be played at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 23rd at 7 p.m (CST). Kansas and Houston are meeting for the third-time ever with KU winning the 1994 and 1995 games. The contest will be televised nationally by ESPN.

The two teams combined to win eight of their last 12 games of the regular-season. Both schools finished the season strong as Mark Mangino’s Jayhawks won three of their last four games, including back-to-back victories over bowl-bound Missouri (13-3) and Nebraska (40-15). The Nebraska victory snapped a 36-game losing streak against the Cornhuskers as Kansas won for the first-time in the series since 1968. Kansas is the first Big 12 Conference representative in the third annual Fort Worth Bowl.

Fort Worth Bowl III will be Kansas’ 10th bowl appearance as the Jayhawks will be visiting Amon Carter for the 12th-time, but the first-time since 1996 when Glen Mason’s final KU team posted a 52-17 win over TCU. The Jayhawks have played two bowl games in the state of Texas — the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl vs. Rice and the 1975 Sun Bowl vs. Pittsburgh.


Tickets to the event cost $40 apiece and can be purchased by calling the Kansas ticket office at 800-34-HAWKS or by visiting the KU website by clicking here. In addition, Fort Worth Bowl “Family Packs” are available for $60 and include two adult tickets and two children tickets. Family Packs are only available by calling the Fort Worth Bowl office at 817/810-0012 (The KU ticket office can not sell these packages). Fans can also select seats on-line via the game’s website at www.fwbowl.com.

Both teams will be making their first bowl appearance since 2003 after each school finished the regular-season with 6-5 records. Both universities closed out the 2005 regular-season with victories to qualify for the college bowl scene, as Kansas upset No. 25 Iowa State 24-21 in overtime at Lawrence to derail the Cyclones’ bid for the Big 12 North title. Houston defeated cross-town rivals Rice 35-18 at home in its season finale.

Highlighting Houston’s 5-3 record down the stretch was a 30-23 victory at Tulsa, which captured the Conference USA championship this past Saturday in Orlando by defeating Central Florida 44-27. Art Briles’ Cougars opened the season with a 38-24 loss at home to 10-1 Oregon and posted a BCS road win at Mississippi State 28-16.

Houston has a 7-7-1 bowl record, including a 4-4-1 post-season mark in Texas post-season games. Houston played in the Bluebonnet and Cotton Bowls four times each along with the 1981 Sun Bowl. As for Amon G. Carter Stadium appearances, the Cougars are 6-6 after losing 34-27 to former Conference USA rival TCU in 2004.

Kansas’ offense is led by running backs junior Jon Cornish (679 yards, nine touchdowns) and senior Clark Green (641 yards, two touchdowns), who have combined for 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Jayhawks gained 2,008 yards passing this season behind senior quarterbacks Brian Luke (934, yards, six touchdowns, eight games) and Jason Swanson (918 yards, three touchdowns, five games). Receiving leaders are senior Mark Simmons (39 catches for 554 yards and three scores) and junior Brian Murph (29 catches, 290 yards, one touchdown).

Junior quarterback Kevin Kolb, the No. 7 active NCAA passer, senior running back Ryan Gilbert and senior wide receiver Vincent Marshall are the Cougar leaders. Kolb has passed for 3,034 yards and 19 scores this season to rank third on the Cougar’s all-time career lists (8,941 and 55 TDs). Gilbert rushed for 1,030 yards and nine scores this season and Marshall caught 69 passes in 2005 for 927 yards and six scores.

Mangino and Briles will join legendary Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer as featured speakers at the noon-time Fort Worth Kickoff Luncheon December 22 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Open to the public, tickets are $25 each and are available by telephoning the Fort Worth Bowl office (817/810-0012).

Press Conference Quotes

Telephone exchange between KU head football coach Mark Mangino, and Tom Starr, director of the Fort Worth Bowl:

Tom Starr:
“We have an exciting invitation for you, Coach Mangino. On behalf of the Fort Worth Bowl executive committee, we would be more than honored to invite the University of Kansas to play in the third annual Fort Worth Bowl.”

Coach Mangino:
“Thank you very much, Tom. We gladly accept the invitation, and we’re looking forward to coming down to Forth Worth. We want to give you a good game, and I believe we’ll bring a lot of support down there with us. There are going to be many KU fans that have followed this special group of kids, and I’m sure they’re going to come to Fort Worth as well.”

Coach Mangino’s opening statement:
“We’ve had a very special football team this season. We have a group of kids that, from my understanding, is the only team ever to go 6-0 in Memorial Stadium since it was built. This is a team that was able to end a 36-year losing streak to the University of Nebraska. We are the only bowl eligible team in the Big 12 that has played every other bowl eligible team in the conference. Nine of our 11 opponents have qualified for postseason play. Our senior class has provided great leadership and our assistant coaches have done a tremendous job of teaching our kids.”

On being selected for the Fort Worth Bowl:
“We felt like whoever offered us the opportunity for a bowl, we would go gladly. Our aim is to play well and win.”

On the benefits of playing in Fort Worth:
“We are going to play in a city that our fans can get to very easily by either flying or driving. We have a lot of alumni in the metroplex area. We want to establish ourselves as a football team that will travel well to bowl games. We know that our loyal fans will be there. The fact that the game is not played right on a holiday is good as well. This will give our players the chance to get home for Christmas. Another reason this bowl is attractive is because we have 23 Texans on this team. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is one of our key recruiting areas.”

On the Houston Cougars:
“I know that they’re a fine team. I haven’t looked at them on tape yet. We’ll be making a tape exchange with them very soon. I don’t know much about Houston. I do know that they’ve had a fine year and will be a formidable opponent.”

On the extra three weeks of practice:
“We’re not going to lose sight of the fact that our preparation will be mainly focused on winning our bowl game. It doesn’t hurt to get our younger kids to get some more repetitions. The extra practice should make for an easier carry-over into spring practice.”