Jayhawks Ready to Face Houston in the Fort Worth Bowl

Dec. 16, 2005

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The University of Kansas (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) football team will be playing in its second bowl contest in the last three seasons as the Jayhawks face Houston (6-5, 4-4) from Conference USA in Fort Worth Bowl III on Dec. 23. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. (CST) from Amon Carter Stadium and will be broadcast nationally by ESPN.

Kansas is 3-6 all-time in bowl contests and has won two of its last three bowl games — 1992 Aloha Bowl vs. BYU and 1995 Aloha Bowl vs. UCLA. The Jayhawks have played a pair of bowl games in the state of Texas — the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl vs. Rice (in Houston) and the 1975 Sun Bowl vs. Pittsburgh (in El Paso). Mark Mangino is making his second bowl appearance as head coach of the Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks became bowl-eligible in their regular-season finale when sophomore placekicker Scott Webb booted a 34-yard field goal in overtime to defeat Iowa State on Nov. 26. KU features the third-best rush defense among all NCAA I-A teams (88.1 yards allowed per game), and enters the contest against Houston looking for their seventh win of the season — the team’s highest win total since the 1995 club claimed 10 victories.

Houston enters the game against the Jayhawks after a 30-23 victory at Tulsa to end the regular-season. 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. In Amon G. Carter Stadium, the Cougars are 6-6 after losing 34-27 to former Conference USA rival TCU in 2004.

Kansas and Houston will be meeting for the third-time in series history with KU winning the 1994 and 1995 games.

The Jayhawks are making their 10th all-time bowl appearance and playing a bowl contest in the state of Texas for the third time in school history — 1969 Bluebonnet Bowl (Houston) and 1975 Sun Bowl (El Paso). KU is 1-1 all-time in bowl games played in the Lone Star State.

For the first time in 30 years, the Jayhawks will be competing in two bowl contests during a three-year span. The last time KU appeared in two bowl games in three years occurred in 1973 (Liberty Bowl) and 1975 (Sun Bowl).

Seven of KU’s eight Big 12 opponents qualified for postseason bowl games (Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa State, Missouri and Colorado). KU is the only bowl-eligible team in the Big 12 Conference to face all seven bowl-eligible teams from the league. No team from the Big 12 Conference played more games against bowl-elibible teams than the Jayhawks (eight).

The Kansas rush defense ranks third nationally, allowing just 88.1 yards per game. Eight times this season the KU defense has surrendered less than 100 rushing yards to an opponent (70 vs. Florida Atlantic, 38 vs. La. Tech, 47 at Texas Tech, 35 at Kansas State, 96 vs. Oklahoma, 33 vs. Missouri, 21 vs. Nebraska and 56 vs. Iowa State).

Senior defensive end Charlton Keith set a KU single-season record when he recorded his 21st tackle-for-loss of the year against Iowa State on Nov. 26.

— KU —