Kansas State is headed to the Liberty Bowl for a postseason game against Arkansas.
The Wildcats accepted an invitation to the Liberty Bowl on Sunday after finishing the regular season with a dramatic 24-23 victory against West Virginia on Saturday in Manhattan. The Liberty Bowl will be played Jan. 2 in Memphis, Tenn.
This will be K-State’s sixth consecutive bowl trip and 19th overall, but this is the first time it has played in the Liberty Bowl.
That made the Wildcats an attractive team, according to its executive director Steve Ehrhart.
“We have been watching and looking at Kansas State closely for many years, even before we began our partnership with the Big 12,” Ehrhart told the Eagle last week. “Our bowl game is the seventh-oldest in the nation. We’ve been playing it since 1959 and we’ve never had Kansas State.
“We’ve had a number of great universities from all across the country, even the West Coast. We pride ourselves on being a very national game. To have never had Kansas State before, well, let’s just say we’ve been in close contact with John Currie since we started our contract with the Big 12. We have been discussing Kansas State all year.”
K-State (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) will take on a familiar opponent in Arkansas (7-5, 4-3 SEC). The game will be a rematch of the Cotton Bowl following the 2011 season. The Razorbacks won that game 29-16.
It will also be a familiar game for the coaching staffs. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema worked for K-State coach Bill Snyder as defensive coordinator from 2002-03. Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith both played and coached under Snyder.
Arkansas finished in a tie for third with LSU in the SEC West this season, and prides itself on running the ball.
Snyder was looking forward to the bowl game, regardless of opponent and location.
“For us it is about our wonderful fan base,” Snyder said. “We have an awful lot of people who save up their nickels and dimes throught course of the year and the only vacation they take is the one after the season is over. It doesn’t matter where it is they just love to go. It is meaningful to us and it is meaningful to them, as well.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett