Kansas State football fans will be outnumbered at the Texas Bowl, but Dante Barnett isn’t worried about crowd noise.
Barnett, a K-State senior defensive back, long ago learned never to underestimate the presence of purple-clad fans in any stadium.
“It’s not the number of people that are at the game,” Barnett said. “It’s about the passion and pride that they have for their team.
“It could be five K-State football fans at a game, but you are still going to hear those five K-State football fans over in that corner. You like that and want that in your fan base.”
The Wildcats are expecting many more than five fans to support them against Texas A&M on Wednesday night inside NRG Stadium. K-State athletic officials estimate as many as 15,000 fans made the trip to Houston. The school sold more than 7,000 tickets directly from its allotment of 10,500.
Many of those fans attended a prebowl pep rally on Tuesday at nearby BBVA Compass Stadium, home of Houston’s pro soccer team, the Dynamo.
K-State football players interacted with the fans and thanked them for their support.
“We have the best fans in the country,” K-State junior Matt Seiwert said. “That means so much to us that no matter where we go, wherever we are in the country, we are always going to have a great fan base with us.
“It means a lot to our team.”
K-State football fans have traditionally traveled well for bowl games.
Coach Bill Snyder has long told stories about the lift they provided previous teams at the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Holiday Bowl, breaking attendance records for fan bases that traveled across state lines for postseason games.
“It’s great that our fans come out and support us the way we do,” K-State junior Tanner Wood said. “I am proud to be a K-Stater.”
K-State has reached seven consecutive bowl games, but fans can’t get enough.
“It’s a testament to the leadership that coach Snyder provides and a testament to the way our teams finish seasons strong,” K-State athletic director John Currie said. “If you look back at these past seven years, all of our teams finished strong and got our fans fired up to travel to these bowls. We have had great excitement from our fans.”
K-State fans may need to be more vocal than usual to be heard against Texas A&M. The Texas Bowl expects a crowd of about 65,000 in a stadium that holds 71,795, making it one of the best-attended bowl games of the year.
But maroon may outnumber purple three to one. College Station, home of Texas A&M, is about 100 miles northwest of Houston.
Still, Barnett thinks K-State fans will give the game a neutral feel.
“Nothing our fans do surprises me, not since my freshman year when I really experienced everything,” Barnett said. “They care. They are always at our games, and they will travel to extremes to be at our games.”
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett
Kansas State vs. Texas A&M
When: 8 p.m., Wednesday
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston
Radio: 1480-AM; 102.5-FM; 107.9-FM