K-State fans expected to ‘paint’ another city purple this bowl season

The sunset lights up the sky behind Bill Snyder Family Stadium as Ty Zimmerman returns a 32 yard interception for a touchdown on Aug. 7, 2013. (Emily DeShazer | The Collegian)

On Monday, K-State Athletic Director John Currie told the Kansas City Star that the University had sold over 10,000 of its allotted 12,000 tickets. However, that number is but a fraction of the 25,000 purple-clad fans expected to make the trip to the Alamo City.

The huge turnout and show of support isn’t out of the ordinary for the Wildcats, who have brought along the three largest crowds across state lines in bowl history (1997 Cotton Bowl, 1997 Fiesta Bowl and 2000 Cotton Bowl). For the players themselves, they know that their fans don’t only show support for bowl games, but also anytime during the season, anywhere in the country.

“The fan support doesn’t surprise me, and of course it means a lot, we have a tremendous amount of fan support at every single game,” K-State senior wide receiver Tyler Lockett said Wednesday. “It doesn’t surprise me the type of traveling our fans do, because they do it on a daily basis. The biggest thing is that the fans are going to support us throughout, whether we’re winning every single game or losing every single game.”

For bowl organizers, including those in San Antonio for the 2015 Valero Alamo Bowl, the support that K-State receives is well ingrained in their memory. In the 1998 Builders Square Alamo Bowl, 30,000 fans packed the Alamodome to watch their No. 4 Wildcats take on the unranked Perdue Boilermakers.

“We’re excited,” Rick Hill, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Alamo Bowl, said. “In 1998, the Alamodome was well represented in (K-State) purple. This time of year we have millions of purple lights on the River Walk and we have plenty of fans wearing purple walking along it.”

Whether it’s the historic crowds that K-State have boasted, or the rowdy crowds that support the team at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on a regular basis, the one word players have used to describe their following is “loyal.”

“Our fans are great, I expect them to be out in full force — loud because that’s what they’ve done every single game,” K-State senior quarterback Jake Waters said. “I expect them to come out because we have some of the most loyal fans in the country, and I really expect them to be out there just like a normal home game for us.”

A motto that is ever-present for the K-State football team is “family,” and for the players, they know that every fan they have belongs to that family.

“[The amount of support from the fans] means a lot to everybody in the program, we mean it when we say that this is a family, and K-State has the largest three crowds across state lines for bowl games,” K-State senior center B.J. Finney said. “When you have that stat and you have the following that we do, you expect numbers like that because you know the [fans’] support is there.”