The Kansas State football team will be in familiar territory when it faces the University of California, Los Angeles in the 2017 Cactus Bowl.
This will be the fourth time the Wildcats have played in the Cactus Bowl, but with a different sponsor, name and location each time. Eight members of K-State’s coaching staff have experienced at least one of those bowls.
The first time was the 1993 Cactus Bowl, then known as the Copper Bowl. It was Bill Snyder’s first bowl game as K-State’s head coach and just the team’s second in school history.
The ’93 Copper Bowl was played in Tucson, Arizona, inside Arizona Stadium. K-State, ranked 20th in the nation at the time, dominated the University of Wyoming 52-17 for the first bowl win in school history.
Andre Coleman, current wide receivers coach and former wide receiver for the Wildcats, capped off an all-American season with a great performance in the ’93 Copper Bowl. He returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown and hauled in a 61-yard touchdown pass while totaling 144 receiving yards.
Eight years later, the Wildcats returned to Arizona to compete in the 2001 Cactus Bowl, then known as the Insight Bowl. This time it was played in Phoenix at Bank One Ballpark, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and what is now Chase Field.
K-State wasn’t as lucky this time around — the Wildcats were defeated by Syracuse 26-3. As is evident by the score, the offense was held in check.
Josh Scobey ran for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns during the 2001 season, but was held to just 46 yards on 10 carries in the Insight Bowl. K-State also threw two interceptions and was sacked five times.
K-State next played in the Cactus Bowl in 2013 when it was called the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. A change of scenery came again when the Wildcats played in Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium.
The result was a 31-14 victory over the University of Michigan that gave K-State its first bowl game win since 2002. Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett connected for a touchdown on each of the team’s first three offensive drives.
Lockett finished the night with 10 catches for 116 yards and three scores. Waters was nearly flawless, completing 21 of 27 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
Currently, 12 Wildcats on the 2017 roster were also on that 2013 team.
Chase Field will be the venue for the 2017 Cactus Bowl, and K-State will be hoping for a better result than when they played there in 2001.
K-State entered the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl having won four of their last five games. The same is true as they prepare to take on UCLA.
The 2017 Cactus Bowl is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Dec. 26, and the game will air on ESPN.