December 28, 1998
By KELLEY SHANNON
AP Sports Writer
SAN ANTONIO- They're returning as defending champions, but the Purdue
Boilermakers don't expect this Alamo Bowl to resemble the last one.
For one, Purdue beat Oklahoma State in 1997. On Tuesday, the unranked
Boilermakers face heavily favored No. 4 Kansas State, which is playing for the
first time since a devastating double-overtime loss to Texas A&M in the Big 12
Naturally, the implications are ominous.
"They will be out to prove a point," predicted Purdue quarterback Drew
Brees. "They probably want to go out there and win by the biggest margin they
can. ... They are definitely going to be ready to play us."
After the loss to Texas A&M, Kansas State (11-1) got snubbed by bigger
bowls, and the disappointed Wildcats accepted an invitation to play Purdue in
the Alamo Bowl, the fourth-choice bowl for the Big 12.
Kansas State is the highest-ranked team to play in the Alamo Bowl in its
six-year history. Wildcats quarterback Michael Bishop insists his team is past
its emotional reaction to bowl selection weekend.
"It's not in our minds right now," Bishop said. "You can't let the bad
things keep you from getting out the next day and wanting things to be
Purdue (8-4) is appearing in a bowl game for only the second time this
decade. Coach Joe Tiller, in his second season at Purdue, led the Boilermakers
to a 33-20 defeat of Oklahoma State in last year's game.
Purdue offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said the Kansas State defense -
ranked third in the nation in total defense - is the toughest the Boilermakers
(8-4) have faced.
"From front to back, they're the best we've played. They are very physical
on the play and they attack," Chaney said.
Keys for Purdue will be the passing accuracy of Brees and getting wide
receiver Isaac Jones open.
"This game will be a status game for us, that we can complete with the
elite teams in college football," said Jones, a senior who is fifth on
Purdue's career receptions list with 143 and ninth in receiving yards with
Brees, a sophomore from Austin Westlake, has caught the attention of Kansas
State coaches and players, who are vowing not to take Purdue for granted.
"They do everything - they're a great passing team, they run the ball well.
It's hard to stop them," said Kansas State linebacker Jeff Kelly.
Brees completed 336 of 516 passes (65 percent) for 3,753 yards this season
with 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He holds Big Ten season records for
attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns.
"We're going to have to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback," added
Wildcats defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. "We have to limit his
opportunities. If he's on the field, he's strong."
Of course, so is Bishop, the Heisman Trophy runner-up who has been quietly
preparing for the Alamo Bowl amid all the talk about Brees and his passing
Bishop, a senior from Willis, Texas, has never ended a college season with a
loss and is 46-2 in his college career at Blinn (Texas) Junior College and
He led Blinn to consecutive undefeated national championships in 1995 and
1996. At Kansas State last season he threw for four touchdowns and ran for
another in the Wildcats' 35-18 victory over Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl.
"We feel like we're a team that has accomplished a lot," Bishop said. "We
feel like we deserve a lot of respect."