The Washington State Cougars are looking for a win as they go head-to-head with the Iowa State Cyclones in the 2018 Alamo Bowl on Friday night.
This is the Cougs’ first ever match-up against Iowa, a Big 12 team that was won seven out of its last eight games.
Iowa is led by one of the best up-and-coming coaches in college football: Matt Campbell. He played college football with former Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
Also worth mentioning: Washington State has sold about 5,200 Alamo Bowl tickets from its allotment while Iowa has sold 1,400 for the game in San Antonio, Texas.
This is the second time the Cougs have played in the Alamo Bowl and WSU’s fourth straight bowl game – a program record. It is also the program’s 15th bowl and coach Mike Leach’s fifth bowl in six years.
In 1994, the Cougs beat Baylor 10 to 3 at the Alamo Bowl.
At the Alamo Bowl, the Cougs hope to snag their eleventh win of the season while setting a program record for single season wins.
Related: WSU preps for Alamo Bowl
“You could just hear it in the locker room,” said safety Jalen Thompson, as the team prepped for the bowl game. “Guys are always talking about making school history and getting that 11th win. That’s big for us now. That’s where out mindset is.”
“It’s just another game. The bowl game, it’s just another game like the regular season, but there’s a lot riding on it,” offensive lineman Abe Lucas added. “You can’t get too focused on that or else you’ll lose sight of the goal which is just to win the game, but everybody’s got it in the back of their minds.”
The Cougs fell to the University of Washington Huskies 28-15 in late November during the much-anticipated 111th Apple Cup. The Cougs headed into that game with a 10-1 record and an eight-game winning streak, along with a No. 1 ranking in the Pac-12 North Division and a No. 8 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings.
The win marked the Huskies’ sixth Apple Cup title, including a 41-14 win last year. The Cougs were favored to win the Apple Cup this year.
The Cougs landed in San Antonio on Sunday and have been enjoying their free time so far. The team made a trip to SeaWorld, the guys have been caught dancing during practice and star quarterback Gardner Minshew took ugly Christmas sweater photos with Leach.
Before the Cougs took off for Texas, Minshew arrived at the WSU fieldhouse looking dressed for the part. He was rocking a 70s Cougars jacket – along with his signature mustache.
You can catch all of the action on Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
KENS 5 weekend sports anchor and reporter, and former KREM sports anchor and reporter, Evan Closky contributed to this report.