KEARNEY — For just the second time in school history, the University of Nebraska at Kearney football team will play in a bowl game.
The Lopers will face Winona (Minn.) State at noon Dec. 7 in the 53rd annual Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo. The Lopers (6-5) are 0-1 all-time against the Warriors (8-3), who are from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Since 2003, the Mineral Water Bowl has been held at Tiger Field, home of the Excelsior Springs High Tigers. Kickoff is set for noon.
This is the 12th postseason appearance in the 113-year history of the UNK program. The Lopers only other bowl trip came in 1955 when then-Nebraska State Teachers College beat then-Northern State Teachers College, 34-13, in the Botany Bowl in Shenandoah, Iowa.
The Mineral Water Bowl dates back to 1947. In its long history, the game has involved high schools, junior colleges and small colleges. Among the participants in the last five decades are Hastings College, North Dakota State, Northern Illinois, Drake, Wayne State and eight current MIAA members. Winona previously played in this game in 2000, 2002 and 2012. The MIAA had a tie-in with the game from 2000-17. Now the game has a tie-in with the NSIC and pits that school against a MIAA or Great Lakes Valley Conference member.
The previous Loper-Warrior game was held in the old Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., to close out the 1994 season. An 8-2 UNK team fell by a 50-34 score in that game. More currently, Warrior offensive line coach Joe Holtzclaw previously was a UNK assistant coach during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.