THE HISTORY OF THE AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL

The AutoZone Liberty Bowl takes place annually at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The Bowl is the seventh oldest college bowl game and is one of the most tradition-rich and patriotic bowl games in America.

The AutoZone Liberty Bowl game was founded in Philadelphia in 1959 and the inaugural game featured a match-up between Penn State and Alabama. That game began a tradition of great stars and exciting football and was the first of 59 thrilling chapters in the history of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Football Classic.

After five years in Philadelphia, the game moved indoors to Atlantic City Convention Center for one year and in the process became the first indoor college bowl game. Every AutoZone Liberty Bowl since 1965 has been held at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis.

The AutoZone Liberty Bowl has enjoyed many highlights through the years. The Bowl has hosted all-time great coaches such as Paul “Bear” Bryant, Lou Holtz, Tom Osborne, Steve Spurrier and Bill Snyder. The Bowl’s history also includes four Heisman Trophy winners (Ernie Davis, Terry Baker, Doug Flutie and Bo Jackson) and other stars such as Archie Manning and Donovan McNabb.

Another proud tradition is the Bowl’s terrific partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital which brings together an internationally recognized research facility and a winning college football tradition. St. Jude is dedicated to helping children throughout the world in their fight against catastrophic diseases.

Beginning in 2004, Memphis-based AutoZone, Inc., became the Bowl’s title sponsor.

The 60th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl will be nationally televised by ESPN.

 

Memorable Moments in AutoZone Liberty Bowl History

December 19, 1959 – The game marked the beginning of a great bowl tradition and also was the first of 24 consecutive bowl trips for Paul “Bear” Bryant. The game was played at Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia, PA.

December 15, 1961 – Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis led his Syracuse Orangemen to rally to a 15-14 win over the Miami Hurricanes. Davis was named the game’s Outstanding Back but teammate Dick Easterly won the MVP award.

December 15, 1962 – Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker raced 99 yards with 9:24 left in the first quarter for the game’s only score. The run marked an AutoZone Liberty Bowl and Oregon State record. The mark still stands today.

December 19, 1964 – The inaugural game in Atlantic City, featuring Utah and West Virginia, marked the first time a major college bowl game was held indoors.

December 18, 1965 – Marked the first game held in Memphis, TN, and pitted Ole Miss against Auburn.

December 14, 1968 – Archie Manning led his Ole Miss Rebels to a 34-17 victory over Virginia Tech.

December 13, 1969 – Colorado running back Bobby Anderson rushed for an AutoZone Liberty Bowl record 254 yards.

December 18, 1972 – Georgia Tech’s backup quarterback Jim Stevens was named MVP after completing 12 of 15 passes for 157 yards in guiding Georgia Tech to a 31-30 victory over Iowa State.

December 17, 1973 – Lou Holtz and his N.C. State Wolfpack took a 10-10 tie in the 3rd quarter and pushed it to a 31-18 victory over Kansas.

December 20, 1976 – Terry Donahue faced off against Paul “Bear” Bryant. Bryant’s 16th ranked Crimson Tide dominated Donahue’s 7th ranked UCLA Bruins, 36-6.

December 19, 1977 – Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne called on backup quarterback Randy Garcia, who rallied the Cornhuskers with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to beat North Carolina 21-17.

December 22, 1979 – This game marked the only time a touchdown was not scored as Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions defeated Tulane 9-6.

December 29, 1982 – The 1982 contest marked an end to a remarkable career as Alabama head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant coached his final game. Alabama defeated Illinois 21-15 before a crowd of 54,123.

December 29, 1983 – Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns, but Notre Dame pulled out a 19-18 victory thanks to a missed extra point. Flutie was named the game’s MVP.

December 27, 1984 – Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson had two touchdown runs. Jackson’s 39-yard-touchdown run late in the fourth quarter gave Auburn a 21-15 win over Arkansas.

December 29, 1991 – A record crowd of 61,497 watched as Air Force defeated Mississippi State 38-15.

December 31, 1998 – Tulane capped an undefeated season by defeating BYU 41-27.

December 29, 2000 - #23 Colorado St. defeated #22 Louisville 22-17. The Rams finished the year 11-1 and ranked #16.

December 31, 2001- For the second year in a row, the Bowl featured a match-up of two Top 25 teams as #23 Louisville downed #19 BYU 28-10.

December 31, 2004 – The first match-up of two Top 10 teams as No. 7 Louisville took on No. 10 Boise State. This was the highest scoring game in AutoZone Liberty Bowl history with Louisville defeating Boise State 44-40.

December 29, 2007 - In front of an all-time record crowd of 63,816 fans, Mississippi State defeats UCF 10-3.

January 2, 2009 - In celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the Bowl secured a January playing date for the first time in its history. Kentucky rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to knock off East Carolina, 25-19.

January 2, 2010 - A sellout crowd of 62,742, the second largest of all-time, watched the first ever overtime game in AutoZone Liberty Bowl history as Arkansas defeated East Carolina 20-17.

August 2013 - AutoZone Liberty Bowl announces new 6-year partnerships with the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference creating a SEC versus Big 12 matchup in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl from 2014 through 2019. 

February 21, 2014 - AutoZone extends its title sponsorship agreement for 6 additional years beginning in the 2014 season through the 2019 season.

January 2, 2016 - A sellout crowd of 61,136, watches Arkansas defeated Kansas State 45-23 in one of the most watched non-NY6 ESPN bowl games of the year.

DATE TEAM ATTENDANCE
12/30/2017 Iowa State 21 - Memphis 20 57,266
12/30/2016 Georgia 31 - TCU 23 51,087
1/02/2016 Arkansas 45 - Kansas State 23 61,136
12/29/2014 Texas A&M 45 - West Virginia 37 51,282
12/31/2013 Mississippi State 44 - Rice 7 57,846
12/31/2012 Tulsa 31 - Iowa State 17 53,687
12/31/2011 Cincinnati 31 - Vanderbilt 24 57,103
12/31/2010 UCF 10 - Georgia 6 51,231
1/02/2010 Arkansas 20 - East Carolina 17 (OT) 62,742
1/02/2009 Kentucky 25 - East Carolina 19 56,125
12/29/2007 Mississippi State 10 – UCF 3 63,816
12/29/2006 South Carolina 44 – Houston 36 56,103
12/31/2005 Tulsa 31 – Fresno State 24 54,894
12/31/2004 Louisville 44 - Boise State 40 58,355
12/31/2003 Utah 17 - Southern Miss 0 55,917
12/31/2002 TCU 17 - Colorado State 3 55,207
12/31/2001 Louisville 28 - BYU 10 58,968
12/29/2000 Colorado St 22 - Louisville 17 58,302
12/31/1999 Southern Miss 23 - Colorado St 17 56,570
12/31/1998 Tulane 41 - BYU 27 52,192
12/31/1997 Southern Miss 41 - Pittsburgh 7 50,209
12/27/1996 Syracuse 30 - Houston 17 49,163
12/30/1995 East Carolina 19 - Stanford 13 47,307
12/31/1994 Illinois 30 - East Carolina 0 46,212
12/28/1993 Louisville 18 - Michigan St 7 21,097
12/31/1992 Ole Miss 13 - Air Force 0 47,602
12/29/1991 Air Force 38 - Miss St. 15 61,497
12/27/1990 Air Force 23 - Ohio St. 11 32,262
12/28/1989 Ole Miss 42 - Air Force 29 60,128
12/28/1988 Indiana 34 - S. Carolina 10 32,210
12/29/1987 Georgia 20 - Arkansas 17 53,240
12/29/1986 Tennessee 21 - Minnesota 14 51,357
12/27/1985 Baylor 21 - LSU 7 40,186
12/27/1984 Auburn 21 - Arkansas 15 50,180
12/29/1983 Notre Dame 19 - Boston Co. 18 48,071
12/29/1982 Alabama 21 - Illinois 15 54,123
12/30/1981 Ohio St 31 - Navy 28 43,216
12/27/1980 Purdue 28 - Missouri 25 53,667
12/22/1979 Penn St. 9 - Tulane 6 50,021
12/23/1978 Missouri 20 - LSU 15 53,064
12/19/1977 Nebraska 21 - N. Carolina 17 49,456
12/20/1976 Alabama 36 - UCLA 6 52,736
12/22/1975 So. Cal. 20 - Texas A & M 0 52,129
12/16/1974 Tennessee 7 - Maryland 3 51,284
12/17/1973 N. C. St. 31 - Kansas 18 50,011
12/18/1972 Georgia Tech 31 - Iowa St 30 50,021
12/20/1971 Tennessee 14 - Arkansas 13 45,410
12/12/1970 Tulane 17 - Colorado 3 44,460
12/13/1969 Colorado 47 - Alabama 33 50,042
12/14/1968 Ole Miss 34 - VA Tech 17 46,206
12/16/1967 N.C. St 14 - Georgia 7 35,054
12/10/1966 Miami 14 - VA Tech 7 39,101
12/18/1965 Ole Miss 13 - Auburn 7 38,607
12/19/1964 Utah 32 - W. VA 6 6,059
12/21/1963 Miss St. 16 - N.C. St. 12 8,309
12/15/1962 Oregon St. 6 - Villanova 0 17,047
12/16/1961 Syracuse 15 - Miami 14 15,712
12/17/1960 Penn St. 41 - Oregon 12 16,624
12/19/1959 Penn St. 7 - Alabama 0 36,211

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Any intent or use of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl logo, name, and/or mark for the purpose of merchandise sales, media usage, etc. is subject to final approval by AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Inc.

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COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF:

December 31, 2018 - 2:45 PM CST
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