A preview of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl


Tony Pollard, left, runs past Central Florida linebacker Titus Davis (10) on his way to a 66-yard touchdown during the second half of the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. Central Florida won in overtime 62-55. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After a thrilling season that ended with only one loss in the regular season and a thrilling ACC Championship game, the University of Memphis Tigers football team officially accepted a bid to play in the Liberty Bowl.

“We’re extremely excited about the opportunity to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl,” Head Coach Mike Norvell said Sunday. “This is the first time we get to play in our hometown bowl game and we will get to face a Big 12 opponent in another national showcase game. There’s a lot of excitement in the progress and direction we are going, and to get this one last time to see this team in the Liberty Bowl, with this group of seniors, is going to be special.”

Here’s what you need to know about the New Year’s Eve game.

Iowa State (7-5, Big 12) vs. No. 19 Memphis (10-2, No. 20 CFP, American Athletic Conference), Dec. 30, 12:30 p.m. (ABC)

LOCATION: Memphis, Tennessee

Top players

Iowa State: LB Joel Lanning has a team-high 110 tackles, including 10 for loss, plus five sacks. Lanning also occasionally plays quarterback and has 34 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. He’s 3 of 4 through the air for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Memphis: QB Riley Ferguson and WR Anthony Miller form one of the nation’s top passing combinations. Ferguson has thrown for 3,971 yards and 36 touchdowns. Miller has 92 catches for 1,407 yards and 17 touchdowns.


Iowa State beat Oklahoma and TCU this season when both were ranked in the top five.

This marks the first time in the Liberty Bowl’s 59-year history that the hometown team will play in the game. Memphis had a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl appearance until it lost the American Athletic Conference championship game to Central Florida in double overtime.

Last time

This is the first meeting between Iowa State and Memphis.

Bowl history

Iowa State: Third appearance in the Liberty Bowl, 13th bowl berth overall. Iowa State is playing in a bowl game for the first time since losing 31-17 to Tulsa in the 2012 Liberty Bowl.

Memphis: First appearance in the Liberty Bowl, 10th bowl berth overall. Memphis is playing in a bowl game for a school-record fourth consecutive season.

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