Expectations high for 63rd Autozone Liberty Bowl

Texas Tech (6-6) will face Coach Mike Leach and Mississippi State (7-5) in the 63rd AutoZone...
Texas Tech (6-6) will face Coach Mike Leach and Mississippi State (7-5) in the 63rd AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 28 in Memphis, TN.(AutoZone Liberty Bowl Twitter)
Published: Dec. 26, 2021 at 9:20 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The teams for the 63rd annual Autozone Liberty Bowl game, Mississippi State and Texas Tech, are now in Memphis preparing for the big match-up.

“We’re excited obviously and thankful for the hospitality here at the liberty bowl, really excited about our match-up with Mississippi State, a great challenge and stories, a lot of side stories and things like that,” said Keith Patterson, Texas Tech’s Defensive Coordinator.

The Red Raiders practiced Sunday afternoon at Christian Brothers High School, MSU at Rhodes College, both excited to go before a full crowd at the historic Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Patterson recalled memories of his last Liberty Bowl when he was at the University of Tulsa.

“2005 was the last time I was here,” Patterson said. “We won the Liberty Bowl against Fresno (State), so that’s a good memory.”

This will be Texas Tech’s first bowl game since 2017 and their first time in Memphis for the Liberty Bowl.

On the flip side, Mississippi State is making their 12th straight bowl appearance and have won three of their four Liberty Bowl appearances, still holding the bowl game’s attendance record (63,816) from 2007 against the University of Central Florida (UCF).

The Bulldogs will be looking for home field advantage in this match-up.

“We sure hope so,” said Zach Arnett, Mississippi State’s Defensive Coordinator. “If I’m not mistaken, the last time we were up here there were no cowbells allowed. Hopefully, we’re bringing as many as possible.”

Arnett’s wish will come true, as cowbells, the fanbase’s artificial noisemaker, will be allowed at this game.

Full capacity will also be allowed at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, a much welcome change of scenery after last year’s 8,000 seat COVID-19 capacity limit.

With less than 48 hours until kickoff, both teams are now going to prepare and, while they’re at it, enjoy their time in Memphis.

“I think he’s supposed to be getting some Gus’s chicken,” Patterson said with a smile on his face.

The game also has a big economic impact for the city.

With that full capacity in the stadium, meaning full hotel rooms and restaurants thanks to tens of thousands coming into the Bluff City, the game is expected to bring anywhere from $20-$25 million to Memphis.

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