AutoZone Liberty Bowl returns to the Mid-South amid COVID-19 woes

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 10:15 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2021 at 6:27 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Kickoff for the 63rd annual Autozone Liberty Bowl is less than 24 hours away and the festivities have already started.

It was a refreshing sight to see on Beale Street earlier Monday afternoon and evening as crowds lined the street to cheer on their respective teams, which is something we weren’t able to have for last year’s Autozone Liberty Bowl due to COVID-19 regulations.

Mississippi State is a little bit closer to the Bluff City than Lubbock, Texas but it looks as though the Red Raiders travel well for their team sports.

We caught a few fans as the parade was getting underway about expectations for Tuesday’s game.

“I’m just so glad to be here. We thought we were going to a game. We came to Beale Street, so we’re going to have some fun and rock it tomorrow,” said Terri Miller, who’s cheering for Mississippi State.

“This is pretty incredible, having a great time. First bowl game in five years. We’re excited. Mike Leach, he’s going to be coming for Tech, so that’s going to be tough,” said Coby Twilligear, who traveled from Hondo, Texas.

That is one of the big narratives that current Mississippi State head coach, Mike Leach, will be facing his old team at Texas Tech, where he coached for 10 years.

Kickoff is Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. right after St. Jude patient Addie sings the National Anthem, a testament to the bowl’s support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In a statement Monday evening, Richard C. Shadyac Jr. president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, released the following statement:

“It’s incredibly exciting to be at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl each year to not only watch some great football, but to celebrate with fans from around the country who get a 50-yard-line view of our great city of Memphis and a front row seat to hear St. Jude patient Addie sing the national anthem. The generosity of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the College Football Playoff Association throughout the year is crucial to the advancement of research and treatment for so many kids like Addie with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Childhood cancer is a multi-trillion-dollar, multi-year problem and their support helps fuel the six-year, $11.5 billion St. Jude strategic plan that triples its global investment to help more of the 400,000 kids around the world who get cancer each year.”

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