Football Spends A Tuesday In Memphis Prepping For AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Senior QB Zach Collaros

Dec. 27, 2011

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CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati football team began final preparations for the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Tuesday, working out for just under two hours in windy conditions at the University of Memphis.

UC will face off against Vanderbilt at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Liberty Bowl Stadium. The game will be televised on ABC and air on 700 WLW AM radio.

QB Zach Collaros (Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville) took most of the first-team snaps as he continues to work back from an ankle injury suffered against West Virginia on Nov. 12, 2011. UC has not named a starter for the game Saturday.

The AutoZone Liberty Bowl Team Welcome Party was held Tuesday night at AutoZone Park in downtown Memphis.

Both teams enjoyed a Memphis-style bbq feast. Each team devoured its own 125 pound whole hog, which was cooked by the Ten Bones BBQ Cooking team, the #1 bbq cooking team in the world and the reigning champions of the Memphis In May World BBQ Championship.

In addition, there were three competitions.

First, UC offensive lineman Dan Sprague squared off against Vanderbilt offensive lineman Mylon Brown in a rib eating contest. Each was player was given 20 ribs (the approximate equivalent of two racks of ribs) to eat, the first to finish was the winner. Brown narrowly edged out Sprage, winning a Memphis-made, custom Gibson Guitar as the prize.

Next, Vandy’s Warren Norman faced UC’s Monte Taylor in an Xbox competition that featured a video version of this year’s AutoZone Liberty Bowl. In the video competition, it was Taylor and the Bearcats coming out on top 14-7 over the Commodores.

In the final event, you can’t come to the home of Elvis and Justin Timberlake without some singing. Nick Aguirre represented Vanderbilt in the singing competition. The trio of Travis Kelce, Ralph David Abernathy IV, and Maalik Bomar sang on behalf of the Bearcats. The sing-off was declared a draw, with the ultimate winner to be decided Saturday in the 53rd AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

The Bearcats (9-3), who won a share of the 2011 BIG EAST Conference title, arrived in Memphis, Tenn., Monday afternoon and held a brief walk through at Memphis' indoor facility due to inclement weather in the area. Following their check in at the team headquarters, the Bearcats had a welcome team dinner at the hotel and were presented their bowl gifts by AutoZone Liberty Bowl Executive Director Steve Ehrhart.

The bowl gifts included a backpack, shoes, flip flops, a commemorative watch and ball as well as a Best Buy gift card.

UC returns to the practice field Wednesday in Memphis.