When Mississippi State plays in the 55th Autozone Liberty Bowl on New Year's Even in Memphis, the Bulldogs will be making their fourth appearance in the historic bowl game, one that has seen Mississippi State play the game in two different cities.
The first time the Mississippi State Bulldogs played in the Liberty Bowl turned out to be the last time the contest would be held in Philadelphia. That contest, played on December 21, 1963, saw the Bulldogs matchup with the North Carolina State Wolfpack on a day that saw the mercury only reach eight-degrees.
Mississippi State jumped out to a 16-0 lead before North Carolina State scored two touchdowns, failing to convert on 2-point conversions twice, to score their 12 points.
NBC carried the contest, marking the debut of Mississippi State football in a national broadcast.
Mississippi State returned to the Liberty Bowl in 1991 to play in their first bowl game since the 1981 Hall of Fame Bowl. Matched up against the Air Force Falcons and their fierce running attack, Mississippi State found few answers, losing 38-15.
The Bulldogs most recently played in the Liberty Bowl in 2007, when Sylvester Croom's squad went 7-5 to earn the bid against Conference USA Champion Central Florida.
In a game that stayed featured a tied score for all but 7:04 seconds of play, Mississippi State finally scored the game's only touchdown after 58:06 of action to pick up the 10-3 win.
The Bulldogs will be playing in their fourth Liberty Bowl when they take the field on New Year's Eve, tying them with Ole Miss, Louisville, Air Force, Alabama, Arkansas, and East Carolina for the most appearances in the game. A win would move Mississippi State into a tie with Louisville, Tennessee, and Penn State for the second most wins in Liberty Bowl history with three.
Two Bulldogs, Derek Pegues (2007) and Ode Burrell (1963) have been named MVPs of the game. Some other notable players to achieve the same award include Dick Hoak, Doug Flutie, and Bo Jackson.
The Liberty Bowl has been played in three locations: Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and Memphis. The game in Atlantic City, played indoors, featured end zones that were only eight yards long because of room constraints.
The highest scoring Liberty Bowl came in 2004 when Louisville defeated Boise State 44-40. Colorado scored the most points in a Liberty Bowl when they dropped 47 on Alabama in 1969. The 40 points scored by Boise State were the most ever for a losing squad.