1998 Liberty Bowl

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1998 AXA/Equitable Liberty Bowl
AXA Equitable Liberty Bowl logo.gif
AXA/Equitable Liberty Bowl logo
1 2 3 4 Total
BYU 6 0 0 21 27
Tulane 10 10 14 7 41
Date December 31, 1998
Season 1998
Stadium Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Location Memphis, Tennessee
MVP Shaun King, Tulane QB
Attendance 52,197
Payout US$1,100,000
United States TV coverage
Network ESPN
Announcers: Rich Waltz, Rod Gilmore, Holly Rowe
Liberty Bowl
 < 1997  1999

The 1998 AXA/Equitable Liberty Bowl, part of the 1998 bowl game season, took place on December 31, 1998, at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The competing teams were the Tulane Green Wave, representing the Conference USA (C-USA) and the BYU Cougars, representing the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Tulane won the game 41–27 to finish along with the Tennessee Volunteers as the only undefeated Division I-A teams for the 1998 season.[1]



The 1998 Tulane squad entered the season with returning C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Shaun King at quarterback and picked to finish tied for second place with East Carolina in the preseason conference rankings.[2] Following their week two victory over SMU, local media started to mention the Green Wave as a potential at-large opponent to play in the Sugar Bowl as pert of the inaugural Bowl Championship Series (BCS).[3] Although Tulane finished the regular season with an 11–0 record, since they finished outside the sixth position in the final BCS standings, the Green Wave did not qualify for a BCS bowl game. Instead they were invited to the Liberty Bowl as C-USA champions.[4] The appearance in the game marked Tulane's first bowl since the 1987 Independence Bowl, and their third all-time appearance in the Liberty Bowl.[5]

Following the conclusion of the regular season, on December 2 head coach Tommy Bowden resigned as head coach to accept the same position at Clemson.[6] At that time offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez was named interim head coach through at least the Liberty Bowl.[6] Although Rodriguez was thought to be the top candidate for the coaching vacancy, on December 7 Tulane announced Georgia offensive coordinator Chris Scelfo as Tulane's new head coach.[7] At the time of he announcement, officials also stated Scelfo would serve as head coach in the bowl game instead of Rodriguez, and that most of Bowden's staff would remain in place for the Liberty Bowl.[8]


After opening the season 2–3, BYU won seven consecutive games to earn a spot in the WAC Championship Game. In that contest, the Cougars lost to the Air Force 20–13.[9] Prior to the championship game, the Cougars accepted a bid to play in the 40th Liberty Bowl.[10] The appearance in the game marked BYU's first New Year's Eve bowl, and their first all-time appearance in the Liberty Bowl.[10] In mid-December, BYU head coach LaVell Edwards announced that starting running back Ronney Jenkins and defensive back Heshimu Robertson would be suspended for the Liberty Bowl for violating the Brigham Young University Honor Code.[11]

Game summary[edit]

In a game ultimately dominated by Tulane, BYU scored the first points of the game. Early in the first, Kevin Feterik hit Ben Horton for an 11-yard touchdown reception, and after Owen Pochman missed the extra point the Cougars took an early 6–0 lead.[12][13] The Green Wave responded on the following drive with a 31-yard Brad Palazzo field goal to cut the lead in half.[13] With BYU driving on the ensuing possession, Michael Jordan intercepted a Feterik pass and returned it 79 yards for touchdown.[12][14] The return was the longest in the history on the Liberty Bowl and gave Tulane a 10–6 lead.[12][14] In the second quarter, Shaun King scored on a three-yard run and Palazzo hit a 23-yard field goal to give Tulane a 20–6 lead at the half.[13][15] King continued the scoring in the third with a pair of touchdown passes to cap two 82-yard drives. The first came on a 60-yard pass to Kerwin Cook and the second on a 13-yard pass to Jamaican Dartez.[13][15] With Tulane leading 34–6 entering the fourth quarter, BYU scored the first of three late touchdowns on a three-yard Aaron Cupp touchdown run.[12][13] Tulane responded on the next drive with its final points of the game on a five-yard Toney Converse run to extend their lead to 41–13.[13] The Cougars closed the contest with an 18-yard Cupp reception for a score and a three-yard Reno Mahe touchdown run to bring the final score to 41–27.[12][13] For his 276 yards passing, 109 yards rushing and three total touchdowns, Tulane quarterback Shaun King was named the game's Most Valuable Player.[15]

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP BYU Tulane
1 8:49 7 plays, 65 yards 2:50 BYU Ben Horton 11-yard touchdown reception from Kevin Feterik, Owen Pochman kick no good 6 0
1 4:23 11 plays, 56 yards 4:26 Tulane 31-yard field goal by Brad Palazzo 6 3
1 1:35 1 play, 79 yards Tulane Interception returned 79 yards for touchdown by Michael Jordan, Brad Palazzo kick good 6 10
2 10:18 7 plays, 58 yards 2:29 Tulane Shaun King 3-yard touchdown run, Brad Palazzo kick good 6 17
2 00:41 10 plays, 45 yards 4:09 Tulane 23-yard field goal by Brad Palazzo 6 20
3 13:48 4 plays, 82 yards 2:12 Tulane Kerwin Cook 60-yard touchdown reception from Shaun King, Brad Palazzo kick good 6 27
3 7:27 11 plays, 82 yards 2:12 Tulane Jamaican Dartez 13-yard touchdown reception from Shaun King, Brad Palazzo kick good 6 34
4 11:38 9 plays, 67 yards 3:27 BYU Aaron Cupp 3-yard touchdown run, Owen Pochman kick good 13 34
4 9:24 6 plays, 76 yards 2:14 Tulane Toney Converse 5-yard touchdown run, Brad Palazzo kick good 13 41
4 8:06 4 plays, 20 yards 1:18 BYU Aaron Cupp 18-yard touchdown reception from Kevin Feterik, Owen Pochman kick good 20 41
4 1:30 BYU Reno Mahe 3-yard touchdown run, Owen Pochman kick good 27 41
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 27 41


  1. ^ Rosenblatt, Richard (January 6, 1999). "No surprise: Vols No. 1; Tennessee unanimous pick; Tulane seventh". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). The Associated Press. p. 1D. 
  2. ^ Iles, Trey (July 23, 1998). "Wave's King picked to be tops on offense". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). p. D2. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Ted (September 18, 1998). "If Wave finishes perfect, Sugar may call". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). p. D1. 
  4. ^ "Tulane to face BYU in Liberty". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). The Associated Press. November 25, 1998. p. C1. 
  5. ^ Iles, Trey (November 21, 1998). "Tulane already Liberty's top choice". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). p. D3. 
  6. ^ a b Iles, Trey (December 3, 1998). "Bowden bows out, takes Clemson job". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). p. A1. 
  7. ^ Iles, Trey (December 8, 1998). "Tulane surprises: It's coach Scelfo". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). p. A1. 
  8. ^ Foster, Mary (December 9, 1998). "Tulane assistants will stay through Liberty Bowl game". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). The Associated Press. p. 2D. 
  9. ^ Call, Jeff (December 6, 1998). "Falcons find win even sweeter vs. BYU". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). p. D2. 
  10. ^ a b Call, Jeff (November 25, 1998). "Liberty rings for BYU". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). p. D1. 
  11. ^ Facer, Dirk (December 17, 1998). "BYU suspends 2 key players". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). p. D1. Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Facer, Dirk (January 1, 1999). "King in Memphis: Green Wave QB drowns BYU". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT). p. D1. Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Liberty Bowl statistics". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). January 1, 1999. p. D7. 
  14. ^ a b Guilbeau, Glenn (January 1, 1999). "Jordan's interception breaks record". The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA). p. 8D. 
  15. ^ a b c Iles, Trey (January 1, 1999). "Perfect. King, Tulane shred BYU for 12–0 record". The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA). p. D1.