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The 2009 AutoZonemarker Liberty Bowl is the fiftieth annual college football bowl game, and was played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadiummarker in Memphis, Tennesseemarker on January 2, 2009 as part of the 2008-09 bowl season. The East Carolina Pirates accepted their invitation after their victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the 2008 Conference USA Championship Game. The Kentucky Wildcats of the Southeastern Conference also accepted their invitation.

East Carolina entered the game with a record of 9-4 and had been ranked as high as #15 in the AP poll during the season; Kentucky was 6-6 and unranked.

The Kentucky Wildcats defeated the East Carolina Pirates by a score of 25-19.

East Carolina led through much of the game; late in the fourth quarter Kentucky defensive tackle Ventrell Jenkins picked up a fumble and returned it 56 yards for the game winning touchdown. Jenkins was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 Liberty Bowl. The fumble recovery and return, marked by a vicious stiff arm Jenkins put on the opposing quarterback, received generous replay during bowl game broadcasts.

Scoring Summary

Scoring Play Score
1st Quarter
ECU - Ben Hartman 22 yard FG, 5:25 ECU 3-0
2nd Quarter
ECU - Brandon Simmons 28 yard TD run (Hartman kick), 14:14 ECU 10-0
UK - Lones Seiber 21 yard FG, 8:59 ECU 10-3
ECU - Darryl Freeney 80 yard TD pass from Patrick Pinkney (kick blocked), 8:47 ECU 16-3
3rd Quarter
UK - David Jones 99 yard kickoff return (kick blocked), 14:48 ECU 16-9
UK - Kyrus Lanxster 19 yard TD pass from Mike Hartline (Seiber kick), 8:13 Tie 16-16
ECU - Hartman 43 yard FG, :06 ECU 19-16
4th Quarter
UK - Seiber 34 yard FG, 14:07 Tie 19-19
UK - Ventrell Jenkins 56 yard fumble return (kick blocked), 3:02 UK 25-19


  1. UK accepts Liberty Bowl bid The Courier-Journal. Retrieved on December 7, 2008.
  2. AP Poll Archive
  3. CNN and AP report on 2009 Liberty Bowl
  4. Video clip of ESPN broadcast

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