Thrilling 2021 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
The 45th edition of the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl (RTIB) is in the books, as Shreveport’s college football bowl game returned for the first time since 2018 on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.
On a rainy and windy Saturday afternoon, the 45th Bowl turned in one of its finest games in a back-andforth battle between the UAB Blazers and BYU Cougars. In one of the biggest victories in program history, UAB defeated No. 13 BYU 31-28 to earn their second bowl win in program history and first Independence Bowl victory.
Two of the top running backs in the nation dueled, as UAB’s DeWayne McBride finished the day with 28 carries for 183 yards and one touchdown. BYU’s Tyler Allgeier compiled 192 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. UAB QB Dylan Hopkins completed an Independence Bowl record 82.6 percent of his passes for 183 yards and three passing touchdowns.
“It’s one of the biggest (wins ever),” said UAB head coach Bill Clark following the Blazers’ win over the highest-ranked team to ever play in an Independence Bowl, No. 13 BYU.
The contest had eyes from across the country glued to their televisions, and that impact cannot be overstated. The RTIB provides the city of Shreveport and the entire Shreveport-Bossier City area a unique opportunity to be showcased to millions of people throughout the United States, and 2021 was a prime example of the impact of that exposure.
Drawing over 3.37 million viewers on ABC, the 45th RTIB between UAB and BYU topped college football viewership in the first 11 days of Bowl Season.
the New Year’s six bowls and College Football Playoff Semifinals, the
Independence Bowl ranked in the top 15 in television viewership.
Per ESPN PR, the bowl drew 3.37 million viewers on ABC – making it the most-viewed college football game of Bowl Season’s opening weekend. Per ShowBuzzDaily, Independence Bowl was the highest-rated sports program outside of the NFL from Dec. 13-19, outdrawing events including NBA basketball on ESPN and TNT, college basketball and the PGA Tour’s PNC Championship.
The thriller drew over 21 percent more viewership than the last Independence Bowl in 2019, with a total live audience of 2.77 million – up 36 percent from 2018. The 2021 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl had over one million more viewers than that 2018 game.
The impact of the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl extended off the field and into the local community. One of the best parts of bowl week every year is the teams spending time helping at local non-profits and providing people in need with an experience they will remember forever.
The most wholesome day of bowl week in 2021 was when residents from The Arc Caddo-Bossier visited the practices of both teams. The Arc is a private, nonprofit agency that provides services and supportive programs for adults, children, infants with disabilities and their families. Residents from The Arc got to spend time after practices with players and coaches from both teams, and it showed what Bowl Season is all about.
“That moment after practice is to me what football is all about. Outside of the game, being able to lead people to change lives and inspire,” said UAB offensive tackle Colby Ragland. “I have family members that have disability. So, it was huge to me just to meet them, and they were so excited just to be in our presence, and it was likewise. Things of that nature is one of the reasons why I play this game, hopefully to inspire somebody or have someone look at me and, you know, bring joy. So, that is something that is near and dear to me and my heart.”
That’s a wrap on another Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl. College football’s 11th oldest bowl game will be back for its 46th edition in December 2022, with a matchup slated for Army against the American Athletic Conference.
Erik Evenson is the director of media and community relations for the Independence Bowl.