Cincinnati running back George Winn (32) outrushes Vanderbilt's Trey Wilson (8) on his way to a 69-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the Liberty Bowl NCAA college football game on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Isaiah Pead ran for 149 yards and a touchdown, and Ralph David Abernathy IV's 90-yard kickoff return early in the fourth quarter put Cincinnati ahead to stay as the Bearcats edged Vanderbilt 31-24 on Saturday in the Liberty Bowl.
The Bearcats (10-3) capped the season with their third straight victory.
But the co-Big East Conference champs had to work to put away Vanderbilt (6-7), a team that tied for fourth in the Southeastern Conference, despite forcing three turnovers and coming up with two sacks. The Commodores led 21-17 when Abernathy became the first Cincinnati player to return a kickoff for a TD in the program's 13 bowl appearances.
Vandy's Archibald Barnes blocked Tony Miliano's 39-yard field goal with 3:58 left, giving the Commodores the ball with plenty of time to go ahead. Nick Temple picked off a Larry Smith pass with 3:15 remaining, and Pead sealed the victory with a 12-yard TD run with 1:52 left.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)