Tostitos and the USO Highlight Unforgettable Football Experience with U.S. Troops in Iraq during Fiesta Bowl Halftime

'Connect to Home Bowl' production showcases college football legends, military heroes joining together for a unique football match-up designed to bring a taste of home to troops overseas

Jan 01, 2011, 07:00 ET from Frito-Lay

PLANO, Texas, Jan. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tostitos brand, along with the USO, today focused the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl national spotlight on celebrating U.S. military heroes. During the 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game broadcast, they showcased highlights from the Tostitos "Connect to Home Bowl" – a unique college football experience created exclusively for U.S. service men and women stationed in Iraq. Held at Joint Base Balad on December 21, 2010, the event was created to bring a taste of home to our troops serving overseas during the holiday season.  In a bowl-game inspired match up, college football legends and military heroes played a football game alongside one another

This marks the second year the Tostitos brand and the USO have partnered to bring a college bowl game experience to the troops, connecting them with the fun and excitement of the college bowl games taking place back in the U.S.  Highlights were shown during halftime of the national broadcast of the 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, which Tostitos, a flagship brand of PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division, has sponsored for the past 16 years.

"Tostitos is a long-standing supporter of college football and a brand known for bringing people together," said Justin Lambeth, vice president, marketing, Tostitos. "That's why we were so excited to once again join with the USO to bring our brave men and women serving overseas a taste of home and college football. We hope the friendships and connections made both on the field and off will help create a lifetime of memories for our troops and the legendary coaches and athletes who joined us."

"We are thankful to have the Tostitos brand as a returning partner to help re-create this unique college football experience," said Sloan Gibson, USO President. "Last year, we saw firsthand how meaningful this experience was for the men and women serving our country overseas. This year, we wanted to share the joy with a new group of Armed Forces, by connecting them to home through a game we know they love."

The Tostitos Connect to Home Bowl put legendary college football coaches Bobby Bowden and Gene Stallings at the helm of two teams comprised of former college all-stars and active military heroes. The full roster of coaches and players taking part in the game included:

Team Freedom

  • Coach Gene Stallings
  • Rodney Peete, University of Southern California, Johnny Unitas Award winner
  • Thurman Thomas, Oklahoma State University, three-time first-team All-American
  • Andre Reed, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  • Zach Thomas, Texas Tech University, two-time consensus All-American
  • Jevon Kearse, University of Florida
  • SSG Patrick Bates, Army, Joliet, Ill.   
  • SrA Jacqueline Berry, Air Force, Santa Rosa, Calif.   
  • SSG Brandon Carey, Army, Miami, Fla. 
  • SSG Alton Day, Army, Elizabeth, N.C.  
  • TSgt Michael Forte, Air Force, Taunton, Mass.   
  • Sgt Thomas Hall, Army, Lebanon, Mo.   
  • CPT Brian Harper, Army, Forest, Miss.   
  • 1 LT Derek Jones, Army, Dayton, Ohio   
  • Capt Benjamin Kiley, Marines, New York, N.Y.
  • SSgt Wesley Smith, Air Force, Houston, Texas   
  • CPT Venson Walker, Army, Neeses, S.C.   
  • SPC Tyler Klabenes, Army, Chambers, Neb.  

Team Liberty

  • Coach Bobby Bowden
  • Jim Kelly, University of Miami, Hall of Famer
  • Ron Dayne, University of Wisconsin, Heisman Trophy winner
  • Antonio Freeman, Virginia Tech University
  • LaVar Arrington, Penn State University, Dick Butkus award winner
  • Sgt Bruce Adams, Army, Prichard, Ala.  
  • SPC Danyul Davis, Army, Houston, Texas   
  • Sgt Louis Davis, Army, Ft. Bragg, N.C.   
  • PO1 Terry Eady, Navy, Ocilla, Ga. 
  • Capt Benjamin Freer, Air Force, Las Vegas, Nev.  
  • TSgt Zachary Lambert, Air Force, Eugene, Ore.   
  • CMSgt Edward Madden, Air Force, Troy, Pa.   
  • Sgt Zambiaski Miller, Army, Montgomery, Ala.   
  • Sgt Fabio Nicolas, Army, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  • SPC Anthony Reemes, Army, Leicester, N.C.   
  • Sgt Jamian Slade, Army, Newport News, Va.   
  • 1SG Ryan Willis, Army, New Iberia, La.  

The Tostitos "Connect to Home Bowl" was a down-to-the-wire nail-biter played under the night skies of Iraq, highlighted by exciting passing games from Team Liberty's Jim Kelly and Team Freedom's Rodney Peete. With seconds left in the game, Team Freedom scored on a pass from Peete to Zach Thomas, who tossed a lateral to SPC Tyler Klabenes (Army) to run the ball in for a touchdown, putting the Gene Stallings-led crew ahead by two points and an all-but-certain victory in their reach. Fueled by sheer determination, Bobby Bowden's Team Liberty quickly regrouped and on the last play of the game with one second left on the clock, Kelly launched a Hail Mary pass from Liberty's 30-yard line and connected with Sgt Bruce Adams (Army) in the end zone for a dramatic victory that had heads spinning, crowds cheering and flashbulbs popping. Team Liberty ultimately bested Team Freedom 48-44. Sgt Adams was named MVP.

In addition to the excitement on the field, the Tostitos Connect to Home Bowl and the USO brought troops all the elements of a true bowl game experience including a pre-game pep rally, tailgate experience, and multiple meet and greet sessions with players and coaches.

Fans can see more exciting highlights from the Tostitos Connect to Home Bowl, including extended game footage and interviews with the military and celebrity players and coaches by visiting   This exciting story will continue during the national broadcast of the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game on ESPN on January 10, 2011 where more details and a special conclusion to the program will honor the families of the troops who played in the game in Iraq.  

PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generates more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses - Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade - also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in more than 200 countries. With annualized revenues of nearly $60 billion, PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. For more information, please visit

The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America's troops and their families millions of times each year at thousands of places worldwide.  We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops and their families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.

The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors.  In addition to individual donors and other corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by Worldwide Strategic Partners American Airlines, AT&T Inc., BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Clear Channel Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Gallery Furniture, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Procter & Gamble and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381).  To join us in this patriotic mission and to learn more about the USO, please visit

SOURCE Frito-Lay