What do cybersecurity and college football have in common? This past weekend—a lot! This year’s ReliaQuest Bowl (formerly the Outback Bowl from 1996–2022 and the Hall of Fame Bowl from 1986–1995) brought Mississippi State and Illinois to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, to fight for the title of bowl game champion in front of more than 35,000 fans.

Cybersecurity is a team sport and one of the greatest technical challenges of our generation. Like football, cybersecurity success requires accountability, focus, and commitment to win the “game.” Our sponsorship of the ReliaQuest Bowl shows our commitment to raising awareness of cybersecurity while celebrating the commitment of student-athletes and their supporting team and community that help them achieve success. ReliaQuest makes security possible, and our sponsorship of this historic bowl game falls in line with our company mindset of “chasing possible.”

ReliaQuest CEO greets referee at the start of the 2023 ReliaQuest Bowl

A Moment Bigger Than the Game

The Mississippi State Bulldogs came away with the win in their first game since the passing of legendary coach Mike Leach.

Prior to the start of the game, there was a moment of silence and tribute from fans, coaches, and players across the stadium for Coach Leach, who led the Bulldogs for the past three years. The Bulldogs wore a pirate flag on their helmets to honor their late coach—nicknamed “The Pirate”—who died December 12 from a heart condition.

Honoring Players and Community with the ReliaQuest Make It Possible Award

For a team to be successful, each person must commit to their role on the team and execute consistently. There are some roles that are routinely celebrated when teams win, while there are other roles that may be less visible. This is certainly true in cybersecurity, and it’s also true on the football field. That’s why the ReliaQuest Bowl honored players from both teams through the Make It Possible teammate award.

The Make It Possible award is for a player whose attitude, energy, and effort made it possible for the team to earn the right to compete in the ReliaQuest Bowl.

The crowd at the 2023 ReliaQuest Bowl

Celebrating Teammates on the Field

This year’s recipients were Illinois defensive back Jartavius “Quan” Martin and Mississippi State defensive tackle Cameron Young.

According to his teammates, “Quan” Martin has been an exceptional unsung star for Illinois’s top-ranked defense. The versatile and consistent Martin can play both safety and cornerback, helping the Illini enter bowl season leading the nation in interceptions, passing efficiency defense, and takeaways. Martin’s tough, smart, and dependable nature embodies the spirit of the Fighting Illini and the ReliaQuest Make It Possible award.

Cameron Young is a three-year starter at defensive tackle for the Bulldogs. He has been a mainstay on and off the field during his time in Starkville. Young embodies the Bulldog mentality, leading by actions over words. He is the ultimate competitor and teammate.

Recognizing Teammates in Our Community

After the first and third quarters of the game, ReliaQuest recognized the following Make It Possible teammate honorees from organizations including Junior Achievement, 3DE, and Think Big for Kids:

  • Stephanie Docsol, Junior Achievement BizTown Director
  • Angelica Tobar, Junior Achievement Finance Park Director
  • Carol Williams, Junior Achievement Career Center Director
  • Kelvin Pruitt, 3DE By Junior Achievement Director
  • Allison Spurrier, Mentor, Think Big for Kids
  • Ja’Niyah Hodges-Cumming, Mentee, Think Big for Kids

Recipients of the ReliaQuest Make It Possible award

ReliaQuest celebrated these community members’ efforts to make it possible for children to have access to a better education and the tools they need to succeed in a career.

In our first year as the official sponsors of the bowl, we’re thrilled to have been able to recognize passionate teammates on and off the field—including Illinois and Mississippi State and a number of local community organizations, Junior Achievement, 3DE and Think Big for Kids—with the Make It Possible award. With yesterday’s game, we took a major step toward spreading cybersecurity awareness. We’re eager to continue identifying ways to raise awareness of the opportunities within the cybersecurity industry while continuing to invest in both our local and larger communities. We look forward to next year’s ReliaQuest Bowl!

Learn More about the ReliaQuest Bowl at : https://www.reliaquestbowl.com/