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Zach Collaros to start Liberty Bowl

Cincinnati will start quarterback Zach Collaros in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Vanderbilt, coach Butch Jones announced after practice Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.

Collaros broke his ankle in a loss to West Virginia on Nov. 12 and missed the final three games of the regular season. But he returned to practice several weeks ago and appeared to be the favorite all this week to start the game Saturday.

Getting the senior quarterback for the game should be a huge boost for a Bearcats offense that was inconsistent with Munchie Legaux and Jordan Luallen sharing the snaps behind center. Collaros, a senior, has thrown for 1,854 yards this season, with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

"He's done an outstanding job," Jones told reporters. "He's worked himself back into being game ready. Today was a culmination of a couple weeks and we wanted to see how he would mange the game-like situations today. He's 100 percent."

Jones said Collaros has been battling the flu more than his ankle in the past few days.

Andrea Adelson covers Big East football for ESPN.com.