Liberty Bowl Preview Capsule
Arkansas (7-5, Southeastern Conference) vs. Kansas State (6-6, Big 12), 3:20 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Arkansas by 12 ½
Series Record: Kansas State 3-2
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Arkansas is seeking its first eight-win season since 2011. The Razorbacks also could get capture their third straight bowl victory, which would be the longest such streak in school history. This game also determines whether Kansas State finishes above or below .500. Kansas State hasn’t had a losing season since Bill Snyder began his second stint as the Wildcats’ coach in 2009.
Arkansas running back Alex Collins vs. Kansas State run defense: Kansas State’s chances of pulling the upset depend on making sure the Razorbacks don’t run wild. Arkansas’ offense is more balanced than usual this season, but the Razorbacks’ ground attack remains potent. Collins has rushed for 1,392 yards and 17 touchdowns in his third straight 1,000-yard season. He runs behind a mammoth offensive line that has a major size advantage over Kansas State’s defensive front. Kansas State ranks second in the Big 12 in run defense but is allowing 4.3 yards per carry.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Arkansas: TE Hunter Henry: The Associated Press All-America first-team tight end has 46 catches for 647 yards and three touchdowns. He leads all tight ends in yards receiving, first-down catches (32) and gains of 15-plus yards (19). According to Arkansas’ sports information department, Henry hasn’t dropped a pass all season.
Kansas State: CB/KR Morgan Burns: He has scored touchdowns on four kickoff returns this season and also has 34 tackles and 11 passes defensed as a starting cornerback. He could tie a Football Bowl Subdivision single-season record Saturday by producing a fifth touchdown on a kickoff return.
FACTS & FIGURES
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was an assistant on Synder’s staff at Kansas State in 2002-03. ... While Arkansas has been known primarily for its rushing attack during Bielema’s tenure, quarterback Brandon Allen has a school-record 63 career touchdown passes. ... Kansas State is on a three-game winning streak, while Arkansas has won five of its last six. ... Kansas State has lost six of its last seven bowl games. ... This marks the second time in the last five years these teams have met in a bowl game. Arkansas capped the 2011 season by beating Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl.