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Arkansas outlasts Kansas in Liberty Bowl

Quarterback KJ Jefferson recorded 417 total yards and four touchdowns to lift the Razorbacks to their second consecutive winning season.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Arkansas held off a furious comeback attempt to escape Kansas 55-53 in triple overtime at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Wednesday at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.

The victory over the Jayhawks (6-7) gives the Razorbacks (7-6) their second consecutive winning season as the program improves to 17-24-3 all-time in bowl games.

Junior quarterback KJ Jefferson was named Liberty Bowl MVP after completing 19-of-29 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also made an impact on the ground with 130 yards on 14 carries and two more scores.

Arkansas freshman running back Rashod Dubinion earned offensive player of the game with 112 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, while junior defensive back Dwight McGlothern was the defensive player of the game after securing an interception and 10 total tackles (6 solo).

The Hogs' defense provided an early spark as the unit held Kansas to just 13 points in the first half. Following a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to freshman wide receiver Ty Washington, freshman defensive back Quincey McAdoo picked off Kansas junior quarterback Jalon Daniels to put the Razorbacks on their own 27-yard line.

Jefferson then marched the Hogs 73 yards down the field, capping an 11-play drive with a three-yard rushing touchdown to give Arkansas a 24-7 lead.

In total, Arkansas's defense forced three turnovers and allowed 603 total yards of offense.

The Razorbacks led 38-13 with 5:32 left in the third quarter, but the 25-point deficit didn't affect Kansas.

Sophomore running back Ky Thomas got the Jayhawks' offense rolling with a two-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Following a series of punts, freshman kicker Owen Piepergerdes converted a 36-yard field goal with 14:07 left in the fourth quarter to cut the Hogs' lead to 38-23.

With just over three minutes to play and trailing by 15 points, Kansas buckled down.

Redshirt junior safety Marvin Grant forced Arkansas senior wide receiver Matt Landers to fumble and Kansas sophomore cornerback Cobee Bryant recovered to give the Jayhawks possession at the Hogs' 48-yard line.

Daniels drove Kansas down the field and found redshirt sophomore wide receiver Doug Emilien for a 10-yard touchdown. 

The Jayhawks recovered the ensuing onside kick and Daniels made the Razorbacks pay with a game-tying 21-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Luke Grimm.

Kansas scored 18 unanswered points to tie the game 38-38 and force overtime.

The Razorbacks and Jayhawks went three rounds in overtime with Jefferson delivering the final blow, finding Dubinion on a two-point conversion to give the Hogs a 55-53 victory.

Landers led all Hogs receivers with three catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. Arkansas finished with season-highs in total yards of offense (681) and points (55). The 55 points are the most the program has ever scored in a bowl game.

Senior defensive lineman Jordan Domineck, freshman defensive lineman Cameron Ball and senior defensive lineman Terry Hampton all recorded sacks to give Arkansas 42 on the season, which is a program record.

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