Get your fix of college football Wednesday evening as the Kansas Jayhawks (6-6) square off with the Arkansas Razorbacks (6-6) in this year’s Liberty Bowl. This game will be played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 5:30 pm ET.
Kansas finished the season seventh in the Big 12 with a 3-6 conference record, but they finished 3-0 outside of the conference. They come into this game on a three-game losing streak, including a 47-27 loss to No. 11 Kansas State in their last game over a month ago.
Arkansas is also looking to finish on a high note after dropping three of their last four games. In their last game, they lost to Missouri 29-27 on the road. KJ Jefferson threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for Arkansas to pull off the win.
The Razorbacks come into this one as the favorites. They are -144 to win, while the Jayhawks’ moneyline sits at +120. The spread features Kansas as a 2.5-point underdog, with the over/under for total points at 68.5 (-110).
Kansas Looking For First Winning Season In Over A Decade
For many programs, a 6-6 season would largely be considered a disappointment; however, there is excitement around the Jayhawks right now. Not only are they playing in their first bowl game since 2008, but a win on Thursday would secure their first winning season since that same year.
Leading the Jayhawks under center is Jalon Daniels. Missing several games due to a shoulder injury, Daniels threw for 1,470 yards, 13 touchdowns, and just two interceptions this season. He also rushed 63 times for 398 yards and another six scores.
The leading rusher for the Jayhawks is sophomore running back Devin Neal. He rushed 171 times this season for 1,061 yards and nine touchdowns.
Overall, the offense ranked 29th this season, averaging 32.2 points per game. The Jayhawks have struggled a bit more on the defensive side, giving up 36 points per game (ranked 121st overall).
Arkansas Will Have Their Star Quarterback Under Center
The story around the Arkansas Razorbacks is who they will be missing in this game. While several players have either opted out due to preparing for the NFL Draft or because they are entering the transfer portal, there is one significant player returning for this game.
Quarterback KJ Jefferson has announced that he is returning for his senior season and will be playing in this contest. Given that Jefferson gives Arkansas’ offense a major weapon both on the ground and through the air, that is great news for Razorbacks’ fans.
This season, he threw for 2,361 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. He also rushed for 510 yards and another seven scores.
Also playing in this game is running back Raheim Sanders (1,426 yards rushing, ten touchdowns) and wide receiver Matt Landers (780 yards, seven touchdowns).
The biggest absence for the Razorbacks might be linebacker Drew Sanders, as he has opted out to prepare for the draft. This season, Sanders led the team with 103 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He also added an interception for good measure.
Take Arkansas To Win And Cover
Without a doubt, Kansas has the luxury of continuity as they have suffered a far less significant impact in regards to players opting out of this game.
Still, Arkansas just has a more talented pool of players, even with the absence of several of their starters. KJ Jefferson alone might be the difference against a Kansas team that struggles to stop people on the defensive side.
Looking at the trends, Kansas is just 1-6 in their last seven games and 1-4 against the spread in their last five. For Arkansas, they are 4-2 against the spread in their last six games and 9-2 against the spread in their last 11 versus Big 12 opponents.
Take Arkansas to not only win this one, but to cover the modest 2.5-point spread as well (-122).