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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Arkansas Accepts Invitation to Play Kansas in Autozone Liberty Bowl

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Spring football practice for the Arkansas Razorbacks will unofficially start in December of 2022 when the Hogs begin bowl practice to play in the Autozone Liberty Bowl later this month. Undoubtedly, one of the biggest benefits of playing in a bowl game, regardless of stature, are the additional practices the team will now have to prepare for the game. It is a time when teams can give younger players additional practice time before the official start of spring practice in March.

Arkansas, who limped to the finish line this year with a season-ending loss at Missouri, finished the season 6-6 after several close losses throughout the year. Since the loss at Columbia, several players have entered the NCAA transfer portal, and one standout in particular, Jadon Haselwood, has declared his eligibility for the NFL draft.

The University of Arkansas released the following information yesterday regarding the Hogs’ acceptance of the bid to play in the Liberty Bowl:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks are headed to Memphis to take on Kansas in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 28 at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN.

For the third straight season under Head Coach Sam Pittman, the Hogs have received an invite to a bowl game making Pittman the fourth Arkansas coach to ever achieve bowl eligibility in each of first three years alongside Houston Nutt, Ken Hatfield and Lou Holtz. This year’s trip to the Liberty Bowl will mark Arkansas’ sixth appearance in the game dating back to the program’s first trip in 1971. The Razorbacks last played in the Liberty Bowl in 2016 – a 45-23 victory over Kansas State.

“We’re extremely excited to be headed to Memphis to play a really good Kansas team in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl,” Arkansas Head Coach Sam Pittman said. “Coach Leipold and his staff have done a tremendous job with their team, and we look forward to the challenge. For us, the opportunity to play a bowl game in what we consider our backyard is going to be special. We can’t wait to see our fans in Memphis in a few weeks.”

Arkansas will meet Kansas on the gridiron for just the third time in history with the only two games coming in 1905 and 1906. Arkansas opened the 1905 season with a 6-0 home loss to the Jayhawks and dropped a 37-5 decision at Kansas the following season.

The Liberty Bowl will be Arkansas’ 44th bowl appearance after the Razorbacks wrapped up a 6-6 season. QB KJ Jefferson, who announced his plans to return for the 2023 season last week, led the Hogs with 2,361 yards passing and 22 touchdowns to go with 510 yards rushing and seven more TDs despite missing two games. RB Raheim Sanders finished the regular season with 1,426 yards rushing – the second-most in the SEC and 12th nationally – and a team-high 10 touchdowns. The Arkansas defense wrapped up the regular season with 39 sacks – one shy of the school record set in 1998 – to lead the SEC and rank fifth nationally.

Liberty Bowl Tickets

Season ticket holders and Razorback Foundation members who pre-ordered Liberty Bowl tickets will have their order request fulfilled. Those who pre-ordered can expect to receive an email from the Razorback Ticket Center early this week and credit cards will be charged on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

For fans who did not pre-order, a limited number of Liberty Bowl tickets will go on sale on Sunday evening on a first-come, first-served basis. The seating locations will be allocated in Razorback Foundation priority point order. A limited number of tickets will be available to the general public on Sunday evening by visiting arkansasrazorbacks.com.

Student Tickets

University of Arkansas students can expect to receive an email with ticket on-sale information Sunday evening for the allotment of tickets specifically reserved for Arkansas students.”

RNN Sports will have coverage of the Hogs game in Memphis later in the month. And on behalf of everyone at RNN Sports, we thank you for following our coverage of Razorbacks football this year, and we sincerely appreciate your loyalty, subscriptions, and comments regarding our coverage. On a personal note, I would also like to thank our photographers, James Shelly, Selena Shelly, and Ronni Tate Young who brought our readers great field-level photos of Razorbacks football this fall!

See you in Memphis on December 28!

Note to Our Readers: Portions of this story were sourced directly from the University of Arkansas Office of Communications, Kyle Parkinson.

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Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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