Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Game Preview
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL
Arkansas vs. Kansas State
Fanpicks.com is proud to bring you the Autozone Liberty Bowl game preview featuring Arkansas against Kansas State. This will prove to be a one-sided game… Kansas State will go down to Arkansas… who will be victorious 39-24. Play the best fantasy college football contests at Fanpicks.com
A pair of major-conference schools that are no strangers to bowl games — Arkansas and Kansas State — face off in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Jan. 2. The Razorbacks are in their seventh bowl game in the last nine seasons, which includes a victory over the Wildcats in the 2012 Cotton Bowl, while Kansas State is in a bowl game for the sixth straight season. Coaches Bret Bielema and Bill Snyder have plenty of experience in bowl games as well, combining for 10 victories in their 23 bowl appearances as head coaches.
After a 2-4 start to the season, the Razorbacks came roaring back to finish the regular season at 7-5, with the lone loss being a 51-50 shootout to Mississippi State. The Wildcats, on the other hand, had to recover with wins in their last three games just to get to 6-6, with a five-game losing streak putting them in that hole. Arkansas will look to control the clock with its running game, which averages 192.6 yards, while Kansas State’s run defense will try to slow down the Razorbacks after holding opponents to 159.4 yards on the ground.
The two coaches in the game, Snyder and Bielema, are more than familiar with each other, having coached together with the Wildcats in 2002 and 2003. Bielema served as Snyder’s co-defensive coordinator those years before moving on to Wisconsin. Both have roots with Iowa as well, where Bielema was a player, graduate assistant and linebackers coach prior to joining Snyder’s staff, and Snyder spent nine seasons from 1979 to 1988 as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
KANSAS STATE Season Overview (6-6, 2-6 Big 12): As they head into the Liberty Bowl, the Wildcats are still unsure who will start under center, with Joe Hubener and Kody Cook both remaining options. Hubener has the gaudier stats, throwing for 1,837 yards and nine touchdowns to go with nine interceptions, while Cook, a receiver with 27 catches when he’s not at quarterback, had 284 yards passing with three touchdowns and three interceptions. “We practice both of them there every single day,” Snyder told reporters. “They take an equal amount of reps, which has been reasonably consistent throughout the latter stages of the season. Nothing changes there.”
ARKANSAS Season Overview (7-5, 5-3 SEC): If there’s one player the Razorbacks want to get going in the bowl game, it’s junior running back Alex Collins, who has been on a roll in the late part of the season. Collins had six 100-yard games in SEC action this year, equalling the school record, and his 17 touchdowns are tied for second-most in Arkansas single-season history. While the Wildcats will be keying on Collins to try to slow down the Razorbacks’ ground attack, look for him to get the ball plenty early in the game to try to set up the rest of the Arkansas offense.