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Arkansas tops Kansas State in Liberty Bowl

by Matt Jones | January 2, 2016 at 5:51 p.m.
Arkansas running back Alex Collins (3) scores a touchdown on a 13-yard run against Kansas State in the first half of the Liberty Bowl NCAA college football game Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

— Alex Collins rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns, and Arkansas beat Kansas State 45-23 in the Liberty Bowl on Saturday.

Collins scored on touchdown runs of 22 and 13 yards in the first half to help the Razorbacks to a 24-13 halftime lead.

Named the bowl's most valuable player, Collins also had a 68-yard kickoff return to help set up a score before halftime and added a 14-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Possibly playing in his last collegiate game, Collins broke the Razorbacks' single-season record with 20 rushing touchdowns. He also tied Darren McFadden with his 10th game of at least 100 rushing yards.

Arkansas (8-5) won its third straight bowl game dating to a win over the Wildcats in the Cotton Bowl four years ago. The Razorbacks won bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.

The win gave the Southeastern Conference eight this bowl season, breaking the NCAA record.

Arkansas overcame a shaky start that included Brandon Allen throwing an interception on the third play from scrimmage. Kansas State scored four plays later on a 10-yard run by Winston Dimel to take a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

After Collins scored his first touchdown on the ensuing drive, the Wildcats regained the lead 10-7 on a 36-yard field goal by Matthew McCrane, but the Razorbacks took the lead for good late in the first quarter on a 13-yard touchdown run by Jared Cornelius.

Kansas State (6-7) pulled within 24-20 on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Kody Cook to Dimel early in the second quarter, but could get no closer.

Arkansas scored on its next three possessions, including a 6-yard pass from Allen to Jeremy Sprinkle and a 10-yard run by Kody Walker.

Allen completed 20 of 26 passes for 315 yards.

The Razorbacks out-gained Kansas State 569-242 in total offense.

An announced crowd of 61,136 watched the game. It was the fourth largest attendance in the bowl's history.

Read Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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