Arkansas withstands furious Kansas rally, wins Liberty Bowl

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – KJ Jefferson passed to Rashod Dubinion for a 2-point conversion in the third overtime and Arkansas held off a furious second-half rally by Kansas for a 55-53 win the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Wednesday night.

The Jayhawks had rallied from 25 points down in the second half to force overtime. In the third extra period, a failed 2-point conversion pass from Jason Bean to Lawrence Arnold ended a four-and-a-half hour marathon.

“We got lucky at the end, but we’re Liberty Bowl champs and I’m pretty excited,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said.

Arkansas (7-6) celebrated the win prematurely in the second overtime after stopping Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels just shy of the goal line on a 2-point conversion try. But a targeting call on Arkansas’ Quincey McAdoo gave the Jayhawks another try, and they converted.

Jefferson passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 130 yards and two more scores to lead the Razorbacks.

Arkansas and Kansas met for the first time in 116 years, and the Razorbacks used an old-school rushing attack to prevail. Arkansas gained 394 of its 681 total yards on the ground. Rashod Dubinion added 112 yards for the Razorbacks.

Kansas (6-7) played in its first bowl game since 2008, but was unable to stop a late-season streak in which they lost seven of their last eight games. Daniels passed for 544 yards and five touchdowns. He set Liberty Bowl records for passing yards, touchdown passes, completions (37) and total TDs scored (6).

Arkansas was dominating despite playing with a roster thinned out opt-outs and transfer portal departures. The Razorbacks dressed only 51 scholarship players.

After leading 31-13 at halftime, Arkansas pushed its advantage to 38-13 midway through the third quarter on a 2-yard run by Dubinion. The TD ended an 80-yard drive.

The 25-point deficit ignited the Jayhawks.

THE TAKEAWAY

During a span of eight seconds in the first quarter, Arkansas scored twice to erase a 7-3 deficit and take a 17-7 lead. An Arkansas interception about two minutes later near the Razorbacks’ 10-yard line ignited a 73-yard scoring drive that ended on a short touchdown run by Jefferson for a 24-7 lead. Arkansas led 38-13 late in the third before Kansas rallied.

UP NEXT

Arkansas: Begins its fourth season under Pittman against Western Carolina on Sept. 2.

Kansas: Opens Lance Leipold‘s third season, also on Sept. 2, at home against the Missouri State.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.