Arkansas’ late rally was not enough to avoid a 21-19 loss to Liberty

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Down 16 points at the start of the final quarter, the Arkansas Razorbacks turned the ball over on downs to end a drive that lasted 5:40 and resulted in no points.

The fourth down play was a sack to Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson, the fourth Liberty sack of the day and the 13th tackle for loss. The result was boo birds echoing across Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Things seemed to be all but over at that point, but the Razorbacks had something different in mind.

After an interception thrown by KJ Jefferson with 12:58 left in the fourth quarter, freshman Quincey McAdoo recorded his first career interception to give the Hogs the ball back on the next play.

The Razorbacks scored their first offensive points of the game after a 17-play, 84-yard drive resulted in a 5-yard touchdown catch by Trey Knox. A two-point conversion from Rocket Sanders made it a one-score game.

Arkansas’ defense came through once again, forcing a Liberty punt on the next drive. The defense held an opponent scoreless in the second half for the first time on the season.

The offense drove 85 yards on seven plays to score on an 8-yard pass from Jefferson to Knox. Jefferson’s QB keeper on the two-point conversion was short of the goal line, and all of the air was taken out of the stadium after the review resulted in the call on the field standing. Liberty recovered Arkansas’ onside kick and kneeled out the remainder of the clock.

Arkansas out-gained Liberty 428-315, but a pair of turnovers and 14 tackles for loss allowed was too much to overcome.

Here’s a recap of the Hogs’ fourth loss of the season:

First Half:

After the first seven combined drives of the game resulted in a punt, Liberty started its fourth possession of the game with a 31-yard pass from Johnathan Bennett to Demario Douglas. Three plays later, Bennett found Noah Frith for a 16-yard score right before the end of the first quarter.

The Hogs responded with a 7-play, 38-yard drive that resulted in a turnover on downs at the start of the second quarter after Jefferson missed Ketron Jackson Jr. on a crosser.

Liberty took advantage of starting on its own 47-yard line and drove down to score on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Bennett to Douglas that made it 14-0 with 11:00 left in the first half.

Following another Arkansas punt, the Razorbacks’ defense stepped up with a pair of sacks and forced a Liberty three-and-out.

Things looked to be going well for the Hogs after three runs for 50 yards from Sanders. Jefferson went to the air, but was picked off in the end zone on a ball that hit off the hands of tight end Trey Knox — the same sequence that happened on Jefferson’s only other interception this season.

The Flames drove 80 yards in 10 plays and capped things off with Bennett’s third touchdown pass of the half, this time an 18-yarder to Treon Sibley.

With just 0:35 left on the clock, the Hogs were able to capitalize on an 18-yard catch from Jadon Haselwood and a 22-yard catch from Matt Landers. Kicker Cam Little’s 50-yard field goal was good as time expired to make it a 21-3 Liberty lead going into the break.

Second Half

Liberty opened the third quarter with the ball, but the Flames were stopped by the Hogs on fourth down at the Arkansas 17-yard line, bringing life to the crowd at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Arkansas’ first drive of the half resulted in its sixth punt of the game and some boos from the home crowd. Those boos turned into cheers when Liberty went three-and-out on the next drive and freshman Quincey McAdoo blocked the Flames’ punt and it rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety that made it a 21-5 Liberty advantage.

The Hogs took over with 5:28 left on the clock in the third quarter down 16 points, and they were at the Liberty 41-yard line as time expired in the quarter.

Arkansas’ defense held once again, forcing another Liberty punt. On the first play of the Arkansas drive, Jefferson threw his second interception of the game.

The very next play, McAdoo grabbed his first career interception to give the ball right back to the Hogs.

McAdoo’s pick gave the offense some momentum and it took advantage. The Hogs drove 84 yards on 17 plays to cap things off with a 5-yard touchdown catch by Knox. Sanders punched in the two-point conversion to make it a 21-13 Liberty lead with 7:42 remaining.

After forcing a Liberty punt, the Hogs went 85 yards on seven plays to score on an 8-yard pass from Jefferson to Knox. Jefferson was short of the line on a QB keeper for the two-point conversion, resulting in a 21-19 score.

The Razorbacks’ onside kick was unsuccessful and Liberty kneeled the clock out to hand the Hogs their fourth loss of the season.

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