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NCAA Bowl Previews 2015/16: AutoZone Liberty Bowl

The second game of the day pits the Arkansas Razorbacks against the Kansas State Wildcats in the second SEC vs. Big 12 matchup of Bowl seaso


The second game of the day pits the Arkansas Razorbacks against the Kansas State Wildcats in the second SEC vs. Big 12 matchup of Bowl season. The Razorbacks did not start the season how they would’ve hoped, they lost 4 of their first 6 and a Bowl game didn’t seem like it was on the horizon. However, they won 5 of their last 6 – including 2 overtime wins – to secure their second straight 7-win season and they’ll be looking to win their third straight Bowl game. The Razorbacks success is in large part thanks to a fairly dangerous offense. They rank 32nd in total yards per game (457 YPG), 33rd in passing yards per game (264.3 PYG), 39th in rushing yards per game (192.6 RYG) and 27th in points per game (35.2 PPG). Defensively, they allow 404 YPG (72nd), 284.5 PYG (121st), 119.6 RYG (16th) and 27.8 PPG (75th). One position that is high in demand at the moment is tight end, specifically a receiving tight end, and junior TE Hunter Henry is exactly that. At 6’5”, 253lbs he looks the part, but he isn’t only a big body. He has impressive, fluid athleticism which makes him a complete mismatch against linebackers and safeties and he can out muscle corners. He rarely drops the ball thanks to his very strong and reliable hands, and his tracking and focus let him win lots of contested catches. He does need work as a blocker though as he often lines up in the slot. He is yet to declare for the draft but he is certainly worth keeping an eye on. OG Sebastien Tretola, RB Alex Collins, QB Brandon Allen, FB Kody Walker, C Mitch Smothers and SS Rohan Gaines will be looking to make a big impact in their final game for the Razorbacks. The Wildcats won three straight games to start the season but lost their next six to slump to a 3-6 record and make a third straight Bowl game quite a task. Nevertheless, they won their final three games to secure a Bowl bid and they are now looking to win their second Bowl game in their last 7 attempts. The Wildcats 6-6 record is reflected in their stats. They managed just 341 YPG (77th), 187.1 PYG (108th), 164.3 RYG (74th) and 30.5 PPG (57th). Defensively, they rank 101st (443 YPG), 120th in passing (283.1 PYG), 55th in rushing (159.4 RYG) and 90th in scoring (30.3 PPG). More often than not, fans forget about the position that makes an offense tick, the offensive line. The Wildcats OG Cody Whitehair is the Wildcats best chance of having a 1st round draft pick. Though Whitehair plays left tackle for the Wildcats, he projects as a guard in the NFL. He has a wide base and sinks his hips nicely to stay balanced at the point of attack. He squares up well to defenders and he does well keeping them away from the ball carrier thanks to a well-timed and placed punch. Furthermore, he has the awareness, vision an instincts that scouts will love to see, though he does need to add a little nastiness to his game. Also looking to make an impact for the Wildcats are; CB Morgan Burns, DT Travis Britz, WR Kyle Klein, OT Matt Kleinsorge and K Jack Cantele. If you want to watch this game, or any of the other Bowl games, the complete Bowl schedule can be found here, where you’ll be able to see how and when you can watch every game.  

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Remy Cabache

Lifetime sports fan. I have written with RealSport since the NFL section started and I have also written for my own blog, EbonyBird.com and I have had several articles published in local newspapers covering my local (American) football team.

NCAA Bowl Previews 2015/16: AutoZone Liberty Bowl

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