Well, it’s official – the Arkansas Razorbacks beat the East Carolina Pirates 20-17 to win the Liberty Bowl in overtime.
Yes, there have been a slew of bowls over the past few days. Rumor has it you’ve even got a national championship game in a few days.
We in the Natural State only gave a damn about one game and that was the Liberty Bowl (I know that’s true of a lot of us, at least). We’re just happy that Arkansas managed to win.
Frankly, I’m more than a bit amazed.
“But, The Hawg,” you might say. “Why are you amazed? Arkansas should have won that game.”
The only answer I can say is that Arkansas, historically, has been terrible in bowl games. Sure, the Hogs had some success in the old Southwest Conference, but the Razorbacks have found all sorts of odd ways to lose bowl games since joining the Southeastern Conference.
Hell, the Razorbacks lost to UNLV in the Las Vegas Bowl back in 2000, of all things. That was the worst bowl game loss in recent memory, but the Hogs have been decidedly underwhelming in a lot of bowls over the years.
Besides, East Carolina is a very good team. The Pirates won the Conference USA title and has offensive and defensive linemen that are both quick and ridiculously large.
At any rate, Arkansas’ win in the Liberty Bowl boiled down to one thing – the Pirates’ kicker was worse than the Razorbacks’. Arkansas tried to give the game away quite a few times, in fact, and the Hogs’ offense was terrible (you can credit the solid defense for at least 10 points due to grabbing a couple of interceptions).
Neither team could brag much about their kicking games. The Pirates missed four field goals and Alex Tejada – the kicker for the Razorbacks – managed to mess one up, too.
That’s the thing about Tejada – that kid folds faster than Superman on laundry day when he’s under any pressure at all. He’s been underwhelming in a number of games over the past three years, in fact.
Fortunately, he came through when he was needed the most when he kicked the game winning field goal in the Liberty Bowl. Good for him.
So congratulations to the Razorbacks. They didn’t look great tonight, but at least that got that victory and they managed to beat a good team, to boot.