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KJ Jefferson, Arkansas Praised by CFB Twitter for Wild Win vs. Kansas in Liberty Bowl

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 29, 2022

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 28: Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) in action during the AutoZone Liberty Bowl between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Arkansas Razorbacks on December 28, 2022 at the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, TN. (Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the most entering and chaotic games of this entire college football season went down at the Liberty Bowl on Wednesday as Arkansas held off Kansas for a 55-53 triple overtime victory.

Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson stole the show in Memphis. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 287 yards and two scores (one interception).

This 59-yarder to Matt Landers in the first quarter gave Arkansas a 9-7 edge.

SEC Network @SECNetwork

LANDERS COMING UP CLUTCH FOR THE HOGS πŸ— <a href="https://twitter.com/RazorbackFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RazorbackFB</a> <a href="https://t.co/ffT7ZQK7hA">pic.twitter.com/ffT7ZQK7hA</a>

On the ground, Jefferson rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. He also authored one of the most eye-popping plays of the evening with this 32-yard run that could have easily ended as a sack before Jefferson pinballed off/dragged defenders.

Arkansas Razorback Football @RazorbackFB

How is this man real <a href="https://t.co/kfiNfx67h2">pic.twitter.com/kfiNfx67h2</a>

Arkansas scored 24 first-quarter points early and held a 38-13 third-quarter lead thanks largely to Jefferson, but Kansas closed regulation with 25 straight points to force overtime.

KU quarterback Jalon Daniels threw for more than three-tenths of a mile (544 yards) and five touchdowns. He found Douglas Emilien for 10 yards with 1:05 remaining, and the ensuing extra point cut the Arkansas lead to 38-30.

Kansas Football @KU_Football

Never count us out.<br><br>8-point game with 1:09 to play. <a href="https://t.co/xGA9YQNa8S">pic.twitter.com/xGA9YQNa8S</a>

A successful onside kick put the ball back in Jefferson's hands, and Daniels went back to work.

Kansas Football @KU_Football

Who else but <a href="https://twitter.com/Kennylogan23?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Kennylogan23</a>!!! <a href="https://t.co/KUAsnKfrmk">pic.twitter.com/KUAsnKfrmk</a>

Four plays later, Daniels hit Luke Grimm for a 21-yard touchdown before hitting Lawrence Arnold for the two-point conversion and the 38-all tie.

Kansas Football @KU_Football

Did you really think Jalon wouldn't get the 2 point conversion?? 😏 <a href="https://t.co/PnQrQp9f0Z">pic.twitter.com/PnQrQp9f0Z</a>

Both teams matched each other in the scoring department in the first and second overtimes. Daniels hit Jared Casey for a touchdown in the first overtime before running in for a two-yard score in the second OT. He then passed to Casey for a two-pointer and a 53-53 tie.

But Jefferson was simply too good on this day. In the second OT, he ran for a 20-yard touchdown and connected with Jaedon Wilson for a two-point conversion. He also started the third OT, which kickstarted a series of two-point tries, by finding Rashod Dubinion for two points.

Arkansas Razorback Football @RazorbackFB

THE WINNING TWO POINT ATTEMPT <a href="https://t.co/Zl4WhX1mSm">pic.twitter.com/Zl4WhX1mSm</a>

In response, KU threw an incomplete pass on its two-point try, and that was the ballgame.

One of the best games of the season ended with both Jefferson and Daniels starring, but in the end, the former earned the Liberty Bowl MVP award.

He also received plenty of praise on Twitter for his sensational performance.

Tim Murray @1TimMurray

Live look at KJ Jefferson vs the Kansas defense <a href="https://t.co/oB7AEPH851">pic.twitter.com/oB7AEPH851</a>

Harold R. Kuntz @HaroldRKuntz3

Think KJ Jefferson is going to collect this Liberty Bowl MVP Hardware. <a href="https://t.co/MqbQwEFMHP">pic.twitter.com/MqbQwEFMHP</a>

Austin Cook @ADCook153

This KJ Jefferson guy is quite good πŸ˜‚

Matt Gajewski @Matt_Gajewski

Better believe KJ Jefferson lifts weights <a href="https://t.co/bQLeoAz31C">pic.twitter.com/bQLeoAz31C</a>

PFF College @PFF_College

KJ Jefferson at the half in the Liberty Bowl:<br><br>πŸ— 11/18<br>πŸ— 268 Total Yards<br>πŸ— 3 Total TDs <a href="https://t.co/pENm7iYc4U">pic.twitter.com/pENm7iYc4U</a>

SEC Network @SECNetwork

KJ Jefferson is stronger than you 😳 <a href="https://twitter.com/RazorbackFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RazorbackFB</a> <a href="https://t.co/7jWXzunKjl">pic.twitter.com/7jWXzunKjl</a>

Andrew Jones @TWDTV1

It is completely baffling that KJ Jefferson is not going to be in the 2023 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLDraft?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLDraft</a>, NIL money be damned. <br><br>He has performed so brilliantly the last two seasons throwing the ball down the field. And yes, for me, he got a firm first round grade. <a href="https://t.co/cBtSIAjgue">https://t.co/cBtSIAjgue</a>

Brendan Moore @bmoorecfb

This is the KJ Jefferson that we expected to see all season. He looks good tonight.

Brandon Baker @BBakerHogs

KJ Jefferson when a defender tries to wrap him up behind the line <a href="https://t.co/xtuMX3Tl6u">pic.twitter.com/xtuMX3Tl6u</a>

πŸ‘‘Red Dirt DukeπŸ‘‘ @Duke_Lucas_

KJ Jefferson is a locomotive.

Harold R. Kuntz @HaroldRKuntz3

KJ Jefferson son'ed the KU defense on that run.

Nick Lee @NickLee51

KJ Jefferson might be Cam Newton 2.0.

Justin Evans @evansje12

I look forward to seeing the growth and development of KJ Jefferson and Jalon Daniels next year!!!! They are something special and your team is never out of game with one of them at QB

Connor O'Gara @cjogara

Imagine not loving KJ Jefferson.

Andy Staples @Andy_Staples

KJ Jefferson is always amazingly calm even when he's about to get splattered.

Arkansas finished its season with a 7-6 record. The Razorbacks have now posted back-to-back winning campaigns after going 11-35 from 2017-20.

Kansas finished 6-7, but it's an impressive accomplishment for a team that hadn't won more than three games in any single season since 2009. KU also posted victories against a trio of teams with winning records in Duke, Houston and Oklahoma State.