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Liberty Upset Arkansas For First SEC Win

The Flames survived a rally by the Razorbacks to improve to 8-1.

Liberty v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Hugh Freeze and the Liberty Flames have their first program win over an SEC opponent. It was also Freeze’s first career win over Arkansas.

The Flames upset the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville on Saturday by a score of 21-19. Liberty were labeled as 14.5-point underdogs by most major sportsbooks in this contest.

Liberty have now won at least eight games in each of the last four seasons.

Flames quarterback Johnathan Bennett was questionable to play in this game after battling the flu all week, but ended up being a difference maker. Bennett finished with 15 completions on 25 attempts for 224 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.

Demario Douglas was the game’s leading receiver with seven catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. Treon Sibley and Noah Frith also caught touchdowns from Bennett.

The Flames took a 21-3 lead into the half. While the offense was shutout in the second half, the defense made a number of critical plays to preserve the lead. This included keeping Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson out of the endzone on what would have the game-tying two-point conversion.

The defensive effort was led by senior defensive end Durrell Johnson, who finished with nine tackles, 3.5 TFLs, and two sacks. The defense also picked Jefferson off twice in this game.

RB Dae Dae Hunter, the Flames’ leading rusher, left with an injury in the second quarter and did not return. The extent of his injury was not immediately clear.

Liberty entered this game ranked #23 in the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll, but unranked in the College Football Playoff rankings. Following this victory, the Flames have a great shot at moving up in each of the three major polls when they release this week.

The Flames’ next game will be at UConn, beginning at noon ET on November 12.