FAYETTEVILLE — Hugh Freeze is very familiar with Arkansas from his time as head coach at Ole Miss and now he will face them with his No. 23 Liberty team.
Earlier this week, Freeze was very complimentary of Arkansas’ offense which is led by quarterback KJ Jefferson.
“KJ, I know him well from Sardis, Mississippi, and he’s as much involved in the run game as he is in the pass game, which is a challenge,” Freeze said. “And then No. 5 (Raheim Sanders), that running back he’s an SEC dude, I think he’s at the top of the SEC in rushing. The tight end, seven (Trey Knox), is a good player, and those wide receivers.”
Liberty is 7-1 on the season with a one-point loss to Wake Forest the only blemish on the record. Freeze has watched Jefferson, Sanders and the offense roll up big yardage against BYU and Auburn the past two games they have played.
“I mean you look at them they’re second in the SEC in yards per game, I believe sixth in the country in rushing, 13th in the country in yards per game, and obviously averaging around 35 (points) a game,” Freeze said.
To be exact, Arkansas is averaging 33.8 points each game. Jefferson has completed 125 of 185 passes for 1,697 yards, 15 touchdowns and only one interception. Jefferson has also rushed 101 times for 389 yards and six touchdowns. Sanders has 156 carries for 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns. He has 16 receptions for 195 yards and a touchdown. Knox has caught 17 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns.
Jefferson and Sanders operate behind a very big offensive line that returned four starters from 2021. Freeze knows his defensive line will be challenged by Luke Jones, Brady Latham, Ricky Stromberg, Beaux Limmer and Dalton Wagner.
“And then you get to the o-line,” Freeze said. “It’s the best we’ve faced in probably the four years I’ve been here I would say. They’re very seasoned, very physical, so it’s gonna be a tall, tall challenge.”
Freeze also talked about not having much success in Fayetteville and how cold it was the two times his teams played in Razorback Stadium. He said he hadn’t looked at Saturday’s forecast and joked he was scared to.
The kickoff is set for 3 p.m. Saturday and televised on the SEC Network.