The K-State Wildcats kept the game competitive for a while, but ultimately fell 45-23 to the Arkansas Razorbacks in the 57th AutoZone Liberty Bowl January 2, 2016, in Memphis, Tennessee. Senior wide receiver Kody Cook, who throughout the season split time behind center with junior backup quarterback Joe Hubener, earned his first start at quarterback in his final K-State game, completing 12 of 24 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown, and running for 19 more yards. The Wildcats started strong out of the gate, nabbing an interception on Arkansas’ first possession and scoring a touchdown, but their youngness and inexperience could not match the physicality and athleticism of the Razorbacks. Hubener threw an interception late in the fourth quarter on the only play for which he was in the game.
The Liberty Bowl loss ends a tumultuous 6-7 season riddled with injuries to key players for the Wildcats. Fans saw K-State win three non-conference games before dropping six Big 12 Conference games in a row, most to highly-ranked teams by a touchdown or less. The ‘Cats never gave up, though, and finished the season with the biggest in-season turnaround in Big 12 Conference history by winning the final three conference games, earning bowl eligibility despite recording six straight losses.
The Liberty Bowl was the Wildcats’ 19th postseason bowl appearance, and 17th under head coach Bill Snyder, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December 2015. K-State appeared in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, one of the oldest non-CFP/New Year’s Six bowls, for the first time in school history.