The game marked Arkansas' fourth appearance in the bowl. It was their first appearance since 1987 and their first win in the bowl. East Carolina also made its fourth appearance in the game. The Pirates played in the 2009 game, a 25–19 loss to Kentucky. Arkansas entered the game with a 7–5 record. East Carolina entered the game with a 9–4 record. It was the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Alex Tejada kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime and gave Arkansas a 20–17 win in the Liberty Bowl after East Carolina's Ben Hartman missed two field goal attempts late in regulation and another in the extra session. Arkansas quarterbackRyan Mallett was named most valuable player despite going only 15 of 36 for 202 yards and a touchdown. Dominique Lindsay rushed for 151 yards on 33 carries for East Carolina. His 3-yard touchdown run opened the scoring in the second quarter, ending a 99-yard drive by the Pirates. It was 10–0 at halftime, the first time the Razorbacks had been shut out in the first half since September against Alabama.
The Razorbacks tied it in the third quarter with a defensive touchdown when Tramain Thomas intercepted a pass and ran 37 yards to the end zone. East Carolina took the lead again on Patrick Pinkney's 13-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris with 5:52 left in the third. Arkansas answered 36 seconds later when Mallett threw a 41-yard scoring pass to Jarius Wright to make it 17-all. Pinkney, a sixth-year senior, went 17 of 33 for 209 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
East Carolina was physically dominant and Arkansas won despite its inability to convert a single third down. The Arkansas offense was 0–13 on third down conversions (scoring only ten points on offense, in regulation) but was aided by a defensive touchdown after an interception and four missed field goals by ECU (three in regulation, one in the overtime period). This may be the first time a college team has won a game (a bowl game, at least) while failing to convert a single third down attempt.