Arkansas suspends 3 before Liberty Bowl

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Arkansas suspended three players Thursday — including two defensive starters — for unspecified violations of team rules. The Razorbacks face East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl on Saturday.

Linebacker Wendel Davis, safety Matt Harris and wide receiver Marques Wade are not expected to play. Davis is the team’s second-leading tackler. Harris is third.

An athletic department spokesman confirmed the suspensions shortly after the Razorbacks finished addressing the media Thursday. Coach Bobby Petrino was not expected to be available to reporters until Friday.

Harris and Davis are both seniors, and Wade is a junior. Harris is the son of former Dallas Cowboy Cliff Harris.

“I’m very disappointed that Matt won’t be able to play in his last college football game,” Cliff Harris told KTHV-TV in Little Rock, Ark. “His action is not consistent with his commitment and dedication to the Razorback program. I understand the need for discipline in a football program and I hope that Matt has learned a very painful lesson.”

The Arkansas defense has been a weak link at times this season, allowing a Southeastern Conference-worst 402 yards per game. Davis started all 11 games he played in 2009, and Harris started 10 games.

The Razorbacks have talked a lot this week about the need for focus. Arkansas hasn’t won a bowl since 2003, and the Hogs were blown out in their last appearance by Missouri, 38-7 in the 2008 Cotton Bowl. Since beating Arizona State in the 1985 Holiday Bowl, the Razorbacks are 2-12 in bowls.

The Associated Press