MEMPHIS, TENN., DEC. 29 -- Freshman kicker John Kasay, who had missed two earlier field-goal attempts, connected from 39 yards as time expired tonight to give No. 15 Georgia a 20-17 victory over Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl.

Kasay's kick was set up when Georgia cornerback Carver Russaw intercepted a pass by Arkansas' Greg

homas at the Razorbacks' 43-yard line with 56 seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs (9-3) used three plays and 51 seconds in moving to the Arkansas 22-yard line to put Kasay in position. After an Arkansas timeout, the left-footed Kasay split the uprights to make up for earlier misses from 49 and 47 yards.

Kasay's winning kick came 1:37 after Arkansas missed an opportunity for its third straight bowl victory over the Bulldogs. Kendall Trainor missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt after Arkansas (9-4) had driven from its 12 to the Georgia 11.

Georgia, trailing, 17-7, after three periods, got a 24-yard field goal from Kasay on the first play of the fourth quarter and tied it 17-17 with 10:23 left on a five-yard run by James Jackson.

Arkansas, which beat Georgia, 16-2, in the 1969 Sugar Bowl and by 31-10 in the 1976 Cotton Bowl, dominated for three quarters under the direction of Thomas, who scored two touchdowns and was named the game's outstanding player.

Thomas led the Razorbacks 68 yards in the final minutes of the half to put Arkansas up, 10-7. Thomas scrambled 25 yards to the Georgia 17, and, three plays later, scored from the 10 with 31 seconds left.

The Razorbacks took the second-half kickoff and drove 76 yards in eight plays for a 17-7 lead.

Thomas hit tight end Billy Winston with a 26-yard pass on fourth-and-1 from the Bulldogs 27 and then skirted right end on the next play. Arkansas 3 7 7 0 17 Georgia 0 7 0 13 20

Ark -- FG Trainor 43

Ga -- Tate 1 run (Kasay kick)

Ark -- G. Thomas 10 run (Trainor kick)

Ark -- G. Thomas 1 run (Trainor kick)

Ga -- FG Kasay 24

Ga -- Jackson 5 run (Kasay kick)

Ga -- FG Kasay 39

A -- 53,249. Ark Ga First downs 19 20 Rushes-yards 53-255 45-196 Passing 86 148 Return Yards 30 22 Comp-Att-Int 7-17-2 15-25-2 Punts 3-32 3-31 Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0 Penalties-Yards 4-45 5-50 Ti

RUSHING -- Arkansas: G. Thomas 13-79, Rouse 18-72. Georgia: Jackson 10-72, Tate 14-46.

PASSING -- Arkansas: G. Thomas 7-17-2-86. Georgia: Jackson 15-25-2-148.

RECEIVING -- Arkansas: Winston 2-36, Horton 2-28. Georgia: J. Thomas 7-76.