Aggies need OT to beat Arkansas 28-21

If you’re an SEC fan, you love hard-fought offense and hard-hitting defense. If your favorite team happens to be either the Texas A&M Aggies or Arkansas Razorbacks, then a game that featured exactly that happened at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium tonight. If you’re an Aggies fan, then you surely loved the result.

In a back-and-forth game that kept fans on the edges of their seats from start to finish, Texas A&M managed to hold off Arkansas in overtime, winning 28-21. Kyle Allen completed 21 of 28  passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns and the defense came through in the clutch in both the fourth quarter and overtime, swatting away a critical fourth down pass to ice the game and improve the Aggies’ record to 4-0 while Arkansas’ tailspin continued, the Hogs dropping to 1-3.

From the get-go, it was clear that this game was going to be close. The scoring didn’t open until late in the first quarter, when Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen connected with receiver Drew Morgan for a 17-yard touchdown.

Not long after, shortly after the second quarter began, Allen tossed a short pass to talented freshman Christian Kirk for a 44-yard equalizer as A&M fans roared.

A&M added a field goal to go into halftime up 10-7 but at that point, Arkansas made it clear that they would not go down quietly. Enter junior running back Alex Collins, the man for whom the Aggies’ defense simply had no answer. Collins ran for 151 yards and a touchdown on just 26 carries, and his strong play set up a 4-yard scoring run by him to put Arkansas ahead 14-13 late in the third quarter.

Arkansas would add to the lead early in the fourth quarter, when backup running back Rawleigh Williams III took the ball in three yards to put his team up 21-13. If Texas A&M was going to win this game, the defense would have to wake up, rally together and go into full lockdown mode.

Thanks to a combination of great defense, bad penalties by Arkansas and a 63-yard completion by Allen to Josh Reynolds set the Aggies up for an ideal situation. Shortly afterward, running back Tra Carson powered two yards into the end zone for a touchdown, and a successful two-point conversion pass to Reynolds had the game knotted at 21.

Arkansas then got the ball back with just under three minutes remaining and looking to march down the field to close out the game, and Collins gaining 25 yards over the first two plays of the drive made it look like that would indeed happen. But A&M’s defense had other ideas, locking in and on 2nd and 10 from Arkansas’ 46 yard line, star defensive lineman Myles Garrett sacked Allen, who fumbled the ball. A.J. Hilliard recovered it and the Aggies took over possession inside of two minutes.

Thanks to excellent clock management and another penalty on Arkansas, Texas A&M found itself in position to win the game with a 38-yard field goal, but Sam Bertolet’s kick was just barely wide right. Overtime began.

For some reason or another, Arkansas opted to defend after winning the toss. That proved to be the final nail in the coffin, as Allen found Kirk again for a 20-yard pass to put the Aggies up 28-21.

Arkansas kicked off its ensuing possession with a false start penalty, and Allen just could not beat No. 14 Texas A&M’s defense and Aggie Nation breathed a huge sigh of relief. Texas A&M was outplayed in this game from beginning to end, managing 410 yards to Arkansas’ 449. On the ground, Arkansas outclassed their opponent 224-52. The Razorbacks had more first downs, a better third-down conversion rate, and just looked like a more cohesive unit for most of the game.

Unfortunately, Lady Penalty reared her ugly head, as Arkansas were flagged for 11 fouls for 93 yards. Long story short, this team ended up beating itself. Take away that roughing the passer penalty late in the fourth quarter, and this is a whole different ballgame.

But the result is what it is, and Texas A&M could be looking at either a small drop in the rankings after needing overtime to beat an unranked opponent, or maybe its ranking won’t change. The team next takes on Mississippi State in College Station, looking to up its record to 5-0.

Arkansas, on the other hand, falls to 1-3 and coach Bret Bielema will continue looking for ways to right the ship when his team heads to Knoxville to take on Tennessee next weekend.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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