In Soggy Affair, Aggies Best Razorbacks
Texas A&M rolls with convincing win over Arkansas
By Rod Machen,
9:08AM, Mon. Sep. 30, 2013
The Texas A&M Aggies defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 45-33 in a game that ended up being much more about external expectations than the actual play on the field.
First, a little history: Last fall, the Hogs had just seen a promising resurgence go south with the dismissal of head coach Bobby Petrino, who got canned that April after an embarrassing affair involving a motorcycle and his mistress. Similarly, the Aggies were widely expected to suffer through their first season in the Southeastern Conference, though that didn't end up being the case whatsoever.
Last year's contest – a 58-10 drubbing by Texas A&M – sent each team in different directions. Arkansas had one of their worst seasons in recent years, going 4-8, while Texas A&M vastly exceeded expeditions, riding Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and new head coach Kevin Sumlin to 11 wins.
This Saturday's game brought all the aforementioned to bear. The Aggies, after losing narrowly to #1 Alabama just two weeks ago, will most likely be favored in every game from here on out. The Razorbacks will have to fight for respect under new head coach Bret Bielema. But it turned out a lot closer than the final score would imply.
With rain threatening all afternoon, the Aggies opened the game in Fayetteville with a 49-yard strike from Manziel (23 of 30 for 261 yards) to WR Mike Evans. Manziel hit Evans again just a few plays later, this time for a 9-yard touchdown.
The teams traded punches from there, with A&M heading into the half with a 24-20 lead. Evans (six catches, 116 yards) scored again, as did RB Ben Malena. The Aggie defense continued to struggle, and what many thought might be a blowout eventually became a one-score game.
Opening the second half, Aggie DB Deshazor Everett intercepted a Brandon Allen pass and returned it for a touchdown. But the Razorbacks responded with a quick touchdown to make the score 31-27.
Then, amidst an increasing downpour, the Aggies flipped the script, putting the Air Raid offense on the shelf and running the ball again and again. Over the course of two series, A&M rushed the ball 14 consecutive times, culminating with a 17-yard touchdown run by Trey Williams, who led the Aggies with 83 yards on the ground.
The Hogs had one more score in them, but it ultimately proved futile. A 19-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Jonathan Williams ended with a failed two-point conversion. Up five, the Aggies added one final score from Malena to give the game its final count. A Steven Jenkins interception of Allen snuffed out what little hope Arkansas had as the clock wound down.
The Aggies' trip to Fayetteville will be the last one for a while as the series moves back to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington next season. With Bielema installing his run-based attack, and Texas A&M continuing to win, this should be a game to watch for years to come.