#14 Texas A&M Aggies vs Arkansas Razorbacks Preview

The Aggies defense will be on a mission to ruin Brandon Allen's day. Photo Courtesy: Rick Leal
The Aggies defense will be on a mission to ruin Brandon Allen’s day. Photo Courtesy: Rick Leal

By Johnny Horton

Game Info
#14 Texas A&M Aggies vs Arkansas Razorbacks
Saturday – September 26 – 6:00 pm CT
AT&T Stadium – Arlington

The Razorbacks have to still be feeling the sting of losing last year’s shootout against the Aggies in a classic battle that resulted in them falling 35-28 in overtime. Certainly they’ll have revenge all over their minds heading into this one. There’s only one major problem however; Arkansas has completely laid multiple eggs this season to the likes of perennial powerhouses Toledo and Texas Tech. The Hogs started out the season highly touted and were picked by some to even win the SEC West. Meanwhile the Ags were unranked and selected at SEC media days to finish second to last in the division. What a difference three weeks can make. A&M players and coaches made it abundantly clear after last week’s victory over Nevada 44-27 that they are more than ready for SEC play as they have yet to have been truly tested in their first three outings.

What to look for when A&M has the ball
There seems to be a recurring theme going on here but it’s the obvious: quarterback Kyle Allen to freshman wide receiver Christian Kirk all night long. Allen threw for another four touchdowns last weekend and Kirk took in six receptions for 120 yards. The latter has been a total stud in just his first three games at the collegiate level and has been a scary good special teams player as well posing a threat to take one back seemingly every time he gets the ball. Josh Reynolds was able to break free against Nevada for two touchdown catches of his own and he had a big game versus Arkansas a year ago with one huge moment taking a 59-yard catch to the house at a crucial point in the second half. The running game looks to be improving as well with Tra Carson averaging over six yards per carry against the Wolf Pack and tallying 137 yards. Senior running back Brice Dolezal was finally awarded a scholarship this past week for all of his hard work and should help with mixing things up in the running game.

What to look for when Arkansas has the ball
Arkansas had the biggest offensive line in all of college football last year. This season they have the largest one again but that includes all teams on the planet, even NFL squads. They were bit early by the injury bug when stellar running back Jonathan Williams was injured in practice and declared out for the season before it even got started. Fortunately they are solid at the position behind Alex Collins who is averaging nearly six yards per carry himself. Quarterback Brandon Allen has but up some very solid numbers this year as well but it’s the Razorback defense that has primarily led to the two stunning losses thus far. And for the other recurring theme, look for that massive offensive line to have its hands full with Aggie defensive end Myles Garrett who is coming off a career high 3.5 sacks in one game last week. If Arkansas can ground and pound behind the mammoth pigs up front then they can keep this one close and potentially wear out the young and still not totally proven A&M defense.

The line opened at A&M -7.5 and it has moved between that and an even touchdown. It’s very tough to see which way this one will go. There’s a feeling that because Arkansas did give up those two horrible losses that they are susceptible to getting blown out. However, given the aforementioned revenge factor and the sense that the renewal of this old matchup from the Southwest Conference days could be turning back into a sort of rivalry game, it may very well come down to the wire.

Prediction: Texas A&M 38 – Arkansas 27