Texas A&M remains a major threat in the SEC West after surviving a wild matchup with Arkansas on Saturday. The No. 6 Aggies outlasted the Razorbacks 35-28 in overtime behind a late second-half surge. Here are three thoughts from the game:
1. Kenny Hill is clutch
Texas A&M’s sophomore quarterback came into the 2014 season with big shoes to fill. While Hill might not be Johnny Manziel, he showed in this one that he can be just as clutch as the Heisman Trophy winner.
After Arkansas took a 28-14 lead with 5:02 remaining in the fourth quarter, Hill gathered his teammates on the sidelines. “I said, ‘We got this,’” he told CBS’ Allie LaForce after the game. “'Trust me, I promise I’ve got y’all.'”
Hill proceeded to lead Texas A&M to 21 unanswered points. He connected with wide receiver Josh Reynolds for a 59-yard touchdown to tie the game with 2:08 to play, and he found Malcome Kennedy for a 25-yard score to put the Aggies ahead for good. The A&M defense stepped up on the ensuing possession to seal the win.
Hill finished 21 of 41 for 386 yards with four touchdowns. He made a few mistakes, including one interception, but got it done when he counted. Hill showed why he could be a legitimate Heisman candidate down the road.
2. Arkansas might have given this one away
Early in the fourth quarter tailback Jonathan Williams ran 57 yards to the end zone and appeared to give the Hogs a 35-14 lead. But the score was called back because of a personal foul penalty on offensive tackle Dan Skipper. Arkansas punted, and everything went downhill from there.
The Razorbacks’ ensuing fourth quarter featured two straight three-and-outs, a missed 44-yard field goal and one final punt. All the while, the Aggies tacked on two scores to tie the game and force overtime. The Hogs crucially wasted a down on a fumbled snap by quarterback Brandon Allen. That set the stage for some sound clock management by Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies comeback.
3. The Razorbacks are getting close
Arkansas entered this game having lost 13 straight SEC contests, including going 0-8 in the league last fall. While that streak extended to 14 on Saturday, it’s clear the Razorbacks are trending upward in coach Bret Bielema’s second season.
The Hogs made several costly mistakes, but they also did lots of things well. This team has one of the best backfields in the country, and Alex Collins and Williams combined for 227 yards, two touchdowns and an average of 5.8 yards per carry. Quarterback Brandon Allen seems vastly improved, and the defense held the Aggies’ attack in check through three quarters.
The next step is winning, and the Razorbacks will look to build off this loss. It seems only a matter of time before Arkansas upsets an SEC heavyweight. It hosts Alabama on Oct. 11 and Georgia on Oct. 18.