A pair of SEC West rivals meet up in Jerry World to renew their animosities in a crucial early season matchup as Arkansas and Texas A&M square off in college football's Week 4 action on Saturday.
Both teams appear in the AP top 25 rankings this week, Arkansas at No. 10 and undefeated through 3 games, while Texas A&M checks in at No. 23 following a home victory over ranked Miami last week.
The winner on Saturday has the inside path to establishing itself as the clear No. 2 in the SEC West this season behind Alabama.
Here's what to expect for the matchup this weekend.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas football preview, prediction
How to watch
When: Sat., Sept. 24
Time: 7 p.m. Eastern
TV: ESPN network
Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Odds, point spread, betting lines
Line: Texas A&M -2
Moneyline: ARK +100 A&M -130
FPI pick: Texas A&M 57.8%
What you need to know
1. A&M's offense just isn't clicking right now. Through 3 games, the Aggie offense has just not worked. There was a hope that the change at quarterback would give the unit a spark, but that didn't really happen against Miami, managing just 264 yards and 4 of 12 on third down. Devon Achane is a potential star running the ball, but is just a shade over 4 ypc. Max Johnson could find some lanes against a Razorback secondary that has struggled so far.
2. But the Hogs are solid up front. Defensively, Arkansas has played well up to potential, posting the most sacks of any team in college football (17) and currently ranks 7th nationally when stopping the rush. This is a physical pursuit group coming off the edges and has the wheels to clog up the A-gap on the interior to throw A&M's attack out of gear early.
3. And they will run. Arkansas wants to move the ball on the ground, wear down the front line, move the chains, and burn the clock. So far, it's done just that, ranking 10th nationally with 243.7 rushing yards per game, and boasts a 1-2 punch with Raheim Sanders and quarterback KJ Jefferson, who ran for 6 of the team's 8 TDs on the ground and play behind a ferocious, veteran offensive line that can open running lanes. Watch how the battle at the line of scrimmage develops between the Hogs' blockers and A&M's furious pursuit group up front, one of the nation's best. Whoever dominates there, wins.
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M: Fast Facts
+ Hogs linebacker Drew Sanders leads college football with 5.5 sacks
+ A&M is 28-4 under Jimbo Fisher when scoring first
+ Arkansas is 1st nationally with 5.7 sacks per game
+ Aggies are 26-0 under Jimbo when leading after the 1st quarter
+ Hogs back Raheim Sanders is 2nd in the SEC and 4th nationally with 440 total rush yards
+ A&M is 9th nationally allowing 147.3 passing yards per game
+ Arkansas boasts the nation's 7th best run defense, allowing 68.3 ypg
+ A&M has the 9th best scoring defense, allowing 8.7 points per game
+ Arkansas is 6-11 when allowing 21 points under Sam Pittman and 15-0 when allowing fewer than 21
+ Texas A&M's Ainias Smith is 3rd in the SEC with 86.3 receiving yards per game
+ Hogs are 11-3 under Pittman when leading after 1st qtr and 2-7 when not
+ A&M led the SEC in total defense and was 2nd in points allowed a year ago
+ Arkansas is 9-0 when winning the turnover battle under Pittman and 1-3 when losing it
Texas A&M has the defense in all phases to take it wherever it wants to go, but this offense continues to struggle despite having good enough protection and skill targets who can test any defense in the country.
If any group of blockers can stand up against the Aggies' front seven pursuers, it's Arkansas, which has the power inside and the speed outside to control the clock and keep the chains moving on third down.
Plus, the Razorbacks have the push at the line defensively to adequately throw Max Johnson off schedule and out of rhythm when looking downfield. If he has time, Johnson can work against the Hogs back seven, but he won't have all that much time.
College Football HQ Prediction: Arkansas 27, Texas A&M 20
College football rankings
According to AP top 25 poll
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- NC State
- Penn State
- Ole Miss
- Wake Forest
- Texas A&M