Freshman wide receiver Christian Kirk had a superstar-in-the-making performance when Texas A&M rallied to beat Arkansas 28-21 in overtime Saturday.
His quarterback, sophomore Kyle Allen, was pretty great as well in helping the Aggies to a fourth straight victory against the Razorbacks in the Southwest Classic. Texas A&M improved to 4-0 (1-0 in the SEC), but remains at No. 14 in the AP poll.
The Aggies are about to embark on a potentially defining four-week stretch of the season, with No. 21 Mississippi State, No. 13 Alabama and No. 3 Ole Miss in succession, along with a bye week mixed in.
Here is the Texas A&M unsung hero of the week, plus a few honorable mentions:
Larry Jackson, Director of Football Sports Performance
For the second consecutive year, the Aggies were behind in the fourth quarter against Arkansas but rallied for an overtime victory. The game Saturday was progressing just the way the Razorbacks wanted. Their big, physical offensive line was protecting quarterback Brandon Allen and opening holes in the running game.
Instead of wilting in the fourth quarter, the Aggies turned it around again.
Who is Jackson, and what role did he play? Jackson is in his fourth season as the Director of Football Sports Performance.
He’s in charge of all the offseason workouts, and coach Kevin Sumlin credited that work in his postgame speech before the chaotic celebration in the Aggies locker room (check out the video at the bottom of the post).
Here are the runners-up for Texas A&M “Unsung Hero”:
Tra Carson, running back, senior
Carson, a senior tailback, didn’t get a lot of work running the ball, but he had eight catches for 61 yards to supplement the work Kirk and wide receiver Josh Reynolds were doing on the outside. Carson had three catches that resulted in first downs in the fourth quarter, and he had the game-tying touchdown on a two-yard run with 2:50 left in regulation.
Arkansas controlled the ball for long stretches of this game. How did they only end up with 21 points? A big reason was the four times they reached midfield or crossed into Aggies territory but failed to score.
Noel Ellis, defensive back, sophomore
Ellis tackled Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry short of the first-down marker on third-and-7 on the Razorbacks’ first drive to force a punt.
Donovan Wilson, defensive back, sophomore
Wilson intercepted a Brandon Allen pass midway through the second quarter after Arkansas had reached the Texas A&M 35-yard line.
Myles Garrett, defensive end, sophomore
Everybody knows that Garrett may be the best defensive player in the SEC. And, true to form, Garrett made a huge play late in the game, sacking and stripping Allen to set up a potential game-winning field goal. But two plays he made earlier ended up being just as important.
The sophomore defensive end hurried Allen into an incompletion on third-and-19 from midfield in the second quarter, which led to a punt. Garrett also tackled Allen at the A&M 35 after he took off to run on third-and-9 early in the fourth quarter, which forced yet another punt.