Texas A&M didn’t have the ball a whole lot Saturday against Arkansas. The Aggies struggled to contain an offense missing its top tailback and three of its best wideouts. They were dealt an emotional blow when a potential game-winning field goal drifted astray.
Still, the Aggies persevered, and the for the second consecutive season they have an overtime victory against the rival Razorbacks to show for it. Texas A&M improved to 4-0 with a 28-21 win against Arkansas at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Here are a few things we learned about the Aggies in their SEC opener:
1. Christian Kirk is the go-to weapon on offense: The Aggies didn’t run many plays, but getting the ball in Kirk’s hands as often as possible was a wise decision. Kirk had eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns, including the overtime score on a sweet strike from Kyle Allen. He added another 77 yards on kick returns.
Kirk is clearly the No. 1 wide receiver for Texas A&M. He might be the best freshman in the SEC. The Aggies didn’t have Speedy Noil because of an undisclosed injury, but this collection of talent at wideout, led by Kirk, is scary.
2. The defensive playmakers arrived just in time: Arkansas’ massive offensive line battling against Texas A&M’s dynamic duo of Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall was a marquee matchup. The Razorbacks hadn’t allowed a sack all season, while Garrett and Hall were terrorizing quarterbacks.
Texas A&M only got to Brandon Allen once before Garrett made a huge play late in the fourth quarter. He sacked and stripped Allen, which could have led to a game-winning field goal.
Allen completed 20 of 25 passes, but attempt No. 25 was a game-deciding play. Allen looked to his right on fourth-and-4, but defensive back De’Vante Harris made a great play to break on the route and swat the ball away.
3. This wasn’t a perfect game, but that’s a good thing: Texas A&M has been seen as a bit of a frontrunner at times since joining the SEC. The working theory was if a team like Arkansas could outmuscle the Aggies, they would not be up to the challenge.
Well, for the second time in two years, Texas A&M has rallied to beat the Hogs despite their best attempts to bully the Aggies. The defense can play better, especially when those defensive ends have more of an impact. The offense could be even better, especially if Noil and backup tailback James White are healthy and able to provide more depth in a physical contest like this one.