It’s been a rough two weeks for Arkansas (1-2) after the embarrassment against Toledo and getting it’s “ass kicked” by Texas Tech, but none of that matters with a win over Texas A&M (3-0). The Aggies come in off an emphatic 44-27 win over Nevada, but now the real season starts to kick in. Check out the Texas A&M vs. Arkansas prediction and preview.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas Game Preview
Date: Saturday, September 26
Game Time: 7:00
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
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Why You Need To Care
Everything is still there for the taking for Arkansas. All it has to do is win the rest of its games – with five of the next seven away from home including dates at Tennessee, Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU – go 10-2 and win the SEC championship. Then it’s off to the playoffs – easy peasy.
There’s a reason why Bret Bielema is so surly about his team and the Arkansas schedule, especially after losing two winnable games against Toledo and Texas Tech. All of a sudden, what was supposed to be a breakout/breakthrough season could be a complete and utter disaster, but a win over Texas A&M for the first time since 2011 would all but wipe the slate clean. For now.
Even with the win over Arizona State to start the season, Texas A&M has flown a bit under the radar with all the attention being paid to Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, and in a different way, Auburn and Arkansas in the SEC West. However, the defense has turned things around after last season, the offense has been balanced and sharp, and with three double-digit wins, the team should be ready for a potentially amazing run. While Arkansas packs its bags for most of the next two months, A&M has one game outside of Texas from the start of the season through November 21st – going to Ole Miss in a few weeks. Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina and Auburn all have to go to Kyle Field as part of a run of five home games in the next six following this showdown of former Southwest Conference brothers.
Why Arkansas Will Win
Okay, Arkansas, enough is enough. The passing game has worked great so far, but now it’s time to blast away and power up with the running game like you’re supposed to. Texas A&M has yet to get into any sort of a fight, having few problems up front handling what Arizona State, Ball State and Nevada threw its way. Last year at this time, Arkansas had already cranked out 1,086 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns averaging 7.9 yards per carry. So far through three games this year? 513 yards and four scores averaging under five yards per pop. If the Hogs can pound away and win the turnover battle – A&M is a -2 on the year and have yet to win the turnover margin – things should be back to normal. However …
Why Texas A&M Will Win
Arkansas did everything right last week against Texas Tech and it still didn’t matter. The Hogs ran effectively, they owned the time of possession battle, didn’t make a slew of silly mistakes, and converted 7-of-11 third down chances – and lost by double digits. The defense has been absolutely miserable on third down stops, allowing Texas Tech to convert 7-of-10 tries while giving up 51% of their chances on the year. A&M Is hovering around the 48% mark with the passing game working just fine from the start.
Player Who Matters
Christian Kirk continues to be fantastic. The true freshman star receiver stepped into the A&M lineup and has been a star right away. The leading receiver with 16 catches for 269 yards and two scores, he lit up Nevada with 120 yards on six catches as he continues to blossom around a group of ready-made NFL receivers. On the other side, Arkansas has to try to get by without Keon Hatcher, who caught 13 passes in the first two games before suffering a foot injury. That means more of tight end Hunter Henry, and even more from the ground game.
What’s Going To Happen?
Arkansas is way overdue for an attitude game. This might be the moment when the offensive line takes over and makes the season all about being smashmouth – the style of football, not the horrific band. Unfortunately, the defense isn’t playing up to snuff, and Texas A&M will take advantage with a good, balanced attack that might not be explosive, but will be brutally effective. Arkansas can move the ball, but it can’t score – that’s going to be an issue again this week.
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas Prediction
Final Score: Texas A&M 37, Arkansas 27, Line: Texas A&M -7, o/u: 58
Must See Rating: 5: 99 Homes – 1: The Intern … 3.5