The game started off with a bang as the Aggies stalled on their opening drive and had to punt the ball to the Razorbacks. After the punt occurred defensive back #28, Travon Fuller hit the punt returner to the helmet early and was called for targeting which ejected him from the game. The Razorbacks would then score on their opening drive as QB Austin Allen would throw a six-yard pass to wide receiver Jared Cornelius to take a 7-0 lead.
The Aggies responded on the next drive with a QB Kellen Mond 81-yard TD pass to WR Christian Kirk for 7-7. Arkansas took command of the game from that point on as they built a 21-7 lead over with 11 minutes to go in the 2nd Quarter.
Mond would finally get the Aggie offense rolling as he ran down the sideline for 79 yards and was ruled out even though he ran into the end-zone. Despite the replay showing the foot stayed in the Aggie faithful wanted a review, but the referee did not call for a review.
A statement made by the SEC Conference Office stated "the ball carrier was incorrectly ruled out of bounds, and the play was whistled dead by the official. Based on NCAA football playing rule 12-3- 3-g, “If the ball carrier is ruled out of bounds, the play is not reviewable.”
Texas A&M Football Head Coach Kevin Smith talked about the play after the game. “You know the explanation was — and is probably something that, like I said— it’s a little bit difficult to understand. When the play is blown dead by out of bounds, the plays are dead at that point. And my question was, well, we do continue play on fumbles, right? So, any play that’s in the line of scrimmage or out of on the field, and the whistle comes, but the ball comes out, it’s a
Despite the controversial play, the Aggies would settle with 27-yard field goal by Kicker Daniel Lacamera making score 21-10. The momentum seemed to go A&M’s way at that point as running back Trayveon Williams ran for a seven-yard touchdown to make it 21-17 before halftime.
To start the second half, the Aggies offense would need just three plays to take their first lead in the game when running back Keith Ford scored on a 23-yard run TD, 24-21. Despite the big plays given by the A&M defense, they recorded a record of six sacks the most in Southwest Classic History.
“Going to what I said before, the whole D-line. We were in the film room, and watching the O-line their tendencies and what they do well and what they don’t do well. That’s something we hit, that we know we have to execute on, I think we did a good job across the board, DT’s and DM’s, getting a lot of pressure today and helping out our DB’s.” Said defensive lineman Landis Durham on the Aggies successful pass rush.
The game had become a shootout by both teams scoring back and forth. When the 4th quarter began, The Aggies would get a 37-yard field goal putting the score 28-27. After an A&M defensive stop, they took the lead again 33-27, Ford ran for 44 yards for his
second TD of the game.
Allen dialed up a 44-yard pass to WR Jonathan Nance to give the lead back to Arkansas. Texas A&M’s Kirk would run a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first ever in the Southwest Classic history.
Arkansas would then march the ball down the field and score with 3:39 left in the game making it 43-40. The Aggies had a good kickoff return and drove the ball down tied the game with 27-yard field goal to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Arkansas won the coin toss and elected defense first. Aggies QB Mond threw to his favorite target, Kirk, for 10-yard TD catch and a 50-43 lead.
Arkansas would get the ball next to try to tie the game again, but it did not go that way. Allen sealed Arkansas’ fate as he threw an interception to Armani Watts and the Aggies would win their 6th consecutive game against the Razorbacks.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema spoke about the heartbreaking loss, after the game. “Obviously, a tough day, a tough way to end. You know, the kids put in a lot of great preparation. I felt really good about the plan. I felt our guys came over and jumped out. We talked a lot about starting fast and finishing strong. Some things we did today we haven’t been able to do in the past. We were very positive and stepped in the right direction, but obviously, did not get a win. And losing in an overtime game and, you know, having a couple opportunities to score and win and put it away and not have it come out the way we wanted to with a win.”
Bielema is 10-23 in SEC and 0-5 now against the Aggies. Smith, is 6-0 against Arkansas. Smith’s team seems now to be heading in the right direction and as for Bielema his job maybe coming to an end.
Arkansas wore a special cowboy-inspired uniform to honor Arkansas Razorback former offensive lineman and owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones for recognition in the NFL Hall of Fame. Texas A&M’s Dat Nguyen a former linebacker from 1995-1998 was an
honorary team captain and a 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Inductee. Ron Faurot, former Razorback All-American, was an honorary captain for Arkansas. Texas A&M’s record is now 3-1 and 1-0 in the SEC. Arkansas is 1-3 and 0-1 in the SEC.
Texas A&M will look to continue their winning streak against South Carolina next week at Kyle Field in College Station, TX, While the Arkansas Razorbacks look to rebound next week against New Mexico State in Fayetteville, Ark.