No. 10 Texas A&M grabbed a late touchdown run from quarterback Trevor Knight in the first half and shut down No. 17 Arkansas in the second half of a 45-24 victory in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Aggies shut down the Razorbacks in the second half and scored 28 points on offense to improve to 4-0 and head into October thinking about making a run at the SEC West title (and potentially for real this time).
With the game tied at 17-17, Arkansas put together a draining 89-yard drive on 19 plays, but it was the Texas A&M defense that held strong down by the goal line. Just as they had done twice in the first half, Texas A&M prevented Arkansas from punching the football across the goal line, this time with a fourth-down stand. Two plays later, Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight unloaded a deep ball to Josh Reynolds racing down the right sideline. The ball was placed perfectly for Reynolds and he let his speed take care of the rest on a 92-yard touchdown drive. It was quite the momentum swing and the Aggies did not look back.
Texas A&M scored a touchdown after forcing Arkansas to punt on the ensuing possession and took advantage of a short field from the 15-yard line after an Arkansas fumble. Trayveon Williams did the honors on the first touchdown with a 33-yard scamper and Christian Kirk got his hands on a pass from Knight after the Razorbacks’ fumble.
Four games into the season and there appears to be enough evidence to suggest this Texas A&M defense has improved, and that helps make Texas A&M a formidable player in the SEC West moving forward. Is it ready to take down Alabama? Probably not, but the Aggies have the look of the second-best team in the SEC behind the defending national champions. Arkansas still has the potential to play spoiler with anyone on their schedule though, including Alabama.
Knight was a machine for the Aggies, ending his night with 225 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, a game-high 157 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Arkansas quarterback passed for 371 yards and two scores, but took a beating all night.
Texas A&M is 4-0 for the third straight season under Kevin Sumlin. The last time Texas A&M went 4-0 in three straight seasons was 1939-1941. It is also the third straight undefeated September for Texas A&M, which was last achieved from 1997 through 1999. The hot seat talk has been nowhere to be heard in College Station this season.
Arkansas gets a likely breather next week when they return home to host Alcorn State. A home game against Alabama looms after that. Texas A&M will stay in SEC play next week when they head to South Carolina. The Gamecocks are coming off a 17-10 loss at Kentucky.
Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight may not be having a very effective evening through the air in AT&T Stadium against Arkansas, but two long touchdown runs by the Aggies quarterback have been enough to give Texas A&M some life at the halftime break. Texas A&M and Arkansas are tied 17-17 at the break, thanks to Knight’s 101 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to counter a balanced Razorback offense.
Keon Hatcher put Arkansas on the giant scoreboard first in the first quarter with a 15-yard touchdown reception from Austin Allen. Texas A&M missed a field goal on the ensuing possession but would later capitalize on an Arkansas fumble. On 3rd and 1 from the Arkansas 42-yard line, Trevor Knight took off for a 42-yard touchdown run to put the Aggies on the board. Arkansas would respond with a field goal, but not before being stopped by Texas A&M’s stingy defensive front inside the 10-yard line in a key sequence.
The Razorbacks ran seven plays from inside the 10-yard line, including six plays inside the two-yard line. During that sequence, Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen appeared to injure his shoulder, causing backup Ty Storey to start warming up on the sideline. The good news for Arkansas was Allen would return on the next offensive possession. That drive may have ended quickly with a fumble, but the Arkansas defense held the Aggies to a game-tying field goal, 10-10.
Arkansas went back to work the next time they took the field by putting Allen in command through the air once more. Allen helped guide the offense down the field and back into the red zone with a 38-yard completion to Jared Cornelius, and Rawleigh Williams III made up for an earlier fumble with an eight-yard touchdown run for the 17-10 lead.
With the time winding down in the second quarter, Knight once again came to the rescue with a run right up the middle with very little standing in his way of the end zone. The 48-yard run in the final minute of the half may be just the momentum builder Texas A&M needed, but there will still be some work to do in the second half.
It’s not getting hype of Week 1, but Week 3 is shaping up to be a rather epic weekend of college football in its own right.
The top three teams in the most recent Associated Press poll, No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Florida State and No. 3 Ohio State, all play on the road, with all three games coming against ranked teams for that matter. Top-ranked ‘Bama travels to Oxford to face No. 19 Ole Miss, which has beaten the Tide the last two seasons, while FSU must trek north to take on 10th-ranked Louisville and Lamar Jackson, the quarterback who has singlehandedly scored more touchdowns than all but 13 FBS teams. Finally, OSU makes it way to Norman to take on a wounded but 14th-ranked Oklahoma.
The fact that the top three teams are all on the road against ranked opponents is a little bit of history in the making.
But wait, there’s more.
In addition to those games, you had the likes of No. 6 Houston-Cincinnati Thursday night as well as FCS power North Dakota State at No. 13 Iowa; No. 25 Miami traveling to an Appalachian State squad that nearly knocked off No. 15 Tennessee in Knoxville Week 1; Colorado at No. 4 Michigan in a revival of the 1994 “Miracle at Michigan” game; No. 22 Oregon at Nebraska, coached by former Civil War rival Mike Riley; Pittsburgh, coming off a win over its in-state rival, at an Oklahoma State squad still hurting from the screwing they received in Week 2; Mississippi State-No. 20 LSU and No. 17 Texas A&M-Auburn in a key pair of SEC West clashes; No. 12 Michigan State at No. 18 Notre Dame in the fourth of four ranked vs. ranked matchups; USC, reeling from a series of embarrassing incidents on and off the field the past couple of weeks, trying to right the listing ship against the best the Pac-12 has to offer, No. 7 Stanford; BYU playing host to Josh Rosen and UCLA; and capping a loaded weekend with seemingly revitalized and 11th-ranked Texas heading to the Left Coast to square off with Cal.
It may not be Week 1 good, but Week 3 is about as close as you can get.
Your post-Turkey Thanksgiving Day college football viewing habits have gotten a bit of a tweak.
LSU and Texas A&M have closed out the regular season every year since the latter joined the SEC in 2013. Last spring, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva was very vehement in stating his opposition to that game being played on Thanksgiving in Death Valley, guaranteeing that “[a]s long as I’m here, we will not play in Tiger Stadium on a Thursday.” The Tigers did give their consent to play the Aggies on the holiday when the game was in College Station.
However, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday night that, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, the two football programs “will no longer play their regular-season finale on Thanksgiving night when they play at Kyle Field.” A short time after that report surfaced, the SEC released its complete schedule for the 2017 season, with the Mississippi State-Ole Miss returning to Thanksgiving Day night that season.
It was subsequently reported that the Egg Bowl would be played on the same holiday in Oxford the following season, with talks ongoing about making the rivalry’s move back to Thanksgiving more permanent moving forward.
“Having the Egg Bowl on ESPN in the prime time window on Thanksgiving Day shows we have a relevant program and that ESPN values the Egg Bowl as a marquee game,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said. “If both programs were not competitive on the national scene we would have this opportunity to showcase this great game.”
The Egg Bowl has been played on Thanksgiving a total of 21 times, the last coming in 2013. The Daily Journal writes that the game was “a regular part of ESPN’s Thanksgiving college football schedule from 1998-2003.”
The 2016 LSU-A&M game scheduled for Thanksgiving night in College Station, incidentally, will go off as planned one final time.
There was no change at the top of the latest Associated Press top 25 this week, with No. 1 Alabama receiving 56 first-place votes. They were followed this week by No. 2 Florida State, with the Seminoles picking up four first-place votes. Big Ten rivals No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan fall in line behind the Tide and Noles, with the Wolverines picking up another first-place vote this week. No. 5 Clemson was knocked down a few spots after a sluggish performance at home against Troy.
No. 6 Houston, No. 7 Stanford and No. 8 Washington held on to their spots in the AP poll this week, and No. 9 Wisconsin was bumped up one spot. Rounding out the top 10 this week is Louisville, up three spots from the previous week. No. 11 Texas and No. 12 Michigan State remained where they were a week ago. No. 13 Iowa moved up a few spots following a dismantling of Iowa State, jumping over No. 14 Oklahoma. No. 15 Tennessee rebounded to move up two spots this week following a more convincing win compared to their opener.
No. 16 Georgia was the big loser despite winning. The Bulldogs were punished for their home struggle against Nicholls State, dropping from No. 9 down to No. 16 this week. Following the Bulldogs were No. 17 Texas A&M, No. 18 Notre Dame, No. 19 Ole Miss and No. 20 LSU.
New teams in the AP top 25 this week include No. 23 Florida and No. 24 Arkansas.
Here si the full AP Top 25 after the second week of college football action, with first-place votes noted:
- Alabama (56)
- Florida State (4)
- Ohio State
- Michigan (1)
- Michigan State
- Texas A&M
- Notre Dame
- Ole Miss