The odds are pretty good that No. 14 Auburn (7-2, 4-1 SEC) is not going to find a way into the College Football Playoff, but after a dominating performance on the road against Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3 SEC), one should not sleep on the Tigers potentially giving Georgia and Alabama a fight in the regular season later this month. Kerryon Johnson stepped up in the running game and Jarrett Stidham passed for three touchdowns in a 42-27 victory over the Aggies in Kyle Field on Saturday afternoon.
Texas A&M pulled a quarterback switch along the way. With Kellen Mond struggling (5/11, 16 yards), Nick Starkel got a chance to relieve him and try to rejuvenate the offense, and he did to a degree. Starkel completed 11 of 22 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. But it was too little too late as the Aggies were already down too much and unable to slow down Auburn on offense.
After a sluggish start, Auburn came alive in the second quarter with three touchdowns to take a 21-13 lead into the halftime break. The Tigers continued to push forward with an overpowering offense with two more touchdowns in the third quarter to create some separation with the Aggies. The win by Auburn keeps a bizarre trend alive in this series. Since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012, the road team has won six straight games in this series.
November has not been kind to Texas A&M in recent years, and it would appear things are once again in danger of trending in the wrong direction in November with this loss. And because of that, the discussion about the job security for Kevin Sumlin will once again come into question. The Aggies have now lost back-to-back games by double-digit margins to Mississippi State and Auburn. And the way things are going in Gainesville, you will not win many points for a 19-17 victory over Florida. It was not so long ago that Texas A&M was 4-1, marred by an ugly collapse on the road against UCLA in the season opener. Sumlin needs a strong finish with the Aggies to put some of the hot seat talk to rest.
Next up for Auburn is a big one. The Tigers will host No. 1 Georgia next Saturday, November 11. For Auburn to play in the SEC Championship Game, beating Alabama will be essential as the Tigers trail their in-state rivals by one game in the loss column already with two games to play. But before any scenarios with Alabama can be explored, Auburn must find a way to take down the Bulldogs next week. It is certainly no easy task for any team needing wins against Georgia and Alabama this season, but the Tigers playing at home in each makes for an interesting final three weeks in the SEC.
Texas A&M will play their final home game of the season next week against UNLV. After that, the schedule wraps up with back-to-back SEC road games against Ole Miss and LSU. The way things have been going, next week’s game against the Rebels may be a must-win game for Texas A&M to get to the postseason.
There is one guarantee you can make every college football season. That is that Texas A&M and Arkansas are going to give you your money’s worth when they face off against each other in Arlington. The Razorbacks and Aggies played an overtime game for the third-straight year, and the result once again went in favor of Texas A&M (3-1, 1-0 SEC) in the highest-scoring game between the two schools in series history. The Aggies handed Arkansas (1-2, 0-1 SEC) a 50-43 loss, extended Texas A&M’s winning streak in the series to six.
The game may have been decided in overtime, but Arkansas pretty much deserved to lose the moment they allowed a kickoff to land in the hands of Christian Kirk with a little more than five minutes to play immediately after taking a 36-33 lead on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Jonathan Nance.
After Mond completed a touchdown pass to Kirk in the first possession of overtime, Armani Watts sealed the game for the Aggies with an interception in the end zone on a 3rd-and-8 play from the Texas A&M 12-yard line. Since joining the SEC, Texas A&M has not lost to Arkansas.
This was a win that was needed for Kevin Sumlin to some degree after a couple of not-so-inspiring victories following a collapse against UCLA. The Aggies are now 3-1 though and will have to find a way to build off this win moving forward. Meanwhile, Bret Bielema at Arkansas will start to hear some more rumblings from disgruntled fans after another loss to the Aggies.
Arkansas took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter before the Aggies started to chip away. Texas A&M managed to cut the Razorback lead to 21-17 prior to halftime, and they probably should have had the lead if not for a blown call by the sideline judge calling the play dead 10 yards shy of the end zone when the play should have continued. The Aggies ended up settling for a field goal a few plays later, but replays showed Kellen Mond clearly stayed in bounds on his run. The play was not reviewable by the instant replay officials because the play had been blown dead by the on-field official.
Mond passed for 216 yards and two scores and led all players with 109 rushing yards. Keith Ford added another 10-2 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies. Allen passed for 229 yards and two scores, while Cole Kelley stepped on the field for a short touchdown pass as well for Arkansas.
Arkansas will be home next week for a game against New Mexico State. The Razorbacks will play SEC opponents the rest of the season, including Alabama (Oct. 14) and Auburn (Oct. 21) in back-to-back weeks.
Texas A&M will also be home next week to continue SEC play. The Aggies host the South Carolina Gamecocks before preparing for a showdown with No. 1 Alabama on October 7.
In the wake of Texas A&M blowing an impossible-to-blow lead last night against UCLA, Aggie fans have plenty of reason to be upset this morning. One Aggie in particular seemingly took to Facebook and Twitter to blow off some steam with sudden out-of-the-blue social media updates ripping Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and casting a dark cloud over his future in College Station.
Tony Buzbee, a Texas-based lawyer and member of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, went to length about his line of thinking regarding Sumlin, and it was not a positive one at all.
I’m sure I may be criticized for this post but I honestly don’t care. I’ve been on the Board of Regents for the A&M System for almost seven years. During that time, I’ve not once commented on Kevin Sumlin and his performance during his tenure at our school. I never said a word when he and his agent manipulated a much bigger and longer contract. I said nothing about his arrogance and his mishandling of multiple player controversies. I said nothing when we had multiple awesome recruiting classes, only to see key players leave our school or underperform.
But tonight I am very disappointed and I have to say this. Kevin Sumlin was out-coached tonight, which isn’t new. He recruits well, but can’t coach the big games, or the close games. Our players were better tonight. Our players were more talented tonight. But our coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I’m only one vote on the Board of Regents but when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO. In my view he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better.
Often times when a Facebook update like this comes out of nowhere from an account that is rarely updated, there is fair reason to question the validity. While College Football Talk cannot say with a 100 percent guarantee this update was authentic or not, multiple reporters covering Texas A&M have attempted to verify the Facebook status update was a legitimate one, with reporters suggesting if it was a fake update, then somebody went to great lengths to fake it. So, for now, take this for what it is until more clarification can be obtained one way or the other.
Regardless of the validity of the rant, Sumlin does face more pressure than anyone thought imaginable when Texas A&M was up by 34 points in the third quarter.
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.
You can imagine Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was a tad bummed in finding out his program was losing the commitment of a four-star wide receiver last week shortly after losing the commitment of a five-star quarterback. He could not have been all too happy with the realization one of his assistant coaches managed to make that happen simply by going off on Twitter.
Texas A&M wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead went on Twitter following the de-commitment of quarterback Tate Martell, and he did not fire some thinly-veiled shots. Moorehead went off about kids these days and their all-about-me attitudes and the general lack of loyalty. Of course, this stuff happens all the time in football recruiting, and odds are Texas A&M has, on occasion, benefitted from a kid’s lack of loyalty on the recruiting trail. Either way, it was not a good look for Moorehead, nor were his reactions to the reactions. As Moorehead was going off, four-star wide receiver Mannie Netherly saw what was going on and opted out of his commitment as well. Moorehead did later issue an apology on his Twitter account.
On Monday, Sumlin addressed the fuss with his own statement, saying his assistant abused Twitter and it reflected poorly on the entire program. Sumlin confirmed Moorehead has apologized internally within the program and he would face internal discipline.
“Last week, one of our assistant coaches, Aaron Moorehead, abused the privilege of social media and the result reflected poorly on Aaron, on our football program and on Texas A&M. He has apologized publicly and privately for his actions and I am confident that he understands the expectations moving forward. However, there are consequences for actions and Aaron has been disciplined and the details will remain private. We will use this as a learning tool for all of our coaches, staff and student-athletes, and we are now moving forward as a program.”
Moorehead has not posted anything in 140 characters or fewer since his public apology on May 5. Odds are probably pretty good it may be a while before he logs on again as part of his internal discipline.