SEC College Football: Collapse in College Station, Texas A&M 58 – Arkansas 10


Sep 29, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A

College Station, Tex. – Another game on the gridiron for the Arkansas Razorback defense, turns into another career highlight game for the opposition’s quarterback for the third straight game.

On Saturday Texas A&M (3-1, 1-1) cruised to a 58-10 win over the Hogs (1-4, 0-2) behind freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel’s school record 453 passing yards.

Another troubling trend for the Razorbacks under interim coach John L. Smith has been the sloppy play seen on the field not previously seen in the last four years. The pass defense continues to be shredded game after game under the guidance of defensive coordinator Paul Haynes (373 yards vs. A&M), once sure handed running backs continue to fumble the ball (five total fumbles, one lost) and even precision kicker Zach Hocker is having trouble nailing give-me field goals that he would have hit a year ago; he missed a 38-yarder in the third quarter.

Give credit to A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, previous opposing coaches have shown how to beat Arkansas and he followed those game plans perfectly. Sumlin mixed the running game, 32 attempts, with the passing game, 38 attempts, well enough to keep Arkansas off balance while exploiting a secondary that is paper thin due to injuries.

Sumlin, in his first year as head coach for the Aggies, also got A&M’s first conference win as a member of the SEC West with their trouncing of their old Southwest Conference rival, the Razorbacks.

The Razorbacks opened the game looking poised and in control. After Arkansas allowed A&M to march down the field 79-yards within nine plays for a four-yard touchdown pass from Manziel to Mike Evans, the Hogs offense and defense settled in while benefiting from one of two missed field goals by Aggie placekicker Taylor Bertolet for the remainder of the first quarter.

The Razorbacks strung back-to-back 79-yard drives together for scores. The first scoring drive ended with a 64-yard touchdown pass to running back Knile Davis. On the second drive Zach Hocker connected on a 26-yard field goal to end the first quarter up 10-7.

Once the first quarter was over the A&M offense was too much for Arkansas’ defense. The Razorback offense also gave away three turnovers, two Tyler Wilson interceptions and a Knile Davis fumble returned for a 28-yard A&M touchdown.

Manziel and the Aggie offense totaled 222 yards by the end of the first quarter and 417 by halftime before finishing with 716 yards from the line of scrimmage.

The freshman A&M quarterback also set school and SEC records for total yards by racking up 557 total yards, 104 rushing and 453 passing. Manziel completed 29 of 38 passes (76.3 completion percentage), threw three touchdown passes, had zero interceptions, and avoided being sacked by the Razorback defense.

The impressive record set by Manziel could have been improved upon but Sumlin pulled Manziel after his six-yard touchdown run with 11:19 remaining in the fourth quarter bypassing two additional A&M drives.

Three A&M receivers had over 80 receiving yards; Ryan Swope had 5 receptions for 141 yards with one touchdown, Thomas Johnson caught 5 passes for 108 yards, and Mike Evans had six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. 12 total Aggies caught passes from Manziel, Jameill Showers, or Matt Joeckel.

The few bright spots for Arkansas included Tyler Wilson throwing for 373 yards, completing 29 of 59 attempts, and Cobi Hamilton catching 11 passes for 162 yards.

Another noteworthy event took place Saturday when the Razorbacks got their first rushing play of the season over 30 yards courtesy of true freshman running back Jonathan Williams. The previous longest rushing attempt on the year was from backup quarterback Brandon Allen on a 27-yard scramble against UL-Monroe.

The Razorbacks managed to put up 514 total yards of offense but was kept off the scoreboard after the first quarter. The last four Arkansas drives ended on downs. The second half drive log for the Hogs was as follows: an interception, punt, fumble, missed field goal, downs, downs, downs, and downs.

A&M only punted once after halftime; if not for a missed field goal with 3:48 left in the third quarter the Aggies would have scored on every other possession in the second half.

Senior punter Dylan Breeding did have an outstanding game for the Hogs. He had five punts, one nearly blocked but he was successfully able to rush his kick avoiding the rush, for an average of 46.6 yards per punt with two kicks downed inside the 20 yard line.

The Razorbacks travel to Auburn next weekend while the Aggies visit Ole Miss.