Texas A&M football is 1-0 in the SEC following a big win over the Auburn Tigers last Saturday. Their attention now turns to a showdown this weekend against their old Southwest Conference rival, the Arkansas Razorbacks. This is traditionally a very close game—only three out of the nine matchups since 2014 have been decided by more than a single score, despite there usually having been a marked talent advantage for the Aggies in that whole span.
Texas A&M Football vs. Arkansas Odds, Spread and Total
Looks like even without Conner Weigman (presumably), the Aggies are still considered the favorites in this one. When you run down the track record that the Hogs have put together this season, however, it’s not tough to see why.
Texas A&M Football vs. Arkansas How to Watch
Date: September 30, 2023
Game Time: 12:00 PM ET/11:00 AM CT
Venue: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
How to Watch: SEC Network or streaming
Texas A&M Record: 3-1
Arkansas Record: 2-2
Texas A&M Football vs. Arkansas Key Players to Watch
Here’s who to keep your eye on for each team:
KJ Jefferson: Jefferson, along with Spencer Rattler, is one of the elder statesmen at signal caller in the SEC. This will be the third time that Texas A&M football has faced off against Jefferson. In each of the last two meetings, Jefferson has hit some huge shot plays in the passing game against the Aggies (averaging 14.1 YPA on less than 50% completion in 2021, which is pretty crazy). He has yet to record more than 212 yards passing, however; obviously, though, he is more polished than ever in that aspect of the game. A leaky Arkansas OL will have their hands full trying to keep Jefferson upright, but he’s a tough guy to tackle even when the pass rush gets home. Keeping him from turning upfield on scrambles will be key as well.
Rocket Sanders: Raheim “Rocket” Sanders is an explosive running back for the Hogs and one of their most formidable offensive weapons; however, he has yet to have a real breakout game against the Aggies. Because of their improved rush defense this year as well as the fact that Sanders is recovering from injury, that may still yet be a tall task for the talented back.
Luke Hasz: The freshman tight end had a huge game downfield against a porous LSU secondary, and I bet Dan Enos has designs on using him in the exact same way against the back end of this defense for Texas A&M football. They were unable to contain Miami’s downfield attack, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Enos test that unit with Hasz’s skillset.
Max Johnson: Johnson is looking to go 2-0 in his starts against Arkansas as an Aggie. Last year, he guided A&M to a 23-21 win (with the help of a defensive touchdown courtesy of Demani Richardson and Tyreek Chappell, of course). This year, I think a heavy play-action game and increased downfield threats will play to Johnson’s strengths against a struggling Arkansas secondary.
Taurean York: The reigning SEC Freshman of the week will have his hands full as he tries to help contain the dynamic and physically imposing Arkansas rushing attack. York’s acumen in the film room and as the quarterback of this defense is already well-known, so his role will be key in stymying the Hogs.
Josh DeBerry: DeBerry’s physical play has helped him keep a starting spot on the Aggie defense, but it will be his coverage skills that will be most tested against Jefferson, who excels at throwing the deep ball. The savvy veteran transfer will have a shot at making up for a rough game down in Coral Gables this week against the Arkansas passing attack.
Texas A&M Football vs. Arkansas Prediction and Pick
Replacing Kendal Briles with Dan Enos has done no favors for the Arkansas running game, as the Hogs have struggled mightily on the ground so far this year despite their talent. They lack the dominant offensive line they have had in years past and have not only had trouble getting push in the run game but also when it comes to protecting their QB on drop backs. If the Aggie defensive line continues its level of play from last week, I see it being extremely tough for Arkansas to score in this game. Conversely, though the Hogs will have a week to plan for Johnson at QB, I think the revitalized downfield attack for the Aggies will yield dividends against a disappointing Arkansas secondary. I’ll amend my previous prediction and go with a 34-17 win for the Aggies in this game following a late Arkansas touchdown.