Instant Reaction to 34-22 Win for Texas A&M Football over Arkansas
This game for Texas A&M football, though the deficit was large, was somehow not even as close as it seemed. This was a domination in all three phases—the missed field goals notwithstanding when it comes to special teams.
First and foremost, this gets you to 4-1 and keeps you undefeated in the SEC. That’s the most important thing. There are definitely things to improve, no doubt. But there was a whole heck of a lot to love, too.
Let’s start with the defense. That is two straight weeks now with an absolutely smothering defensive performance—two straight weeks with seven-plus sacks. That is mind boggling. Absolutely insane statistic, especially when you consider that it comes against SEC West competition. As I write this, when the game is essentially in garbage time, the Arkansas offense is currently managing 5.6 yards per attempt and 1.1 yards per carry. Their total yardage? 125. Coming off a big performance against the LSU Tigers on the road, where the Hogs put up 31 points, that speaks volumes about how well this Aggie defense is playing right now.
There were a lot of Texas A&M football fans who were not high at all on what the Aggie defense did last week against a poor Auburn offense, but this performance was against an Arkansas team that has not exactly had trouble on the offensive side of the ball in the same way that the Tigers did. I’m sure those same fans will point to the long touchdown given up in garbage time as evidence that Durkin is a bad coordinator, but I also foresee those cries getting quieter and quieter as the week wears on. It’s time to face facts: the defense is a strength of this team.
The offense was up and down today. You had way, way too many turnovers, some just silly, and all avoidable. I liked what I saw out of the run game, though, especially from Le’Veon Moss, who really ran hard today. Moss is really emerging as a true number one option as we approach the midpoint of the season. Johnson was on point for the most part when throwing the ball, though the interception and fumbles will doubtless count against his ledger. When the Aggies were aggressive going downfield, you could see his promise, but they didn’t do that much in the second half. The development of the rushing attack was obvious, though, and Max is clearly more than capable to get it to his skilled receivers. Evan Stewart was out for much of the game today with different injuries, but the Aggie pass game persevered nevertheless.
Lastly, this sets up a huge showdown next week against Alabama. The eyes of the nation will be on you next week for the first time since the debacle against Miami, and this defense is a whole different beast since that game. They’ve only given up one offensive touchdown since that contest, and it was in garbage time today.
I want to close by mentioning that our thoughts are with John Morgan, the Arkansas defender who went down in the fourth quarter. There’s not a lot of information out there right now about what happened, but it was clearly a scary scene that the cart came out and the medical staff appeared to be stabilizing him. We hope for good news about that soon—it was great to hear that he was awake, aware, and able to speak at the time they took him off of the field. Prayers are with him, and we hope to hear of a full recovery soon.