Texas A&M opened up an early 10-0 lead but Arkansas realed off 30 unanswered points take a 30-10 halftime lead, and then cruised to a 47-19 win in the first annual Southwest Classic at the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on Saturday night.
The game could not have started much better for the Aggies. The Aggies came in high and full of confidence. While the Aggie defense was forcing Arkansas three-and-out on their first three possessions, A&M scored a field goal and touchdown on their first three possessions to take a 10-0 lead with six minutes left in the first quarter.
Arkansas received the opening kickoff and the Aggie defense forced the Hogs three-and-out when Aggie 'jack' Von Miller picked up his ninth sack of the season.
On the Aggies first play from scrimmage, Cyrus Gray ran for 31 yards to the Aransas 31-yarcd line. On the next play Jerrod Johnson found Howard Morrow for a 17-yard pass completion. The Aggie drive stalled and Randy Bullock kicked a 32-yard field goal to give the Aggies a 3-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.
After an exchange of punts and the Aggie defense forcing their third Arkansas three-and-out, Jerrod Johnson scrambled and then found Brandal Jackson for a 60-yard TD reception. Bullock's extra point gave the Aggies a 10-0 lead at the 6:02 mark in the first quarter.
Arkansas immediately responded with Ryan Mallett connecting with Joe Adams on a 67-yard pass to the A&M 10-yard line. On third-and-goal from the eight, Mallett tossed the ball to Broderick Green and Green found a crease in the Aggie defense to score. The extra point by Alex Tejada cut the Aggie lead to 10-7 with 4:14 left in the first quarter.
On their ensuing possession, the Aggies had an opportunity to take a 17-7 lead but Jerrod Johnson and Ryan Tannehill failed to connect with Tannehill wide open down the middle on what would have been a 60-yard Aggie touchdown.
A 5-yard Aggie punt gave Arkansas great field position at the A&M 38-yard line. It took Arkansas 7 plays to drive for a go-ahead TD when Ryan Mallett tossed a 5-yard pass to De'Anthony Curtis in the end zone. Tejada's extra point gave Arkansas a 14-10 lead early in the second quarter.
Unable to take advantage of an Aggie interception of a Mallett pass and an Arkansas fumble on a punt return that gave A&M possession at the Arkansas 12-yard line, Jerrod Johnson fumbled and Arkansas defensive back Jerry Franklin returned the fumble 85 yards for an Arkansas touchdown. Tejada's extra point gave Arkansas a 21-10 lead with 6:25 left in the half.
After the Aggies went three-and-out, Arkansas drove to the Aggie 21-yard line before having to settle for a 38-yard field goal to extend their lead to 24-10 with 4:23 still remaining in the second quarter. Another Aggie three-and-out gave the Hogs the ball with 3:26 to go in the half. It took Arkansas just 4 plays to drive 73 yards and Ryan Mallett threw a 31-yard touchdown to Jarius Wright to give Arkansas a 30-10 lead over the Aggies that they would take into halftime.
At the half, A&M actually led in total yards, 259 to 208, and in first downs, 11 to 8. Jerrod Johnson had completed 11 of 27 passes for 167 yards and 1 TD. Cyrus Gray had rushed for 58 yards on 7 carries. For Arkansas, Ryan Mallett had completed 10 of 17 passes for 193 yards and 3 TDs.
After an exchange of punts to start the third quarter, A&M drove to the Arkansas 25-yard line before Randy Bullock kicked a 47-yard field goal to cut the Arkansas lead to 30-13. Arkansas immediately responded by driving 70 yards in 8 plays and Ryan Mallett took advantage of a busted coverage by the Aggies to complete a 29-yard touchdown pass to Michael Smith. Tejada's extra point gave the Hogs a 37-13 lead.
The Aggies drove 85 yards in 13 plays and on the first play of the fourth quarter Jerrod Johnson tossed a 3-yard touchdown to Ryan Tannehill. A failed two-point attempt left the Aggies trailing 37-19.
Arkansas drove to the Aggie 1-yard line but had to settle for an 18-yard Tejeda field goal to take a 40-19 lead with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter. A&M drove to the Arkansas 19-yard line before failing on a 4th down attempt. Ronnie Wingo broke loose for a 62-yard touchdown run to extend the Arkansas lead to 47-19.
A&M drove to the Arkansas 19-yard line before again turning the ball over on downs. After an Arkansas fumble the Aggies got one more chance but Jerrod Johnson fumbled when hit it the back to end the game with Arkansas earning a 47-19 win over the Aggies.
This game exposed the inexperienced Aggie line, as quarterback Jerrod Johnson was harassed all night by the Arkansas defense.
Even with this and the lopsided score line, the Aggies led the Hogs in total yards, 458 to 434, and in first downs, 28 to 16.
The Aggie offense ran 93 plays in the game. Jerrod Johnson completed 30 of 58 passes for 345 yards and 2 TDs. Brandal Jackson caught 4 pasases for 118 yards and 1 TD. Ryan Tannehill caught 6 passes for 66 yards and 1 TD while Howard Morrow caught 6 passes for 51 yards. Cyrus Gray rushed for 65 yards on 12 carries and caught 5 passes for 46 yards.
Ryan Mallett completed 17 of 27 passes for 271 yards and 4 TDs to lead Arkansas.
This young Aggie team will now need to quickly rebuild its confidence before opening Big 12 play hosting the Top 20 Oklahoma St Cowboys next Saturday afternoon.