The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 16, 2024

Texas A&M baseball sophomore RF Jace LaViolette is known for his bat — and for good reason. LaViolette ranks sixth in the country in home...

Advertisement
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

A&M falls to Arkansas for first time in 10 years

Junior+running+back%26%23160%3BIsaiah+Spiller+ran+for+95+rushing+yards+and+a+touchdown+against+the+Razorbacks.
Photo by Courtesy of Kate Luffman/Texas A&M Athletics

Junior running back Isaiah Spiller ran for 95 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Razorbacks.

A slow start ultimately became Texas A&M’s downfall, allowing Arkansas to build an irrecoverable lead.

The 2021 iteration of the Southwest Classic saw the return of neutral site warfare between the two teams, but with one key difference — Arkansas defeated A&M for the first time since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. In their 20-10 victory, the Razorbacks nearly doubled A&M’s total offensive yardage while holding the maroon and white to an average of just 4.6 yards per play.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher said he was frustrated with the team’s performance, believing all members of the program — himself included — need to do better on a daily basis.

“There’s a lot that we have to get better,” Fisher said. “We have to get guys playing [with] more consistency. We have to make sure we coach better, play with better position to make plays, try and do things … and get up and do it. We’re all in it together, and [Arkansas] did a better job at that today.”

The Razorbacks struck first, stringing together a series of eight plays for 47 yards. After being stopped on a third-and-long, freshman kicker Cam Little nailed a 46-yard field goal, putting Arkansas up by three.

By falling behind near the start of the first quarter, Fisher said the Aggies put themselves in a situation which was unnecessarily difficult to overcome.

“Like I say, you never win a game in the first 10 minutes of a game,” Fisher said. “But you can sure put yourself behind, and that’s what we did. We gave up some big plays, big drives. They made big plays, and we didn’t.”

A&M’s deficit widened on Arkansas’ next possession, as redshirt sophomore quarterback KJ Jefferson needed just one play to connect with junior Treylon Burks on an 85-yard pass, putting the wide receiver into the end zone. Little’s extra point attempt was good. Another pass from Jefferson on his team’s next drive, this time good for 48 yards to freshman running back AJ Green, added another touchdown to the Razorbacks’ score total. These also represented the first two passing touchdowns given up by A&M this season.

Even with the apparent success seen by the Arkansas offense, junior defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal said the Razorbacks did not actually perform as well as the statistics indicate. Instead, it was A&M’s 11 penalties for 75 yards which allowed Arkansas to score so easily, Leal said.

“We had self-inflicted wounds,” Leal said. “There’s nothing that they did better. Execution-wise, we just have to get back to … taking things a lot more serious.”

Senior placekicker Seth Small broke A&M’s scoring drought with just seconds left in the first half. The Aggies pushed forward for 56 yards, anchored by three runs for over 10 yards from three different players. Small’s 47-yard attempt sailed squarely between the crossbars, putting the maroon and white within two scores heading into the break.

A&M found its footing in the second half, scoring its first touchdown of the game near the start of the third quarter. A three-play, 75-yard drive saw junior running back Isaiah Spiller break through the Arkansas defensive line and push for 67 yards into the endzone. Spiller’s game-high carry also marked the first A&M offensive play of more than 20 yards. Small’s extra point attempt was good, leaving the Aggies trailing by just seven points.

Spiller said the run would not have been possible without the hard work of the Aggies who blocked and guarded for him throughout the surge.

“I got the ball, and Aki [Ogunbiyi] made a great block,” Spiller said. “It just opened up [the middle of the field] like the Red Sea for me. I feel like we can continue that, and the o-line did a great job today.”

With momentum on their side, the Aggies looked to tie the game at 17, but an interception thrown by redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada to Arkansas defensive back Montaric Brown gave the Razorbacks possession within the 50-yard line. Arkansas used the field position to nail a 24-yard field goal by Little. 

Both defenses played lockdown defense for the remainder of the game, forcing punts and turnovers until time expired.

Even in defeat, the maroon and white special teams saw considerable success. Sophomore punter Nik Constantinou recorded an average of 45.8 yards across eight punts, including five within the 20-yard line and a game-high of 57. In addition to Small’s 49-yard snipe, junior placekicker Caden Davis saw considerable gametime in his three kickoffs.

Fisher said the special teams players were the athletes who most helped the maroon and white to keep fighting throughout the game.

“We had momentum in the middle of the third quarter that we thought we could have kept going with, and we’ve got to learn to feed on that,” Fisher said. “But those guys are doing really nice. We have very talented legs on our team, no doubt.”

With the two teams’ Southeastern Conference opener having come to a close, Arkansas remained undefeated at 4-0. A&M saw its first loss of the season, moving to 3-1 and breaking its 11-game winning streak dating back to October of 2020. The Aggies will have an opportunity to redeem themselves when they host the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Spiller said the maroon and white must not waste its next week of practice if the team wishes to remain competitive as SEC play continues.

“We need to grow up and do it real fast if we want to do what we want to do,” Spiller said. “We learned today that practice matters. Every little thing is a thing. Every step we take, every thought we think during the game, matters. That’s what we learned today. We’re going to take that forward, and I’m going to enforce it as a leader on this team.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *