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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

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Tannehill, Bullock, Michael and McFadden give analysis on Saturday’s matchup

Ryan+Tannehill+starts+for+the+Miami+Dolphins+after+playing+quarterback+at+Texas+A%26amp%3BM
Photo by Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill starts for the Miami Dolphins after playing quarterback at Texas A&M

From 1934-1991, Texas A&M faced its conference foe Arkansas annually. The rivalry ceased after the Razorbacks left for the SEC, creating an 18-year hiatus. Renewing the showdown with the clever title “Southwest Classic,” the two have duked it out since 2009 and enter Saturday’s contest 3-3 since the tradition’s renewal.

Graduating from Arkansas, the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones helped schedule his alma mater against A&M in “Jerry’s World” — the AT&T stadium. 

Miami Dolphin and former Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill played in the first three and said it was a game he marked on his calendar each year.

“It was always a fun game for us,” Tannehill said. “It was a game we looked forward to. It was always the Big 12 versus SEC game in Dallas. It was always really cool to play at the new Cowboys Stadium and against an SEC opponent.”

Former Texas A&M running back Christine Michael, who now plays for the Cowboys, was with Tannehill during the three-game losing skid to start the series. Michael had one of the best games of his life coming off injury in the last loss in 2011, as he rushed for 230 yards on 32 carries for three touchdowns. He said his performance helped him deal with the defeat.

“I came back from my torn ACL and broken tibia,” Michael said. “It was one of my best games in college. I think I had something like 250 yards, and that’s one of the greatest memories I had against Arkansas.”

Houston Texans place-kicker Randy Bullock said he’s served as a mentor to A&M’s kicker Taylor Bertolet since his playing days with the Aggies ended. The Lou Groza winner said he couldn’t be more proud of what Bertolet has accomplished after being benched in 2013.

“We developed a friendship when I was there,” Bullock said. “Whenever he went through all his struggles, I reach out to him and just told him that if he could get through this, he could get through the rest of his career. It was kind of a defining moment in his career.”

Michael, who played with the Aggies until 2012, shared with Johnny Manziel in the first Aggie win over the Razorbacks in a dominating 58-10 fashion. That time, however, A&M played Arkansas in the friendly confines of Kyle Field. A&M took the next one at Arkansas as well before returning to  AT&T Stadium.

“It was exciting finally having an SEC team come into our house,” Michael said. “With the 12th Man, we were all excited. It was a great feeling.”

Last year, A&M overcame a 14-point fourth quarter deficit and beat Arkansas 35-28 in overtime. Once again, the Aggies enter the game undefeated, but the Razorbacks have tallied consecutive losses. Dallas Cowboy and former Razorback running back Darren McFadden said he’s confident Arkansas can get its streak rolling again.

“I feel like they had a good start in their season opener,” McFadden said. “But then the past two games have been kind of downhill. It’s one of those deals where you just want to go see them put some players together, try to get something together and get back on the right foot.”

McFadden said he loves seeing two SEC schools go at it and thinks his Razorbacks will win. He also said that their current running back Alex Collins has picked up the slack quite well for injured Jonathan Williams.

“He’s a good young back, and he’s a guy that’s going to go in there and hit the hole,” McFadden said. “He reminds me of some past Arkansas backs that have been there. I won’t put any names or anything, but he’s one of those guys that hits holes and can bust a big play at any time.”

Tra Carson can run the ball too, as he has garnered nearly 300 yards to open the season for the Aggies. Michael said he’s had a close relationship with Carson and can’t wait to watch his season unfold.

“That guy is like my brother on and off the field,” Michael said. “I’m really excited to see Tra Carson and what he can do. I’ve been a Tra Carson fan ever since I was at A&M. I’m excited to watch him. We’ve been brothers. We’ve been there for each other on and off the field since he came from Oregon.”

Bullock is in an awkward situation, since his starting quarterback Ryan Mallett played for Arkansas. While McFadden and Michael have occasionally exchanged words about the matchup, Bullock said he plans to watch the game with Mallett.

“We joke and talk about it,” Bullock said with a laugh. “We’ll probably get to the hotel a little early and watch the game together with the guys that went to the two schools. It’ll be fun to watch and we’ll trash talk a little bit to each other throughout the game.”

McFadden picked his Hogs, but Tannehill said he expects the Aggies to improve to 4-0 this weekend.

“I’m excited for this team, and I think they have a lot of talent,” Tannehill said. “The defense has been playing well so far, so that’s really exciting for me to see. I’m expecting a big win this week against Arkansas, and I have high hopes for them the rest of the season.”

While these former collegiate players will be friendly jawing at one another in their comfy hotel beds, A&M has a chance to take a 4-3 advantage since the official start of the Southwest Classic on Saturday.

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  • Former A&M football player, Christine Michael now plays for the Dallas Cowboys. 

    Photo by Photo By: Jeremiah Jhass
  • Former A&M kicker, Randy Bullock now plays for the Houston Texans. 

    Photo by Photo By:Houston Texans
  • Former Arkansas running back, Darren McFadden now plays for the Dallas Cowboys. 

    Photo by ©James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys
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