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Texas A&M Football

Post Game Review: Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 22

September 30, 2023
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A successful hunt.

A well-executed offensive performance and disruptive defense from Texas A&M combined to take down the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday at AT&T Stadium, 34-22.

KJ Jefferson & Co. took the field to open the 12th conference meeting between the two foes. The Aggie defense made two big stops until they gave up a 14-yard pass that moved the chains. Shemar Turner posted the first sack of the drive for a loss of four, but Arkansas went through the air to cross midfield.

Jefferson made Arkansas 3-for-3 in third-down conversions with a 10-yard scramble. Edgerrin Cooper hunted down the signal-caller for a loss of eight, and Walter Nolen made a stop on second down. The Razorbacks were finally denied on third down, and Arkansas kicker Cam Little booted a 52-yarder through the uprights.

With Conner Weigman sidelined for the rest of the season, Max Johnson took his first starting snap of 2023 and executed. A connection of Max Johnson to Max Wright moved the sticks. Then, after missing last week’s Auburn game, Noah Thomas caught a short pass on first down.

A year ago, Ainias Smith suffered a season-ending injury at AT&T Stadium, but #0’s first completion back in Jerry World was a 19-yard grab to earn a much-needed fresh set of downs. Le’Veon Moss then toted the rock nine yards before Johnson found Evan Stewart in stride for six points. It capped a beautifully executed 75-yard drive planned out by Bobby Petrino.

Jefferson threw back-to-back incomplete passes, one of which featured an impressive pass breakup by Jacoby Mathews. Yet, the quarterback used his 6-foot-3, 247-pound frame to bulldoze his way through A&M’s defense for a 38-yard gain. Raheim “Rocket” Sanders returned in the backfield after missing several weeks due to injury and caught a screen pass for a gain of seven. The Razorbacks ran for their seventh first down to end the opening quarter.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
KJ Jefferson was held in check, accounting for just 129 yards of total offense on Saturday afternoon.

On A&M’s 11-yard line, the Aggies’ front seven held strong, with Taurean York, McKinnley Jackson and Albert Regis making stops to force the Hogs to settle for a 25-yard field goal.

Max Johnson’s perfect completion percentage continued with a dart to Smith for a gain of 29. Max found his brother, Jake Johnson, for a short gain, and Amari Daniels sped away 14 yards to convert on third down.

Johnson threw his first and second incomplete passes of the day, targeting Jahdae Walker as Evan Stewart entered the medical tent. Randy Bond then saw his first action, nailing a 42-yarder to cap off the drive.

Former Texas A&M commit Isaiah Sategna returned Bond’s kickoff 36 yards to give the Razorbacks better field position, but it didn’t matter. Texas A&M forced Arkansas three-and-out as Nolen tallied the Aggies’ third sack of the half.

Although Stewart did not return for A&M’s next offensive drive, Moss managed a handful of carries as he powered his way for 29 yards on three rushes. To follow, Max Johnson hit Smith in traffic to prolong the drive. The drive was eventually stalled when Arkansas pressured A&M’s QB as he threw it away. Bond then doinked a 49-yarder off the upright, and the score remained locked at 10-6.

A&M’s defensive line stepped up to get off the field on third down once again. Turner returned to his usual disruptive ways with a tackle for loss, and Fadil Diggs forced Jefferson out of bounds behind the line to gain. As Arkansas was punting, A&M was called offsides to set up fourth and one for the Razorbacks.

D.J. Durkin’s defense got a huge stop as McKinnley Jackson stuffed Sanders for a loss of one. 

A&M’s following drive accomplished two goals: It finished with a touchdown and ate up the clock before the half.

Max Johnson went through the air and hit Jake Johnson and Moose Muhammad for a pair of 10-plus yard gains. The quarterback took it upon himself to rush for a gain of one and then seven to inch near the goal line. Moss muscled his way to put the Aggies on the two, and Earnest Crownover finished the job, rolling out of the backfield for his second score of the season, 17-6.

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Le’Veon Moss rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries in the victory. As a team, A&M rushed for 204 yards.

The Aggies got the ball back to start the second half, but it was spoiled by a pick-six by Lorando Johnson — Max Johnson’s first interception as an Aggie.

A&M’s offense was given the ball right back. Amari Daniels rushed a pair of carries for a first down, and Max responded to his pick by using his wheels for a gain for 32. The Aggies moved the chains once again with a completion to Wright. Yet, short gains were not enough to move the ball into the red zone, and Bond knocked in a field goal to extend the Aggie’s lead, 20-13.

Arkansas’ offense came out sputtering as the Maroon & White held up once again. Cooper delivered a blow to Jefferson, preventing the Razorbacks from gaining a first down.

Rueben Owens saw his first carry before things went awry for A&M. As Max Johnson attempted to rush, he fumbled the ball on an awkward tackle that left him holding his hand jogging off the field.

With Jefferson & Co. taking the field, A&M’s defense took the initiative. A three-yard rush and two incompletions was all the Hogs could cook up, and a 50-yard field goal made it a 20-16 ballgame.

Thankfully for Aggie fans, Max Johnson returned the next offensive drive with a rush of seven. Although A&M could not produce anything, the good news kept coming as Evan Stewart took the field again out wide.

Right after Nik Constantinou punted it away, the wacky ways of the Southwest Classic surfaced as Chris Russell Jr. hauled in his own pick-six to the end zone for 16 yards. It marked the first Aggie pick-six since Leon O’Neal Jr. did so against Kent State in 2021.

Still looking for an offensive touchdown, a pair of two-yard gains for Sanders set up 3rd-and-6, however, Cooper pushed Jefferson way back for a loss of eight to force another three and out.

Texas A&M earned a first down, but yet, had some miscues of their own and punted it away. The funkiness at AT&T Stadium continued as the Aggies’ 12th Man, Sam Mathews, forced a fumble, but Arkansas fell on it to regain possession.

Inconsistency on offense continued for Arkansas as the fourth quarter began. Jefferson tried to make the most of the drive, but a collapsing pocket resulted in him being taken down by A&M’s hungry D-line.

To follow, Evan Stewart did Evan Stewart things with an incredible tip-toe snag, while getting pummeled out of bounds for a gain of 18. A collection of Moss rushes kept the offense moving, but the drive failed to put up points as Bond eventually missed a 48-yarder.

Arkansas’ three offensive plays resulted in three for negative yardage. The drive started at the 30, and the ball ended on the 15. Rashod Dubinion was dropped for a loss of four by Isaiah Raikes. Jefferson was badgering for a loss of 10 to follow. On third down, Turner put the cherry on top with another tackle for loss.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
In a personal revenge game, Ainias Smith accounted for over 200 total yards.

Needing a spark, Smith strutted 82 yards to house a punt return and increase A&M’s lead at Jerry World, 33-16.

Arkansas was swarmed by the defensive line again. Losses of two and then ten pushed the Razorbacks back, who were unable to even gain positive yardage on the drive.

As A&M began its offensive drive, Arkansas defensive end John Morgan went down and, later on, had to be carted off. The Hogs came back with an answer as they recovered a fumble to send their offense back on the field.

The big play for the Razorbacks finally came in the fourth as Jefferson hit Andrew Armstrong on a go-route for their first offensive score of the day, 34-22, but they failed to execute the two-point conversion.

Arkansas’ attempt to get the ball back was unsuccessful, as the Aggies recovered the onside kick. With four minutes remaining, A&M ran the ball downfield as Moss hauled the ball for 15 and 30. The clock hit zero with the Aggies held just short of the goal line.

RUMBLED: Dependable disruption. Talk about a stellar outing for Texas A&M’s defensive line. The Aggies posted five sacks and 15 tackles for losses on Saturday. This performance came after an incredible showing vs. Auburn, totaling 15 TFLS and seven sacks a week ago. That is back-to-back games with 20-plus negative plays.

The simple stat? Texas A&M did not allow an offensive touchdown in seven quarters of SEC football. That will win you games in this league.

STUMBLED: Arkansas’ offense was inconsistent and unproductive. KJ Jefferson, a fifth-year quarterback who has the frame and talent to produce in the SEC, threw for just 132 yards, and only 50 in the second half. Sanders was supposed to be Arkansas’ offensive weapon on the ground, yet, he only rushed for 36. The Razorbacks’ rushing average in the second half was 0.1 yards on 18 attempts. The numbers speak for themselves.

TURNING POINT: As we have seen in years past, this game is not over until the clock hits zero. Yet, Smith's 82-yard punt return put the Aggies in a pretty comfortable spot with seven minutes to go. A year ago, Smith hobbled off that exact same field with a season-ending injury. On Saturday, he delivered the Aggies’ final score of the game.

UNSUNG HERO: Le’Veon Moss showed his ability as a powerful back in the SEC. The running back was handed 15 carries for a career-high 107 yards on the ground, as well as 27 yards out of the backfield. Shining on Saturday in Arlington, Moss became the Aggies’ first running back to eclipse the 100-yard plateau this season.

KEY STAT: It’s only fitting that the Aggies took the 12th conference meeting between Texas A&M and Arkansas by 12 points. Arkansas has now lost 11 of the last 12 meetings with A&M, with its only victory during the stretch coming back in 2021.

Scoring Summary

First-quarter

ARK: 6:45 - Cam Little 52-yard field goal. Drive: 15 plays, 42 yards. TOP 8:15. Arkansas 3, Texas A&M 0.

A&M: 2:36 - Max Johnson 32-yard touchdown to Evan Stewart. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards. TOP: 4:09 Texas A&M 7, Arkansas 3.

Second-quarter

ARK: 13:00 - Cam Little 25-yard field goal. Drive: 10 plays, 69 yards. TOP 4:30. Texas A&M 7, Arkansas 6.

A&M: 10:36 - Randy Bond 42-yard field goal. Drive: 8 plays, 51 yards. TOP 2:34. Texas A&M 10, Arkansas 6.

A&M: 0:13 - Max Johnson 2-yard touchdown to Earnest Crownover. Drive: 8 plays, 39 yards. TOP: 2:36 Texas A&M 17, Arkansas 6.

Third-quarter

ARK: 14:54 - Lorando Johnson interception returned 20 yards for a touchdown. Texas A&M 17, Arkansas 13.

A&M: 11:11 - Randy Bond 34-yard field goal. Drive: 8 plays, 58 yards. TOP 3:43. Texas A&M 20, Arkansas 13.

ARK: 7:58 - Cam Little 50-yard field goal. Drive: 4 plays, 3 yards. TOP 0:44. Texas A&M 20, Arkansas 16.

A&M: 5:15 - Chris Russel Jr. interception returned 16 yards for a touchdown. Texas A&M 27, Arkansas 16.

Fourth-quarter

A&M: 7:40 - Ainias Smith 82-yard punt return for a touchdown. Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 16.

ARK: 3:53 - KJ Jefferson 48-yard touchdown to Andrew Armstrong. Two-point conversation is no good. Drive: 4 plays, 64 yards. TOP: 1:05. Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 22.

Discussion from...

Post Game Review: Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 22

9,105 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by Ol Rock
cageybee77
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AG
Great write up
Class of 65
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AG
This write up beats everything I have read today including 247 and blogs and the remaining staff on Texags
Ol Rock
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AG
Enjoyed the write-up.
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