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Arkansas 2013 Opponent Preview Week 5: Texas A&M

The Johnny Football Show arrives in Fayetteville and Arkansas fans probably know what to expect. A LOT OF JOHNNY DRAMA, AM I RIGHT? Probably not. It will probably be a lot of points. Via Johnny.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

2012 Season 11-2 (6-2)

What can you say about the 2012 season that hasn't already been said?

The complete A&M program overhaul was an undisputed success.

7th in the Big 12 to 3rd in the SEC West?

7-6 to 11-2?

Meineke Car Care Bowl to Cotton Bowl?

Mike Sherman to Kevin Sumlin?

The state hasn't changed, but the conference has, the coaching staff has, and the biggest change is introducint the world to Johnny Manziel. They had a fantastic season, and hoped to take some of that Alabama-beating momentum into 2013.

2013 Season 3-1 (0-1)

Texas A&M is still looking for the first conference win of 2013. The biggest game in all of college football so far has been Alabama in College Station, where Nick Saban was put in a rare "we need to outscore them" situation in order to beat Texas A&M 49-42.

The other games have been dominant wins by A&M over non-conference opponents, but the real story has been the off the field scandal for Johnny Manziel and whether this team can avoid distractions. Johnny was pulled from the field after jawing with a Rice player in the season opener, but other than that, you haven't seen a lot of issues with the Aggies.


Everyone knows about Manziel by now, and Hog fans should expect a few of his trademark highlight plays Saturday night. Matt Joeckel has gotten some time in at QB, but don't expect him to play against the Razorbacks on Saturday (unless it's a blowout).

Ben Malena is on pace to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing, and actually has more yards than last season's leading rusher Manziel. The Aggies rank 9th in the SEC in rushing at 211 ypg, while Arkansas ranks 2nd in the SEC in rushing defense at 92 ypg, and has only allowed one 100+ rusher this season when they gave up 103 yards to Samford's Fabian Truss.

The Aggies are led in the air by 6' 5" 225 lbs Mike Evans who leads all receivers in the SEC at 143.8 ypg. Eleven different wide receivers have caught a pass this season, including 4 with 10 or more. Tight ends have only caught 2 passes this season.

The Aggies get the bulk of their yards through the air (65%), but they are a little bit more split on their touchdowns with 12 of their 26 touchdowns coming on the ground.


Texas A&M's big question mark has been their poor defensive performance. They currently rank 110th out of 125 teams in total defense. Many people might say,"yeah, but they had that huge shootout with Alabama", and they would be right, except for that in their other three wins the Aggies rank 105th out of 111 teams (14 teams have 0 wins). Both of those rankings are good for 14th place in the SEC (I know it's year #2, but it's still weird there are 14 SEC teams)

If you're an A&M fan looking for a silver lining, the maroon and white are last place in total defense, rushing defense, and scoring defense, but they are only 12th place in the SEC in passing defense, and will probably improve on that this week as Arkansas has yet to pass for the average amount of passing yards A&M gives up.

While the Aggies did hold the SMU Mustangs to 93 rushing yards, the Arkansas Razorbacks should have a field day running the ball against the Aggies. Alabama was held to under 100 yards rushing in games against Virginia Tech (good run defense) and Colorado State (bad run defense). Against A&M, the Crimson Tide had 234 rushing yards on 37 attempts. If Arkansas is able to establish their non-Rutgers rushing offense, and rushes it 50 times, they could have over 300 yards rushing before the end of the 3rd quarter. It seems more likely though that A&M will load the box and manage to stop Collins and Williams enough to let Manziel put in a few scores.

Special Teams

After Taylor Bertolet missed 2 extra points in the win over SMU, Josh Lambo was brought in. While Josh already has a missed PAT also, it was due to the holder dropping the snap. A few missed kicks could be momentum swings if the Hogs can keep the score close.

Look out for Bertolet on kickoffs as he has had two onside kicks recovered this season.

Drew Kaser has been a monster punter for the Aggies with multiple punts over 60 yards.

Fans and Traditions

The 12th man has only had traditions to hold on to for many years, but now they have traditions and winning records. I know a lot of these traditions because my brother went to A&M. Fortunately, last year he was very classy and said "sorry they ran it up on you guys".

Aggie jokes! "How do you tell if someone graduated from Texas A&M? You can see his ring when he's picking his nose" But that one won't impress an Aggie fan.

If you're really wanting to impress a Maroon clad fan, you can talk to them about E. King Gill, the first 12th Man.

If you're really desperate for a date, bring a lighter to Yell Practice, the Aggies will be at Sam's Club off of Garland at midnight Friday. If you do find some Aggie girl or guy as a date, they'll expect a kiss every Aggie score, which could tire out some lips this Saturday if Bret Bielema and the Hogs can't slow down Manziel and Evans.

The Fightin' {sic}Texas Aggie Band is pretty different from most college band programs. They are mostly tied to the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and have a decidedly more military flavor than every other SEC team. You'll notice that about 25% of the members where these big brown boots, while everyone else wears flat black shoes. They get those boots when they're a senior, and it's the job of every other Aggie Corps member to take those off for them when they get home after a football game. Or you might notice that if they were playing in Fayetteville this week, as they do at many Aggie road games, but UA turned them down.

The Aggie War Hymn does have a 2nd verse that doesn't talk about University of Texas, but you'll find they spend most of their time trying to saw Varsity's (the Texas mascot prior to Bevo) horns off.... Short!

Though they had our number last year, the most important Aggie tradition is losing to Arkansas. Arkansas has a lead in the series largely thanks to 9 wins in a row in the 50's and 60's and even the more recent 3 in a row in Arlington. While A&M has never shared the heat the Texas rivalry had, there is plenty of history and wins to be had in the future for the Hogs against this old Southwest Conference rival.