There are tons of positives to take away from this game in terms of how good of a team Arkansas is, but that doesn't matter right now. Once again, just like last year, the Hogs found themselves in a situation where they should win about 90% of the time, and they couldn't make the plays to seal it.
I don't mean they couldn't convert difficult plays to pull off a win. I mean basic things like completing the snap. Twice Arkansas fumbled the snap. The first time, in the first half, resulted in a turnover while the Razorbacks were driving. The second, on what might have been Arkansas' chance to ice the game. Brandon Allen recovered the ball, but Arkansas was then behind the chains and a couple of rushes weren't enough to get the first down, which forced the 44-yard field goal that John Henson missed.
But the screw-ups that will likely draw the bulk of the focus for the next two weeks (what a great time for a bye, so the Hogs can live with this fresh for 14 days), will likely be Dan Skipper's penalties that wiped out two touchdowns. The first was a hold that erased a big pass to Hunter Henry and the other for tripping that wiped out a Jonathan Williams 50+ yard run to the one yard line.
I never saw a replay that clearly showed the hold, the trip definitely happened and that's inexcusable. For all the great things we love about Skipper, coaches have always cautioned that sometimes he plays a bit too angry. Bielema said early in the season he was afraid it could make Skipper "a marked man." The refs were clearly watching him today. Williams was well beyond the line of scrimmage when the trip happened. It was completely unnecessary. That type of play needs to be fixed immediately.
The Razorback defense deserves a ton of credit. If we knew the Aggies would only score 28 points in regulation, everyone would expect them to lose. A&M finally was able to hit the big plays in the fourth quarter and scored way too easily in overtime, allowing the Aggies to end up with over 500 total yards and Kenny Hill with 386 yards. We knew A&M could and would make those types of plays, and they deserve credit for pulling them out at the end. And they missed their share of chances as well, but the Arkansas defense played well enough to win.
But the offensive miscues, including 8 penalties for 76 yards, far more than Arkansas has committed all season, kept points off the board for the Hogs and allowed Texas A&M to pull the game out at the end.
Now Arkansas' SEC losing streak continues, now at 14 games with Alabama on deck. The question now becomes how the players will rebound from this. Can the coaches keep their spirits up in the wake of another huge disappointment? Arkansas proved they can play with good teams, and they can expect to be better than a lot of teams, and should have some great chances to win some games this year. But this team isn't good enough to overcome that type of sloppy play against a good team.
We'll have a lot more on the game in the few weeks, but that's about all I can do right now.
It's going to be a long two weeks. And it's Alabama. The coaches were able to get the team back on whatever rackety track they were on last year after a disastrous November, so they'll have to do it again right now.