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Throwback Thursday: Arkansas vs Texas A&M 2009, The Southwest Classic Is Born

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The Razorbacks dominated the first few years of the game in Arlington.

The first Southwest Classic was a really big game for the 2009 Razorbacks. The team was just 1-2 in Bobby Petrino's second season, and even though the two losses came to a good Georgia team and eventual national champion Alabama, there were plenty of questions about how good the Hogs would be with new quarterback Ryan Mallett.

That question began to be answered that night in the JerryDome.

Texas A&M was 3-0 under beloved coach Mike Sherman, and jumped out to a 10-0 lead against the Hogs, but then Arkansas broke loose. After a few early incompletions, Mallett hit Joe Adams for a 67-yard gain to set up the first touchdown en route to 30 straight points before halftime.

The most memorable of those plays is Jerry Franklin's fumble return. Jerrod Johnson led the Aggies down the field and were well into the red zone threatening to retake the lead, but he was hit and fumbled. Franklin scooped the ball up and ran 85-yards for the touchdown to put Arkansas up 21-10. It was the last time the Aggies would threaten in the game.

Mallet would throw four touchdown passes to four different receivers, but his attempts/yardage numbers were rather pedestrian for him. He was 17 for 21 for 271 yards. Of course, with Arkansas spending the entire second half with a big lead, there wasn't much need for him to throw after halftime.

The game is remembered as a pretty big blowout for Arkansas, but interestingly, if you look at the box score, the numbers are pretty even. The Aggies had more total yards and fewer turnovers, but a lot of those numbers came in garbage time.

Personally, I specifically remember a few plays from this game: Franklin's fumble return, Mallett's touchdown pass to a wide open Michael Smith on a wheel route, and Ronnie Wingo's 62-yard run for a touchdown. Wingo was arguably the most hyped recruit in the 2009 class, and the hope was that run would be a harbinger of a tremendously successful career (it wasn't).

The A&M victory proved to be significant for Arkansas, as it signaled that the Hogs were on the upswing. The Razorbacks went on to beat Auburn in Fayetteville the next week en route to earning a bid to that infamous Liberty Bowl at the end of the year.