Arkansas has won two Southeastern Conference games this season after going winless in the league the past two years.
After snapping their streak of conference futility, the Razorbacks (2-2) will attempt to end another long skid when they visit No. 8 Texas A&M (3-1) on Saturday.
The Aggies have won eight straight meetings in the series with the last victory by Arkansas coming in 2011. The streak began when Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M to its first-ever SEC win by throwing for a school-record 453 yards and accounting for four touchdowns in a 58-10 thumping that was the most lopsided win in the series.
Johnny Football led the Aggies to a 45-33 victory in 2013. But the next two meetings went to overtime, and all but one game since has been decided by a touchdown or less.
Sam Pittman is in his first year as the coach at Arkansas but recalled A&M’s dominance from 2013-15 when he was an assistant for the Razorbacks.
“I remember when Johnny Manziel came in here and he was running all over the place,” Pittman said. “And then we sent it to Dallas, and I remember the two games. We were ahead most of the game in both those and then got beat late in overtime (and) I just remember the disappointment of losing those two close games.”
The 2013 game in Arkansas was the last one held on campus as these teams have met at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where the Dallas Cowboys play, the last six years.
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said everywhere he’s coached he’s had a rivalry like the one between the Aggies and Razorbacks: One that often comes down to the wire even if one team is the clear favorite like his Aggies are on Saturday when they’re picked to win by 15.
“Arkansas and A&M have played for so many years,” Fisher said. “They know each other so well and it means a lot to the alums and everybody else so that it just becomes that game.”
Both teams were off last Saturday after the Aggies beat Mississippi State and Arkansas defeated Ole Miss two weeks ago. The Aggies look to build on the momentum gained by bouncing back from a tough loss at No. 2 Alabama with a victory over then-fourth-ranked Florida before beating the Bulldogs.
Fisher was pleased with the attitude his team showed last week as they prepared to finish the season strong.
“They understand that there’s a lot to be done,” he said. “Even though we’ve had a limited amount of success in this season, they understand there’s a lot of room to get better and how hard they’ve got to work.”
PICKS ON PICKS ON PICKS
Arkansas ranks first in the nation with 10 interceptions after the team had six, including two that were returned for touchdowns, against Ole Miss. Freshman Hudson Clark led the interception barrage against the Rebels, picking off Matt Corral three times in the 33-21 win.
Texas A&M senior quarterback Kellen Mond is rewriting the school’s record books this season. Mond is already Texas A&M’s leader in career yards passing (8,363), completions (693) and attempts (1,191). Mond needs only 267 yards of offense to pass Manziel (9,989) and become the Aggies leader in total offense.
Pittman has been impressed with Mond’s development this season and raved about his work behind Texas A&M’s experienced offensive line.
“He’s comfortable back there,” Pittman said. “He’s getting rid of the ball faster than maybe he has in the past. I just think he’s a lot better quarterback than he’s ever been just obviously with reps and years.”
Arkansas cornerback Jerry Jacobs announced this week that he was opting out of the season to prepare for the NFL draft. Jacobs was a graduate transfer who started the first three games this season and had 17 tackles.