Jim Harris: Two-Minute Drill – Aggies 45-Razorbacks 33


Final Score – Aggies 45-Razorbacks 33

Aggies 45-Razorbacks 33


The Razorbacks, who figured from the start they had to match A&M score for score, found the Texas A&M defense stingiest in the fourth quarter after closing to within 5, 38-33, late in the third period. Brandon Allen, supposedly unlikely to play according to reports all week up until Friday, was the surprise starter and didn’t look like his shoulder bothered him at all in passing for 282 yards on 17 completions in 36 attempts. But Allen was intercepted twice, with one returned 35 yards by Deshazor Everett on the Hogs’ first series of the second half that pushed A&M’s 24-20 halftime lead to 31-20. Arkansas’ only other possessions to cut a less-than-a-touchdown-deficit in the second half (31-27 and 38-33) both ended in a quick three-and-outs, the last from the UA 19. The defense then allowed a 7-play drive all on the ground by the Aggies. Arkansas then ate up 6:46 of the clock but failed to score after reaching the A&M 16 on its next series, with Allen throwing incomplete on fourth down.

A&M established the upper hand with two touchdowns on its first two possessions, marching 75 yards both times with relative ease. A&M added a field goal and another touchdown on its next two series. But after softening up the Arkansas 4-2-5 defense in the first half with Johnny Manziel’s precision passing and the play of receivers Mike Evans and Derel Walker, A&M turned to its blend of power and speed to hammer the Hogs on the ground behind sophomores Tra Carson (a 230-pound back) and Trey Williams (195-pound speed back). On the two Aggies scoring drives of the second half, it was mostly all Williams and Carson carrying, including nine straight runs to cover 68 yards to take a 38-27 lead. Williams and Carson overpowered and gashed Arkansas on a 57-yard, 7-play drive finished by a 1-yard run by senior Ben Malena to end the scoring. A&M and Manziel ailed to cross the 50 only twice the entire game, both times in the second half.

Arkansas defensive back Tevin Mitchel might want to keep his bulletin board material to himself. Mitchel stepped out on the proverbial limb earlier in the week and talked about how he could handle A&M’s 6-5 sophomore receiver Mike Evans. So, on the first play of the game, Evans got inside position on a post route and gathered in Johnny Manziel’s pass for 49 yards to start A&M’s first of six drives to touchdowns. Evans had five catches by halftime, then was quiet in the second have as the Aggies stuck mostly to the ground. But with Arkansas in zone coverage, which it used much of the night, Evans found an open hole for a 23-yard catch late in the game that gave A&M an important first down to run the clock. Evans had 6 receptions for 116 yards.

Arkansas followers wondering where Hunter Henry had gone after a huge opening game and just two catches last week at Rutgers enjoyed the welcome sight of the freshman tight end from Pulaski Academy pulling in four catches for 109 yards Saturday night. Henry was wide open on the first, a 52-yard pass from Brandon Allen, and outfought an Aggie d-back with his 6-5 frame for another.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was happy for his entire team’s effort Saturday night, but there was no better example than what was displayed by running back Jonathan Williams, who was constantly refusing to go down on the first, second or even the third tackle at times. Williams broke at least four tackle attempts on a swing pass he turned into a 19-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, the Hogs’ last score of the night. Williams was also on the receiving end of a 19-yard bullet from Allen for a touchdown in the second quarter that pulled the Hogs to within 7, 24-17. Williams had 53 yards running on 10 carries. Freshman Alex Collins found some big openings to lead the Hogs with 123 yards on 14 tries (8.3 yards per carry).

Freshman Korliss Marshall from Osceola was supposed to be working as a safety and was a likely redshirt candidate at last report. But Marshall ended up as one of the two Hog kick returners Saturday night, and his first return, after A&M’s first touchdown, was a bruising 38-yarder in which he bashed a would-be tackler near the 20 and continued on until the A&M kicker, Taylor Bertolet, made a possible touchdown-saving tackle. Marshall also got into the action as a running back and had one carry for 16 yards. Marshall’s mother named him for Arkansas basketball great Corliss Williamson.

A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who had a controversial summer of headlines and problems and a half-game suspension for his involvement in an autograph-signing scandal, seemed to lose his cool a couple of times with the Razorbacks on Saturday night in the first half. The second time, right in front of the Razorback bench, seemed to ignite the UA crowd to a frenzy, and the defense followed suit. On the next snap, Manziel was sacked for the first time all night by end Chris Smith and tackle Deatrich Wise. After the game, according to a reporter who covered the A&M locker room, Manziel was not made available for interviews.

Manziel, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner as the first freshman to win the award, had a great night with no turnovers, 23 of 30 passing for 261 yards, and 59 yards rushing on nine tries including a long run of 21 yards. It was still a far cry from his unbelievable coming out party against Arkansas last year when he broke a 42-year old Southeastern Conference record for total offense previously set by Archie Manning. He would later break that mark as well in his amazing season.

This time out, unlike that 58-10 humiliation against the Aggies last year in College Station, Arkansas actually averaged more yards per play (7.3 to 7.1) than did the Aggies. Arkansas, it was expected, needed to control the clock to keep the ball out of Manziel’s hands, but the Aggies suprisingly led in time of possession, 31:43 to 28:17.

“I thought B.A. [Brandon Allen] was outstanding. To come in the way he did and with a limited amount of practice was impressive.” — UA coach Bret Bielema

Arkansas (3-2) travels to Gainesville, Fla., to meet the University of Florida (4-1), a 24-7 winner Saturday at Kentucky. Arkansas has never won in three trips to Gainesville and has just one win over Florida in 10 meetings, none since joining the SEC in 1992.

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