Arkansas football: Can the Razorbacks break yet another streak?
It has been a year of streak-breaking for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks have unquestionably been the most surprising team in the SEC at 2-2. Fans know how impressive that is for first-year coach Sam Pittman, after Arkansas endured two straight winless seasons in conference play. Under Pittman, the Razorbacks snapped not only that streak but their home conference losing streak with a 33-21 victory against Ole Miss on on Oct. 17.
Is another streak set to be broken next week?
Arkansas is scheduled to play Texas A&M following its bye week at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in College Station. Despite holding a 41-32-3 advantage in the series, the Razorbacks haven’t beaten A&M since 2011. That could change.
The No. 7 Aggies struggled to start the season but have put together a couple of solid games since then to put themselves back in the national conversation. Isaiah Spiller ranks second in the SEC in rushing yards (430) and also has 4 touchdowns. A&M ranks third in the conference as a team in rushing yards per game, ahead of Alabama and Georgia.
The Aggies also have Kellen Mond, who many predicted would be the best quarterback in the SEC. He has had his moments, including a 338-yard, 3-touchdown game against Florida.
Barry Odom and the Razorbacks defense will again be tasked with slowing down an offense that has been picking up steam. So far, that hasn’t been a problem, as Arkansas leads the SEC in turnovers forced per game. However, the Aggies are in the upper echelon of the conference and are certainly one of the strongest opponents the Razorbacks have seen, along with Georgia.
Arkansas lost to the Bulldogs, 37-10, in Week 1.
But even in that game, the Hogs didn’t look completely outmatched until the second half. It was also the first game of the season. We’ve seen Arkansas make progress in each of the following weeks.
While the defense has rightfully stolen the spotlight, the offense is starting to come together as well. Receiver Treylon Burks and running back Rakeem Boyd both returned from injuries against Ole Miss. Burks posted his second 100-yard game of the season. If Boyd can get going this week, A&M could be on upset alert.
That said, it won’t come easy.
After surrendering 52 points to Alabama on Oct. 3, the Aggies defense tightened up. The Gators still got their points the following week, but a fumble recovery set up the game-winning drive. Against Mississippi State, A&M held K.J. Costello to 99 yards and an interception, which prompted coach Mike Leach to bench him.
A victory is still definitely within reach for Arkansas, though. We’ve seen improvements from the Aggies lately, but it has still been a small sample size. There are still question marks for a squad that has been depleted at receiver.
Once again, the pressure is off Arkansas. Pittman’s team has performed well despite no expectations. They have a few more eyes on them now, but bets are still against them in this one.
As if they care.