Move over Texas A&M. There’s a new primary contender for Alabama’s throne in the SEC West, and it’s the Arkansas Razorbacks.

With their 44-30 victory over South Carolina in the SEC opener on Saturday, the Razorbacks improved to 2-0 and affirmed a physicality like no other team in the SEC West, not even Alabama. The Razorbacks pounded away at South Carolina’s defense old-school style; the way prior SEC champions used to do it before the 7-on-7 craze created our current pass-happy offenses.

But Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman defines old school. He still prefers his music from a jukebox (Google it youngsters). He’s brought a physical brand of football to Arkansas, and the SEC, that more seasoned college football fans recognize and can appreciate.

Four different Razorbacks scored rushing touchdowns on Saturday. There were the usual suspects, like All-Everything quarterback KJ Jefferson and rising star running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders. Add to that freshman Rashod Dubinion scoring his first career touchdown and AJ Green rounding out the list with the Hogs’ 5th rushing touchdown of the game. That’s the most since the 2016 game against Mississippi State.

“I was really proud of our offensive line,” Pittman said to reporters after the game. “We asked them to control the game, and I felt like they did at least until the last series of the first half. We were a little slippery on pass protection, but I think the offensive line wore them down.”

Arkansas rushed for 295 yards on Saturday. It’s the 3rd consecutive 200-plus rushing yards game and 5th consecutive game of 400-plus yards of total offense. The Hogs piled up 457 total yards against the Gamecocks.

Perhaps the most eye-popping stat to come out of Saturday’s game was the one that most reflected Arkansas’ dominance along the line of scrimmage. The Hogs compiled 20 first downs by running the football. That’s an amazing stat that cannot be overlooked and, in a nutshell, tells the tale of not only the victory on Saturday but the mentality of this football team.

“It’s a line of scrimmage game in this league,” Pittman noted.

Well, it certainly was for many years in the SEC and nobody did it better. Then came the wave of strong-armed quarterbacks and high-scoring games that lit up scoreboards around the country. Now, it appears Pittman is steering back toward the ground-and-pound style that once brought the SEC to prominence.

“It depends on if you want to make it that or not,” Pittman said. “We do. We want to make it a line of scrimmage game. It feels good, to be honest with you. I think everyone in the stadium felt good on the first three possessions.

“There weren’t really any great, big plays out there. It was really just churning 4 and 5 yards out. It feels really, really good. We have a lot of work to do, but I’m really pleased with where we are as a coaching staff and as a team.”

As well he should. Arkansas is proving more and more that it is the most physical team in the SEC West. And that starts with an offensive line that included Saturday’s starters Ricky Stromberg, Beaux Limmer, Brady Latham, Luke Jones and Dalton Wagner.

They opened up running lanes for Sanders to pile up 156 yards and 2 TDs, including a career-long dash of 47 yards. Jefferson, easily the SEC West’s most physical quarterback, turned in another outstanding game with 67 yards rushing and a TD to go with 162 yards through the air on 18-for-21 passing and another score.

It’s an offensive line that displays the physicality that Pittman demands.

“Coach Pittman emphasizes it, we go pads three times a week,” Wagner said. “Three days a week we’re getting after it and hitting each other, and he emphasizes physicality. You got a runner like KJ who can throw a shoulder in there and you got the O-line pushing a pile trying to knock it over and KJ’s still running after we knock the pile over, it’s just physicality.

“We love it, he loves it, and I think the whole state loves it.”