Arkansas continued to pile up bad statistics in the 58-10 loss to Texas A&M. In addition to the 1-4 start — the worst since 1992 — Arkansas did nothing to stem the bleeding on defense, where it ranked 101st in the nation out of 124 Division-I teams going into Saturday. The Razorbacks gave up 716 yards to the Aggies and is almost guaranteed to drop in the rankings.
Last season, Arkansas finished the year 47th.
The Razorbacks were 110th in scoring defense at 36.3 points per game, so that stat also goes up. Arkansas is now giving up an average of 40.6 points per game, which will be at or near the bottom. In 2011, Arkansas held opponents to 22.2 points per game, which was 33rd in the nation.
Arkansas went into the A&M game 121st in the nation in allowing opponents plays of 10-yards or longer at 75. Only UMass, Toledo and New Mexico had allowed more to this point in the season. Arkansas gave up more than 20 in that category against the Aggies. Last year, Arkansas finished 35th in the nation in the same category at 162. Arkansas began the A&M game last in the nation in turnover margin at minus-10. Arkansas had two interceptions and gave up a fumble against the Aggies.
Playing In Texas
Arkansas had won four straight in the state of Texas prior to Saturday’s 58-10 loss to Texas A&M. Three of those victories had been against the Aggies — all at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The Razorbacks also defeated Kansas State in the same stadium in the Cotton Bowl last season.
The previous three games between the Aggies and Razorbacks were nonconference games; Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference after the 2011 season and A&M officials wanted a home-and-home series with Arkansas to begin play in the SEC, negating a 10-year agreement to play in Arlington.
The Aggies play in Fayetteville next season and the series will return to Cowboys Stadium beginning in 2014 in a new agreement that extends through 2024.
In perhaps the only positive for Arkansas in the Texas A&M loss, the Razorbacks allowed only one sack of Tyler Wilson. That’s significant since the Aggies went into Saturday’s game leading the nation in quarterback sacks with an average of 5.33 per outing. Ranked second nationally was Tulsa, Arkansas’ opponent for its homecoming game on Nov. 3, Tulsa was averaging 4.75 sacks per game. Second in the SEC was South Carolina, averaging 3.75 per contest. Arkansas plays South Carolina on the road on Nov. 10.
For Razorback fans who were looking for positives going into Saturday’s game at Texas A&M, Arkansas had outscored opponents 96-66 with Wilson at quarterback. That stat was no longer applicable after the A&M game. Opponents now have outscored the Razorbacks 124-106 with Wilson playing. The senior from Greenwood went all the way in Saturday’s loss.
Arkansas was able to score only one touchdown in six quarters and an overtime period without Wilson, who left the Louisiana-Monroe game late in the second quarter with a head injury.
Before his departure, the Razorbacks were up, 21-7. Arkansas came out in the second half to score on its first possession with Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell sharing duties as signal caller. ULM responded with 27 points, including a fourth-down scramble for a touchdown in overtime to defeat the Razorbacks, 34-31.
The 52-0 rout by Alabama meant Arkansas was outscored 79-7 with Wilson on the sideline.
Texas A&M loves the second quarter. The Aggies outscored Arkansas 20-0, continuing its dominance of the second stanza this season. So far in 2012, the Aggies have outscored opponents 89-3 in the second quarter through four games. When second-and third-quarter scores are combined, the Aggies are equally impressive, outscoring opponents, 134-9.
Dennis Johnson is in excellent company when it comes to all-purpose yards in a career for the Razorbacks. He added 90 yards to his total to move into third place all-time with 4,566 yards. The career leader in all-purpose yards is Darren McFadden, who amassed 5,881 yards, while teammate Felix Jones is second with 5,099 yards.
McFadden and Jones, who played from 2005-07, continue to enjoy successful NFL careers — McFadden with the Oakland Raiders and Jones with the Dallas Cowboys.
Gary Anderson, who played from 1979-82, dropped to fourth with 4.535 yards. Anderson went on to star for San Diego and Tampa Bay in the NFL for eight seasons as a running back.
Ryan Epperson of Texas A&M and Arkansas’ Dylan Breeding started the game among the top punters in the nation. Breeding punted five times and averaged 48 yards per punt.
Epperson punted three times and averaged 42.3 yards. Epperson went into Saturday’s game with the third-best punting average in the nation at 47.6 yards. Breeding was 19th in the nation, averaging 44.9 yards per punt. Epperson was ranked No. 1 in the SEC and Breeding was fifth.
Arkansas has 18 players who played their high school football in Texas and six who played on the same team as members of the Texas A&M football team.
Among that group are Knile Davis, who played at Fort Bend Marshall with Toney Hurd Jr.; Nate Holmes, who played at Memorial High School in Port Arthur with Desmond Gardiner; Johnathan Williams, who played with Uzoma Nwachuku and Cedric Ogbuehi at Allen; Alonzo Highsmith played at Elkins High School in Missouri City with Mike and Jake Matthews; and Colton Miles-Nash, who was teammates with Jake Russell at Sulphur Springs High School.
Kyle Field Grass
The Razorbacks and Aggies played their previous three games on the artificial surface at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington but moved to grass at Kyle Field on Saturday. The Tifway Bermuda, installed in 1996, held up well in rain that was heavy at times. When the two teams last met at Kyle Field in 1991, they played on Astroturf.
The synthetic surface was first installed in 1969, but the field was changed back to grass in 1996. The Aggies played on grass at Kyle Field from 1947 until the Astroturf era.
End For Tank
Tenarius Wright was moved back to his natural position of defensive end against Rutgers and apparently will stay there. He was beat up after playing middle linebacker in Arkansas’ 52-0 loss to Alabama. Wright played mostly on passing downs against Rutgers and Coach John L. Smith said last week that using four defensive ends up front on passing downs would continue.
He predicted Wright would make “a ton of plays” at a position he played for the last three seasons. He was credited with one solo tackle and two assists against A&M.
On Sept. 29
Arkansas is now 11-5 in games played on Sept. 29. Among the most memorable were two victories over Tulsa. In 1979, Arkansas was ranked 13th and downed No. 11 Tulsa, 33-8, in Fayetteville. In 1962, the No. 11 Razorbacks downed Tulsa, 42-14, in Fayetteville on their way to a 9-2 season and a second straight Sugar Bowl appearance.