FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Say this about Arkansas and Texas A&M: The two schools have provided plenty of entertainment value since returning to AT&T Stadium two years ago.
Well, for the Aggies and their fans, at least.
The No. 17 Razorbacks (3-0) would like nothing more than to enjoy their own celebration at the giant home of the Dallas Cowboys when the two SEC foes meet on Saturday night. They’d also like to end their skid of four straight losses to No. 10 Texas A&M (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference), the last two of which have come in overtime fashion.
“It wasn’t a happy plane ride home for us the last two years,” Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen said. “We need to get a happy plane ride home this year.”
While the Razorbacks are focused on ending their recent woes against their former Southwest Conference rival, both schools hope to turn into SEC party crashers this weekend.
At the very least, a victory would give both a strong case as the early season second-best-in-the-West behind No. 1 Alabama.
The Aggies already own quality wins over both UCLA and Auburn this season, while Arkansas has won nine of its last 10 games - including 10 of 12 since last season’s loss to Texas A&M. It was the second straight year the Razorbacks led in the second half before falling to the Aggies in overtime.
“We’ve lost it, but they’ve earned it,” coach Bret Bielema said. “One thing I’ve always said is, ‘You earn everything,’ and we just haven’t been at the point to close this baby out.”
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin could do without the in-game suspense this time around.
“Do we want it to be as exciting as it has been?” Sumlin said. “Probably not, unless we win and then it can be as exciting as it wants to be.”
Some things to watch as Texas A&M tries to win its fifth straight against the Razorbacks:
Texas A&M receiver Christian Kirk had eight catches for a career-high 173 yards receiving and two touchdowns against Arkansas last season. Kirk knows it’s hard to predict if he’ll have another big game against the Razorbacks, especially with an offense full of so many weapons.
“We’re clicking as a whole right now as an offense, and anybody at any moment can have a breakout game,” he said.
Arkansas holds the longest winning streak in the series between the schools that dates to 1903. The Razorbacks won nine straight games against the Aggies from 1958-66, while Texas A&M’s current streak against Arkansas is its longest since six straight from 1938-43.
In his first year as the starter, Allen leads all SEC quarterbacks in passer rating (160.9) after three weeks. The Razorbacks junior threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in a win at TCU two weeks ago, and he’s completing 67.1 percent (53 of 79) of his passes this season.
Aggies DE Myles Garrett is arguably the nation’s best pass rusher, and if he leaves school early he’s likely to be a top-10 pick in next year’s draft. When you have credentials like that, it’s sure to garner a little extra attention from the opposing team. Sometimes it seems to the Aggies that those going against him might get away with a little holding on Garrett.
“We’ve sent our concerns in to the proper authorities, I’ll put it that way,” Sumlin said.
Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams is third in the SEC in rushing with 354 yards after three games, and he’s tied with Georgia’s Nick Chubb for the most carries (71). The sophomore has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last two weeks.
AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken in College Station, Texas, contributed to this story.
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