Razorbacks rally from 18 down to beat Aggies 42-38

Razorbacks rally from 18 down to beat Aggies 42-38

Tyler Wilson and Jarius Wright shattered school records for passing and receiving, and Broderick Green ran 3 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:41 left as No. 18 Arkansas gave No. 14 Texas A&M a rude preview of what it can expect from the SEC next season in a 42-38 victory Saturday.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Give Texas A&M credit for one thing. In the last two weeks, the Aggies have made a lot of folks happy in both the conference they're leaving, and the one they're joining.

It's their own players, coaches and fans who are furious.

A week after blowing a 17-point halftime lead at home to a current Big 12 rival, the Aggies blew an 18-point halftime lead against future SEC rival Arkansas on Saturday. The Razorbacks pulled out a 42-38 victory with a record-shattering passing attack and a 3-yard rushing touchdown with 1:41 left that put them ahead for the first time.

Christine Michael ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns, but was stuffed for no gain on a fourth-and-2 on what turned out to be A&M's final play. That set off a wild celebration by Arkansas faithful, punctuated by cheers of "S-E-C! S-E-C!"

"We definitely have to play better, coach better and be better in order to win football games," coach Mike Sherman said. "Certainly that is a struggle for us at this point. Each player in that locker room has to look at themselves, as well as the coaches, and figure out what we could all have done a lot better. You look at the stats and you could justify different things. The bottom line is we didn't do enough in the second half to win the football game."

Tyler Wilson threw for a school-record 510 yards and Jarius Wright caught 13 passes for a school-record 281 yards to power the comeback by Arkansas (4-1). Broderick Green had the winning touchdown, his second TD of the game, in his season debut following a spring injury that many expected to wipe out his season.

"We played in the second half with a tremendous amount of heart, competitive spirit, toughness," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "It was a really good win."

Texas A&M (2-2) scored five touchdowns in the first half, all on the ground against a defense that had allowed only a single rushing touchdown over four previous games.

The Aggies went from gaining 404 yards over the first two quarters to gaining 224 over the last two quarters. All they could muster in the second half was a field goal, albeit one that gave them a 38-35 lead with 4:22 left.

"We just weren't converting third downs, and getting into fourth-and-short and having to punt," A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "We just have to get first downs and keep the ball moving."

The back-to-back, second-half collapses have taken the Aggies from No. 8 and the cusp of the national title chase to likely the back end of the Top 25.

"We'll have some heart-to-hearts this week, particularly on Monday, about which direction we're going to go and make sure that what happened today doesn't happen again," Sherman said.

The Aggies have dropped seven straight games to SEC teams, dating to 1995, or back when they were in the Southwest Conference. That makes them 0-for-the-Big-12-era against teams from their new league.

"I don't put a whole lot of stock into all that stuff," Sherman said. "We're in the Big 12 right now and we need to win in the Big 12. We're focusing more on this season. We'll worry about next season, next season, when we are in that conference."

Wilson bested the school passing record of 409 set by Ryan Mallett against Vanderbilt last season. He was 30 of 51 with three touchdowns, including a pinpoint 68-yarder to Wright. He also ran for a 2-point conversion that tied the game 35-35, and led the nine-play, 80-yard drive for the winning touchdown.

Wilson guided Arkansas to points on four of six second-half drives before the kneel-down at the end.

"You can't get caught up in how many passing yards you've thrown for or what the score is," Wilson said. "It's just chipping away. We had success spreading 'em out in an empty formation. I knew we'd have success in the second half if the defense could hold 'em a few times."

Wright broke the school receiving record of 204 yards by halftime. He wound up also tying the record for catches. And, get this — in a single game, he got more than a quarter of the yardage needed for the single-season record of 1,004. With at least seven games left, he's already at 478.

"We saw before the game, that they left the middle open a lot," Wright said. "They did it against us too and we had to make them pay."

Cyrus Gray ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns for A&M. Tannehill was 25 of 35 for 247 yards and an interception, and ran for 56 yards.

The Aggies fell to 0-4 at Cowboys Stadium. They are 0-3 against Arkansas and lost the Cotton Bowl in January to another SEC school, LSU.

 

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