Arkansas vs Texas A&M

The Southwest Classic Trophy will be up for grabs this week as the no. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks face the no. 23 Texas A&M Aggies on neutral turf in Arlington, Texas. The Aggies had won nine straight games in this series before Arkansas won 20-10 last year. For this year’s matchup, the Aggies are 2.5-point favorites with the over/under set at 48 points.

Texas A&M did a nice job of bouncing back from a disappointing loss to Appalachian State two weeks ago by beating Miami 17-9 last week. It was just the kind of win the Aggies needed to get things back on track. However, it doesn’t get much easier with both Arkansas and Alabama on the schedule in the next three weeks.

As for the Hogs, they are currently sitting atop the SEC West standings with a win over South Carolina under their belt. Arkansas also beat Cincinnati to open the season, although the Razorbacks had some against Missouri State last week, overcoming a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win. The Hogs also need to make sure they aren’t looking ahead with Alabama lined up for next week.

Rolling Razorbacks

For the most part, the Arkansas offense has been rolling thus far behind potential Heisman contender KJ Jefferson. Despite a sluggish start by the Razorbacks last week, they are averaging over 36 points per game with Jefferson completing 70.5% of his passes and averaging 9.9 yards per pass. The Hogs also have a healthy running game with Jefferson being a viable runner and Raheim Sanders averaging 6.7 yards per carry, although three turnovers last week is a concern for the Arkansas offense.

Keep in mind that the Arkansas defense may not provide much help. They have allowed a minimum of 24 points in all three games this season and conceded over 400 yards against an FCS opponent last week. Forcing turnovers has helped at times and the Razorbacks have remained strong against the run, although the Arkansas secondary has yielded a lot of yards and looked vulnerable early in the season.

Opposites Attract

While the Razorbacks have their biggest concerns on defense, the Aggies have one of the best defenses in the country. Despite the loss to Appalachian State two weeks ago, the Aggies conceded just 17 points, following up that performance by holding Miami to just three field goals last week. Oddly enough, Texas A&M has just one takeaway and one sack over the past two weeks, but the Aggies remain strong across the board on the defensive side of the ball.

Alas, it’s a different story for the Texas A&M offense, which has scored just three touchdowns over the last two games. A change at quarterback to Max Johnson made a marginal difference last week, although the son of former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson completed just 10 of 20 passes for 140 yards. The Texas A&M rushing attack is also struggling to get going this year, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry with Devon Achane largely held in check.

Defense Rules

When in doubt, always side with the team that has the better defense. The Aggies have been dominant on that side of the ball this year, and they’ve done it without a lot of sacks or turnovers. Meanwhile, with the Arkansas defense looking vulnerable, Texas A&M should find a way to score enough points to win and cover.

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