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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Nothing's bigger than beating a Texas team

by Wally Hall | September 26, 2021 at 3:47 a.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Call them the undisputed heavyweight champions of the state of Texas.

The 16th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks found a way Saturday afternoon to overcome No. 7 Texas A&M 20-10, even though early in the fourth quarter it wasn't looking good for the Hogs.

They led 17-0 but had given up 10 unanswered points.

Starting quarterback KJ Jefferson was out with an injury after a 9-yard gain.

The Aggies were moving the ball and Arkansas had stalled on offense in the third quarter, getting just 47 yards. But a defense that relies on sheer guts and determination as much as it does anything -- besides coaching -- came up big.

A&M had driven 27 yards in just two plays, when with 12 minutes to play the Razorback defense got some pressure on Aggie quarterback Zach Calzada.

He tried to forced a pass over the middle, but senior linebacker Bumper Pool leaped as high as he could and tipped the pass, and cornerback Montaric Brown dove as hard as he could, snaring the ball before it hit the ground.

The referees knew someone was going to be unhappy with how the call went, so they went to the review booth for what must have seemed two eternities for Coach Sam Pittman and the Razorback faithful who outyelled the yell leaders of A&M all day.

Finally with reassurance, referee Steve Marlowe announced the play on the field stood as an interception.

Granted there was still a ton of time left, but backup quarterback Malik Hornsby shook off his jitters and drove Arkansas 42 yards after the interception and Cam Little added a 24-yard field goal to set the final score.

Arkansas had gone more than 35 minutes without a score.

It was the final score because the Arkansas defense swarmed the Aggies on their final possessions.

The Razorbacks manhandled the Texas Longhorns, 40-21, in their second game of the season, and beating the Lone Star State's two giants in the same year doesn't happen very often.

It almost seems a miracle what Pittman has done in just his second year at Arkansas.

The Razorbacks are 4-0 overall and 1-0 in SEC play, and the last time that happened was 2003 when the unranked Hogs knocked of No. 5 Texas in Austin and beat Alabama in two overtimes in Tuscaloosa.

At the half, a friend who works for the SEC smiled and asked how are they doing it.

A few things are obvious: This team loves the coaches and the coaches love them.

There is great leadership, and they have each other's back. That means every practice is intense and no downs are taken off during a game.

Their only limitation is their imagination.

They embrace being overachievers, and the program that once lost its physicality is now tougher than a claw hammer on a Louisiana pecan.

Arkansas had 353 yards of offense in the first half, but the Aggies made several halftime adjustments, and the Razorbacks were held to 90 yards in the second half.

Yet, they never yielded.

There is no quit in these kids.

When things looked their bleakest, they broke the Aggie code and got the only turnover of the game.

The lone turnover was not a fluke or luck.

It was because the Razorback defense will bend, but it won't break, and when they positively needed something to turn the motivation back their way, they did it.

This was a tough test, much more so than the Longhorns, but the SEC just means more because it is the best football conference in the country.

Today, for the first time in too long, the Razorbacks are undefeated going into October.

Print Headline: Nothing's bigger than beating a Texas team

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