Hogs must move on past bummer

FAYETTEVILLE -- Subtract KJ Jefferson, Ricky Stromberg and Cam Little from Sam Pittman's 2021 9-4 Razorbacks and they slide toward the 2-10, 2-10 Chad Morris Arkansas era.

Quarterback Jefferson, center Stromberg and place-kicker Little need to remember that. They took it personally for Arkansas' 23-21 SEC West loss to the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium.

Pittman's Hogs aren't competitive against A&M without Jefferson's team-leading 105 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 carries and 12 of 19 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

But if Jefferson doesn't do a too-early jump and ball extension at the two on first and goal from the three ... A&M linebacker Chris Russell dislodged the ball, Tyreek Chappell caught it and ran a few yards. About to be corralled by Razorbacks running back Rocket Sanders, Chappell lateraled to defensive back Demani Richardson credited with an 82-yard touchdown actually covering 98 yards.

About to lead 21-7, Arkansas instead only led 14-13 because A&M mishandled the PAT snap.

Pittman vowed the Hogs would recover fast in the second half. They didn't.

"I think for whatever reason that took a lot of wind out of our sail," Pittman said on postgame radio. "Then we got back in the fourth quarter and certainly had a drive down there with an opportunity to win but unfortunately we didn't."

A&M tallied a 10-0 third quarter.

Asserting he put the game on his offensive line, Pittman's Hogs showed fourth-quarter mettle. The Hogs opened with a 14-play, 76-yard drive capped by Jefferson's 6-yard touchdown run.

Arkansas' defense forced a way too long A&M field goal attempt setting the Hogs at their 36 with 6:30 left.

Much behind Stromberg, the Hogs, trailing 23-21 marched second and five to A&M's 16. Then Stromberg's shotgun snap backside backslid.

"Unfortunately the snap hit Rick in the butt," Pittman said. "The snap wasn't good and there were about 70 of them that were good. It was just unfortunate."

Arkansas was fortunate that Rocket Sanders recovered the 9-yard loss at the 25. Jefferson ran a third-down yard.

Little, a freshman All-American last year 20 of 24 field goals, kicked it ricocheting off the right upright. Had it fallen over the crossbar, the Hogs win. It didn't.

ESPN showed Stromberg sobbing into a towel and Little devastated.

"You know he (Little) is distraught," Pittman said. "After the game I told him he's won a lot of games for us and he'll win a lot more."

The Hogs need only to look to the Aggies for inspiration.

Two weeks ago they were football's Aggie joke, upset at home by Appalachian State.

Now in successive opportunities A&M upended No. 13 Miami and No. 10 Arkansas.

An enormous opportunity knocks for Arkansas with the No. 2 reigning SEC champion Alabama Crimson Tide rolling Saturday into Fayetteville at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.