Texas A&M has yet to lose to Arkansas since joining the SEC. However, unlike the last six matchups, this week’s game will not be played in neutral territory at AT&T Stadium. With both teams coming off of a bye-week, the No. 8 Aggies are deemed a 10.5-point favorite. Here are five things to look for as A&M hosts the Razorbacks on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Kyle Field:
1. Razorbacks’ defense
Arkansas’ defense is largely credited for the team’s recent success. The defense has put up impressive numbers, including the creation of 13 turnovers and nine sacks for a loss of 72 yards thus far. The diversity has allowed the defense to be disruptive, in addition to its weapon in senior linebacker Grant Morgan who leads the team with 52 tackles — the second-highest in the NCAA. The Razorbacks’ fifth-ranked defense will be looking to cripple the Aggies’ offense, both on the ground and in the air.
2. Pittman is a perfect pick
Arkansas broke its 20-conference game losing streak with a win over Mississippi State in Week 2 of the season, under new head coach Sam Pittman. Although new to Arkansas, Pittman is familiar with the SEC as he was on staff at Georgia for four years prior. While Arkansas currently sits at 2-2, a win over a top-10 team this week would create huge momentum for the developing program.
3. Indeterminate injuries
Both the Aggies and Razorbacks have lost several players to injury this season. However, according to the press conference on Monday, Oct. 26, a handful of players could move from the sideline to the field this week for the Aggies. A&M’s junior wide receiver Hezekiah Jones and sophomore safety Erick Young could be among those returning, as well as Arkansas defensive starters Dorian Gerals, Bumper Pool and Montaric Brown. The Razorbacks also lost senior cornerback Jerry Jacobs with his recent announcement to opt out of the remainder of the season.
4. A&M’s dominant defense
A&M’s defense played exceptionally well in the team’s most recent game, a 28-14 win over Mississippi State, constantly applying pressure to the Bulldogs’ quarterback and accumulating six sacks. Senior defensive tackle Jayden Peevy was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after recording five tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery against Mississippi State. The Aggies have another opportunity for a great performance against Arkansas’ offense, which averages only 373 total offensive yards per game.
5. Arkansas’ offensive duo
Arkansas has playmakers in sophomore wide receiver Treylon Burks and senior running back Rakeem Boyd. Although both recently suffered injuries, Burks and Boyd were back on the field last week and helped contribute to the team’s 33-21 win over Ole Miss. Burks leads the Razorbacks in both rushing and receiving yards, and Boyd, who spent his freshman year as an Aggie, isn’t far behind him. A&M’s defense will have to execute its game plan well in order to contain these two on Saturday.