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Pittman: "Aww hell ... we got whipped"
Arkansas loses to Texas A&M, again, at AT&T Stadium
ARLINGTON, Texas — AT&T Stadium has mostly been a house of horrors for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Hogs have struggled in these annual trips to face Texas A&M at Jerry's World.
Saturday was no different, as the Razorbacks struggled when it mattered the most, and lost, 34-22, in front of 59,437 fans.
The difference in the game might have been late in the second quarter, when facing a 4th and 1 at the Arkansas 40, Hogs head coach Sam Pittman rolled the dice and went for it.
One yard is actually a bit of a stretch. It was maybe two feet.
In the post-game press conference, Arkansas coach Sam Pittman, above, called it "six inches."
So, naturally, Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson, a human freight train at 6-foot-3 and 247 yards, lined up in the shotgun and then handed the ball off to Raheim Sanders, who took a one-yard loss to give the ball back to the Aggies.
"It was not a good outing today," Pittman said.
A&M turned around and scored on a Max Johnson touchdown toss with :13 seconds remaining in the half to give the Aggies a 17-6 lead.
"It was the worst thing that could happen," Pittman said of the result. "I know there is a risk when you go for it."
Arkansas had some chances, though, and it is the hope that kills you.
The Razorbacks defense provided a spark on the first play of the third quarter. A&M had the ball, and Johnson's pass out to the flat was intercepted by Lorando Johnson, no relation, and returned 20 yards for the score.
Hope continued in the third quarter, as Arkansas landed a shot on a scrambling Johnson, who fumbled, and Arkansas's Brad Spence recovered. The Razorbacks were back in business at A&M's 35 yard line.
The good field position turned into Cam Little's third field goal of the day, and it was 20-16 late into the third quarter.
Then A&M turned it up a notch and returned an interception for a touchdown, then added a punt return for a touchdown, to put the Aggies up 34-16 and the game out of reach.
"That punt sealed everything," Pittman said and added, “aww hell … we got whipped.”
Arkansas's offense scored its first touchdown of the game with 3:53 remaining, when Jefferson hit Andrew Armstrong for a 48-yard catch, but the two-point conversion failed to set the final margin.
A&M had a final shot at scoring in the final seconds, and even went for it on fourth down, but the Arkansas defense stiffened and held at the goal line to keep the Aggies out of the end zone.
The stand capped a solid showing by the Arkansas defense in the second half.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher defended the decision, and said it was to help run the clock out and keep Arkansas's hands off the ball.
Arkansas travels to Ole Miss next Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. game on the SEC Network.
The team will be a bit depleted as tight end Luke Hasz is likely out for the season with a broken clavicle, Pittman said. Defensive back Dwight McGlotherin missed the second half with a concussion, but Pittman expects he'll be back for Ole Miss. Defensive lineman John Morgan was injured late in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field as a "precautionary" measure, Pittman said.
Arkansas is now 1-8 in the series in games played at AT&T Stadium, and there's just one game remaining next season in the 10-year contract.
What happens after that is anyone's guess. Neither team has had much to say, and with Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, it isn't yet clear how the league schedule will work, as it is possible, however unlikely, that the Hogs and Aggies won't play in the coming years.
Of course, for most Arkansas fans, if it is a choice between playing Texas or Texas A&M, the Longhorns would be the pick.
Post-game, A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher said he liked having the series at AT&T Stadium and supported keeping the neutral site.
The series history
Sept. 27, 2014: L, 35-28 (OT)
Sept. 26, 2015: L, 28-21 (OT)
Sept. 24, 2016: L, 45-24
Sept. 23, 2017: L, 50-43 (OT)
Sept. 29, 2018: L, 24-17
Sept. 28. 2019: L, 31-27
Oct. 31, 2020 was played at College Station, Texas and was a 42-31 loss.
Sept. 25, 2021: W, 20-10
Sept. 24, 2022: L, 23-21
Sept. 30, 2023: L, 34-22