Two players, four plays and seven notes from the Razorbacks' loss to the Aggies on Saturday in College Station, Texas.
Johnny Manziel has yet to make a turnover in his first season as a starter.
2 players to remember
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Manziel was as good as advertised – at least against Arkansas’ maligned defense. In his fourth game as a starter, the redshirt freshman set Texas A&M and SEC single-game records for total offense with 557 yards – a record for an Arkansas opponent. He also set a school single-game passing mark with 453 yards – another record for an Arkansas opponent. And he left the game after the first drive of the fourth quarter. Manziel threw touchdown passes of 4, 11 and 80 yards and ran 6 yards for a touchdown – a wild fourth-quarter play in which he ran in a circle before scoring.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Wilson set a school record for pass attempts (59), but he most definitely won’t be beating his chest about it. He completed 29 of those throws – 31 if you count the two caught by the Aggies. One interception was a bad decision; the other a bad throw. One of the lasting images of this game will be offensive coordinator Paul Petrino chewing him out on the sideline after a third-down incompletion in the red zone. Wilson ended up throwing for 373 yards and a touchdown – a short pass to Knile Davis that the running back turned into a 64-yard score.
4 unforgettable plays
Manziel’s first TD pass
Manziel needed just nine plays – five passes, two runs by Manziel and two runs by Ben Melena – to take the Aggies 72 yards for the score. The touchdown pass was a 4-yard throw to his favorite target this season, redshirt freshman Mike Evans. Manziel scrambled, faked a jump pass and threw a low pass that Evans somehow managed to scoop up. The replay officials took another look at the play before ruling it a touchdown.
Manziel to Swope, 80-yard TD
The Razorbacks were trailing 20-10 and made it as far as their own 41 after an 18-yard pass from Wilson to Cobi Hamilton. But Wilson was sacked for a 10-yard loss, Davis was stopped for no gain, and Wilson threw a 17-yard pass to Demetrius Wilson to set up fourth-and-3 at the Arkansas 48. Instead of going for it, the Hogs punted into the end zone. On the next play from scrimmage, Manziel connected with Swope, who put a double-move on safety Alan Turner to get behind him. Swope caught the ball around the Hogs’ 48 and streaked the rest of the way into the end zone for the touchdown.
Davis’ 64-yard score
Down 7-0 with 8:22 left in the first quarter, the Hogs took over at their 21 following the first of two missed field goals by Taylor Bertolet. The Hogs moved 15 yards in four plays and faced second-and-10. They lined up in the Shotgun with Davis the lone running back. Tyler Wilson looked down the middle, saw nothing and dumped it off to Davis about three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Davis got past one diving defender around the Hogs’ 36, slipped by another diving Aggie around the first-down marker and turned on the jets down the A&M sideline for the 64-yard TD. Arkansas scored three points the rest of the way even though they had four more drives reach the the Aggies’ red zone.
Davis’ fumble that was returned for a TD
Texas A&M had just gone ahead 37-10 with 7:18 left in the third quarter. After the touchback, Arkansas had the ball at its 25-yard line, and the Razorbacks lined up in the I-formation. Davis took the handoff from Tyler Wilson and bounced to the right. But as he was trying to escape a tackle, defensive end Damontre Moore came from behind and poked the ball out. Defensive back Tramain Jacobs scooped it up and returned it 28 yards for the touchdown. It was one of three fumbles by Davis in the game and the only one the Hogs lost.
7 noteworthy items
• Not counting overtime games, this is the first time since 1990 – Jack Crowe’s first season as head coach – that the Hogs have allowed two opponents to score at least 50 points in a game. They also lost to Alabama 52-0 on Sept. 15 in Fayetteville, meaning they’ve been outscored 110-10 in their first two SEC games. Crowe’s 1990 team lost 54-26 to TCU in Little Rock and three weeks later got hammered at Houston, 62-28. The 1990 Razorbacks also allowed two opponents to score 49 points against them, and they finished 3-8 overall and 1-7 in the SWC. Arkansas’ 2003 team also had two opponents score half-a-hundred against them, but one of those games was the 71-63, seven-overtime win at Kentucky.
• Speaking of Crowe, he was the coach the last time the Hogs had such a horrid start to the season. Well, actually, he was only the coach for the first game of that 1992 season, when the Razorbacks also opened 1-4. Crowe, of course, was fired after the season-opening loss to The Citadel and replaced by Joe Kines on an interim basis.
• The Aggies’ 58 points are the most they have ever scored against the Razorbacks. The teams have played 69 times.
• Quoting Arkansas Coach John L. Smith: “You have to put your arm around them and keep hugging them and encouraging them and kicking them in the tail as well and let them know you can’t give up on each other. We haven’t given up on anybody. You have to keep believing. Quit isn’t in our vocabulary and you can’t allow it to be.”
• Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes was a little testy when asked if he had given any thought to calling games from the sideline instead of the booth. Among his comments: “Our assistant coaches do a great job. The game ain’t won just on Saturdays. Preparation is done all week, and if you sit there and ask them, they know I’m with them.” He also said: “Players play. I can’t go out there and make tackles.”
• Arkansas senior Dennis Johnson broke the SEC record for career kickoff return yards. He had 56 return yards in the game, giving him 2,755 for his career. Florida’s Brandon James (2006-2009) held the previous record of 2,718. Johnson also moved into third on UA’s career all-purpose yards list. He had 90 yards in the game, giving him 4,566 all-purpose yards in his career.
• Senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton set the UA record for receiving yards in consecutive games (465). He had 11 catches for 162 yards vs. the Aggies after totaling an SEC-record 303 a week earlier vs. Rutgers. The previous school record for receiving yards in back-to-back games (337) was held by Derek Holloway , who had 141 in the final game of the 1981 season and 196 in the first game of the 1982 season.