Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 16 Arkansas clash in a battle of SEC West unbeatens Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. 

Game time is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS. 

Texas A&M (3-0) will stick with Zach Calzada at quarterback, who replaced Haynes King (fractured leg). The Aggies are winning with a nasty defense that has allowed just 17 points per game under coach Jimbo Fisher. SN Preseason All-American DeMarvin Leal leads the way with 2.5 sacks. 

Arkansas (3-0) has been one of the early-season darlings, and the Razorbacks have a chance to sweep Texas and Texas A&M. Second-year coach Sam Pittman has crafted an exciting offense that scores 41 points per game, and quarterback KJ Jefferson leads that diversified rushing attack. 

MORE: Inside Arkansas’ unlikely revival under Sam Pittman | Picks against spread for Top 25 games | Week 3 Takeaways

This rivalry dates back to 1903, and it’s fitting this year’s matchup is back in Jerry World. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know about Saturday’s game between the Aggies and Razorbacks. 

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas odds 

  • Spread: Texas A&M -5.5
  • Over/under: 47.5
  • Moneyline: Texas A&M -230, Arkansas +184 

Three trends to know  

— Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012, and the Aggies have won all nine head-to-head meetings with the Razorbacks since joining the conference. That includes six victories at AT&T Stadium. 

— The Razorbacks are 3-0 ATS this season. Arkansas also is 8-3 ATS as an underdog since Pittman took over in 2020. 

— The Aggies are 28-1 S/U and 19-10 ATS as a favorite under Fisher. Texas A&M is 2-4 ATS in neutral-site games since 2018. 

Three things to watch  

— Calzada’s efficiency. Calzada showed improvement in his second start for the Aggies, and he finished with 275 passing yards, three TDs and an interception against New Mexico State. Calzada’s completion percentage, however, is at 51.4% through three games. Texas A&M offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey has to find creative ways to test Arkansas’ secondary, which features safety Jalen Catalon, who has two interceptions and three pass breakups. The Aggies have to be more efficient in the air, and Calzada needs to offer the threat of the pass to take pressure off leading rusher Isaiah Spiller, who averages 6.3 yards per carry with a pair of 100-yard games. 

— Arkansas’ rushing game. Jefferson leads a strong Arkansas running game that has five players with at least 100 yards rushing. Trelon Smith is the lead back, and he averages 5.1 yards per carry. That versatility could allow for success against an Aggies’ defense that allows 4.1 yards per carry. Jefferson did not play against Texas A&M last season. 

— Jalen Wydermyer in the seam. Ainias Smith, Texas A&M’s leading receiver, is day to day with a leg injury suffered in the victory against New Mexico State. That could mean more targets for tight end Jalen Wydermyer, an All-American candidate who had six catches for 92 yards and a pair of TDs in last year’s 42-31 victory against the Razorbacks.

Stat that matters

Penalties. The Razorbacks rank 116th in the FBS with 78.5 penalty yards per game. Those mistakes will be more costly this week and has to be a major point of emphasis. 

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas prediction 

Arkansas has been able to control games by starting fast, and that is why they are capable of pulling this upset. The Razorbacks have outscored opponents 24-0 in the first quarter, but Texas A&M’s defense has controlled games early too with a 24-10 first-quarter margin. The Razorbacks need to play out in front to put more pressure on Calzada in the passing game, but Texas A&M can weather that by matching Arkansas up front on both sides. Momentum swings will be huge, but the Aggies take control in the third quarter but need a late field goal from Seth Small, who is 4 of 5 from 40 yards or more, to seal the victory. 

Final score: Texas A&M 31, Arkansas 28 


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