Aggies fast 100-yard start on way to 24-17 win over Arkansas
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jimbo Fisher got his first Southeastern Conference victory at Texas A&M. He was still far from happy with the performance.
Jashaun Corbin had the first 100-yard kickoff return to start a game for Texas A&M since 1994 and Trayveon Williams ran for 153 yards with two touchdowns, but the Aggies needed a late interception to seal a 24-17 victory over Arkansas on Saturday.
“Probably played our worst football game of the year by far and need to get things fixed,” Fisher said. “Had decent intensity. But our intelligence level, how to play and how to expect to win and play from ahead and do things that champions do and good football teams do, we’ve got to grow in it.”
The Aggies (3-2, 1-1 SEC) had a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter before Arkansas even had a first down. They were driving for another potential score when Kellen Mond threw his second interception, and they also missed two field goal attempts.
“We played in spurts,” said Fisher, whose A&M losses are to No. 1 Alabama and then-No. 2 Clemson. “We came out and started well, had some great things off the beginning, lost control of the game.”
This time against Arkansas (1-4, 0-2), which also has a new coach in Chad Morris.
Corbin, a true freshman, fielded his first career return at the edge of the end zone and took off before shooting through an open gap across the field toward the opposite sideline. He streaked by the A&M bench and scored untouched to put the Aggies ahead to stay.
“Took a huge punch on the first play of the game,” Razorbacks coach Morris said. “But the thing that you saw was guys that rallied back, they fought back.”
Williams, whose 1-yard score capped A&M’s first possession, had a 4-yard TD run with 5 minutes left that made it 24-10 and proved to be the decisive score.
“Throughout the game we were inconsistent, showing spurts of greatness and then at the same time we did some things that weren’t what we were supposed to do,” Williams said.
The Razorbacks got the ball back with just under 2 minutes left in the game, but their attempt to force overtime for the fourth time in the last five meetings with A&M ended when Donovan Wilson intercepted a pass by Ty Storey with 1:11 left.
“We lost and it’s as simple as that,” Storey said. “We’ve got to start winning ball games and it’s on me. It’s on me more than anybody else.”
Texas A&M has won seven consecutive games against former Southwest Conference rival Arkansas since they reconnected in the SEC in 2012. It’s the longest winning streak by either team in the 75-game series that dates back to 1903.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks are going to have a difficult time getting an SEC victory in Morris’ first season without some drastic improvement, especially on offense. They had only 248 total yards, most coming on two 75-yard touchdowns drives — Storey had a 29-yard TD pass to Mike Woods after Cole Kelley’s earlier keeper for a 1-yard score . They went three-and-out on seven possessions, including all four in the first quarter when they had minus-3 total yards.
Texas A&M: Mond didn’t account for a touchdown for the first time this season and threw both of his interceptions before halftime — both right to linebacker Dre Greenlaw. But Mond was 17-of-26 passing for 201 yards and the Aggies also have one of the SEC’s top running backs in Williams.
THERE AT THE END
Wilson, who had the game-clinching interception, had been ejected from two games earlier this season because of targeting. But he was there at the end for the big play against Arkansas. “I’ve just got to learn from the mistakes I’ve made,” he said. “Play my game without being too hesitant but I should always learn from those mistakes.”
True freshman kicker Seth Small had made his first six field-goal attempts for Texas A&M filling in for injured senior Daniel LaCamera. That included a 30-yarder on Saturday. But he missed a 36-yard attempt wide left at the end of the first half and hit the right upright on a 33-yard try in the fourth quarter.
Arkansas plays No. 1 Alabama next Saturday in the first of five consecutive home games, four on campus and one in Little Rock.
Texas A&M is home next Saturday night to play No. 17 Kentucky, then plays three road games in a row.