ARLINGTON, Texas — The momentum quickly turned for 10th-ranked Texas A&M when Trevor Knight, the quarterback already with two long touchdown runs, had another big play right after a huge defensive stand by the Aggies.
Knight hit Josh Reynolds for a 92-yard tiebreaking TD pass two plays after 17th-ranked Arkansas was stopped three times from the 1, ending a 19-play drive that took nearly 10 minutes, and the Aggies went on to a 45-24 victory late Saturday night.
“A big-time momentum-changer,” Knight said.
Reynolds caught the ball in stride just short of midfield and quickly shed defensive back DJ Dean on his way to the end zone to break a 17-all tie and put the Aggies (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) ahead to stay.
Texas A&M has won five straight against the Razorbacks (3-1, 0-1), all since joining the SEC in 2012.
“This game has been something else,” Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said. “I was proud of our guys. They hung in there, and it just really showed the maturity of our team tonight.”
The long catch-and-run by Reynolds came two plays after Keon Hatcher was tackled by Armani Watts for a 5-yard loss on fourth down, ending the drive that started after A&M fumbled from the Arkansas 2.
“Everybody talks about fourth-down stops, but it took three others to create a fourth-down stop, you know, from closer than that,” Sumlin said. “So it wasn’t just the fourth-down stop. It was the three before it.”
Quarterback Austin Allen was stopped twice from the 1, though officials reviewed the third-down run before ruling the play stood. One overhead replay showed just how close the ball was to the goal line, with Allen’s tight end basically pulling him toward the end zone.
“I’ve got to believe that the right call was made,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. “It took forever. When those reviews take that long, usually it’s because they’re going to get overturned. Obviously a huge, huge play.”
Earlier, the Razorbacks had to settle for a field goal after six snaps from the 2 on the same series.
Knight’s 48-yard TD run just before halftime tied the game at 17, after an earlier 42-yard scoring run. He finished with 10 rushes for 159 yards, the last a 62-yarder on third down in the final minute of the game.
“We’re trying to grow with Trevor. I think tonight he struggled early throwing, but he got running, and that was it,” Sumlin said. “Somebody asked me what his best stat is, and I said it’s winning.”
Arkansas: The Razorbacks just squandered too many good chances. Along with that long drive in the third quarter that got them nothing, and the field goal after all the snaps from the 2, Rawleigh Williams fumbled just short of the end zone in the first half when it looked like the Razorbacks were about to go ahead by 10. That was one of three lost fumbles.
Texas A&M: At 4-0 for the third straight season, a first since 1939-41, the Aggies finished strong against Arkansas for an emphatic victory after needing overtime to beat Arkansas the last two years. While it remains to be seen if they can truly challenge No. 1 Alabama for the SEC West title, Knight looks comfortable. He also threw for 225 and two scores.
Texas A&M receiver Rickey-Seals Jones suffered an apparent left ankle injury before halftime and was in a walking boot after the game. Sumlin wouldn’t comment on his status.
Allen stumbled off the field clearly in pain after taking a hard shot on a third-down incompletion midway through the second quarter. The backup quarterback was warming up while Allen was getting tended to for what was called a bruised chest, but the junior quarterback showed his toughness and didn’t missed a snap. He completed 28 of 42 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s OK. Sore. He’ll be real sore tomorrow,” Bielema said. “He’s a tough guy obviously. I think our guys know that. I appreciate that about him.”
Arkansas: Since there are a pair of two-loss teams below them in the poll, and the Razorbacks at times outplayed a top-10 team, they certainly are good enough to still be ranked, though they likely will drop at least a couple of spots.
Texas A&M: The Aggies will stay in the top 10, though there is little room for upward movement because of all the higher-ranked winners.
Arkansas: Razorbacks head home for their final nonconference game next Saturday against FCS team Alcorn State.
Texas A&M: Aggies play away from Kyle Field for the third consecutive week when they go to South Carolina next Saturday.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org