Texas A&M vs. Arkansas: 10 Things We Learned from the Aggies' Win
The No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville by the score of 45-33. The Aggies coaches learned a lot about their young team in their first road game of the season.
Arkansas is now 3-2 on the season and 0-1 in the SEC. The Aggies improved their record to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the SEC.
The Razorbacks were averaging 264 yards rushing per game coming into the contest. The much-maligned Aggies front seven had not shown the ability to stop anyone in 2013.
The Aggies' offensive line and their defense carried them in the second half. This is a look at what the coaches and fans learned about the Aggies in their victory over Arkansas.
The Defense Can Get Stops When They Are Needed
The Texas A&M defense stood up and made plays when the Razorbacks challenged. Arkansas had the ball on three separate occasions in the second half when it was within a touchdown of the Aggies.
On all three occasions, the Texas A&M defense got the stop. Once the Aggies got ahead by 12 in the fourth quarter, they forced a turnover on downs and then got an interception.
The Aggies defense is still a work in progress, and it still has a lot of youth on the unit. Arkansas is not a great offense by any stretch of the imagination.
However, the Texas A&M coaches and fans have to be encouraged by the ability of the defense to rise up and get stops when they were needed in this game. The defense had not shown that ability in the previous four games.
Deshazor Everett Is an All-SEC Player
Junior safety Deshazor Everett is the Aggies' best defensive player. His 34-yard interception return for a touchdown on the first play of the second half put the momentum squarely on the side of the Aggies.
Everett is a shutdown corner but is playing safety while Floyd Raven recovers from his broken collarbone. He is tied for the team lead with two interceptions on the season.
Raven entered the game third on the team with 24 tackles through four games. He has done this while missing almost 1.5 games due to suspensions.
Everett has been playing as well as any defender in the conference.
Aggies Can Run When They Want To
The Razorbacks defense entered the game allowing an average of 93 yards rushing and 3.0 yards per carry. It finished the game allowing an average of 126 yards rushing and 3.8 yards per carry.
The Texas A&M offensive line took over for portions of the game. The Aggies rushed for 262 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
The offense ran the ball on every play during a nine-play 68-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. That drive silenced the crowd and gave the Aggies some control of the game.
LG Jarvis Harrison Should Get More Pub
When you play on the same team with Johnny Manziel, everyone is going to take a backseat when it comes to publicity. Even with Manziel on the team, Mike Evans and Jake Matthews receive their fair share of media buzz.
You do not hear a lot about junior left guard Jarvis Harrison. If you watch the games, the Aggies run behind Harrison a lot.
When the they need a first down, you will see them become a left-handed team and run between Harrison and Matthews. Harrison is a very underappreciated offensive lineman.
Tra Carson Is Coming into His Own
Aggies sophomore running back Tra Carson continues to make his case for more carries. The 6'0", 230-pound sophomore ran with power and a lot of effort against the Razorbacks.
He broke tackle after tackle and gained 64 yards on nine carries against Arkansas. Carson's unwillingness to give up on any run was an inspiration for the Aggies offense.
His leg drive was tremendous. Carson could be a 1,000-yard back if he got the carries. He will continue to share the ball in the Aggies' talented backfield.
Trey Williams Is Getting Healthier
Texas A&M sophomore running back Trey Williams has been struggling with a high ankle sprain all season. If his play against the Razorbacks was any indication, he is getting healthier.
Williams led all Aggies rushers with 83 yards on nine carries and added a touchdown. He averaged 9.2 yards per carry against an Arkansas defense that entered the game allowing 3.0 yards per carry.
He does not quite have the explosiveness speed that he brings when he is 100 percent, but Williams is getting better with each passing ballgame.
This Is Not a One-Man Team
Despite the mainstream media's obsessive focus, the Aggies are more than just sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel. The Aggies won the game in the second half behind their offensive line and their defense.
Manziel only threw nine passes in the second half. The Aggies' rushing attack took over. Williams, Carson and Ben Malena carried the offense in the second half.
The defense pitched a shutout in the fourth quarter. Manziel is the best player in college football, but he gets a lot of help.
The Aggies Receivers Continue to Bail Manziel Out
Two weeks ago, redshirt freshman wide receiver Edward Pope outleaped a group of defenders to give Manziel a big completion. Against Arkansas, it was sophomore receiver Mike Evans' turn.
Evans led all receivers with 116 yards and two touchdowns. His most impressive play came in the second quarter when Manziel scrambled around and threw the ball up for grabs.
It was a terrible decision by Manziel, but Evans outleaped three Arkansas defensive backs and came down with the ball to help give the Aggies a 24-10 lead. Evans and the rest of the Aggies receivers continue to make Manziel look good.
Derel Walker Has Gained the Trust of Manziel and the Coaches
It is hard to stand out on offense when you play for the Aggies. Texas A&M's senior outside receiver has slowly but surely earned the respect of his teammates and coaches with his solid play.
Derel Walker led all receivers with seven receptions in the game. He had 81 yards on those seven catches.
Walker's value to the team was demonstrated during a drive in the second quarter when Arkansas decided to play off of him and give him a cushion.
Aggies offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney called five passes to Walker in a row. He caught all five passes for 49 yards.
Walker is now second on the Aggies with 345 receiving yards on the season. He ranks third behind Mike Evans and Malcome Kennedy with 26 receptions. He has become a dependable playmaker as a senior.
Nate Askew Has Found a Home at OLB
Nate Askew was a 6'4", 235-pound wide receiver who could not get onto the field in 2012. He made the move to linebacker during spring practice in 2013 and was primarily viewed as a pass-rusher.
Askew had six tackles and a sack against SMU and earned the start at outside linebacker against Arkansas. He was solid against Arkansas with four tackles and a tackle for loss.
On a defense that is devoid of playmakers in the front seven, Askew has stood out for two games in a row. He is one of the Aggies' bigger linebackers weight-wise and has been a solid addition to the defense.