A&M, Arkansas meet as SEC foes for first time

BY foxsports • September 26, 2012

Maybe all it's going to take for Texas A&M to start having some success against Arkansas again is for the game to have conference implications.

The old Southwest Conference rivals have met in non-conference games at Cowboys Stadium each of the last three years, with Arkansas winning the trio of matchups.

The teams, which first played each other in 1903, will play each other for the first time as Southeastern Conference foes Saturday at Kyle Field. The teams are heading in different directions with A&M (2-1, 0-1) winning consecutive games while Arkansas (1-3, 0-1) struggling after beginning the season as a top 10 team.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin doesn't think the 1-3 record is indicative of the talent the Razorbacks have.

"I expect them to play very well," Sumlin said. "You take a game and half out of there when you lost one of the best players in the country (quarterback Tyler Wilson). Take a great quarterback off anybody's team and they are going to struggle no matter who you play. There's a lot of talent on the football team. We catch them with everybody coming back. I told my team a wounded animal is the most dangerous animal."

And despite their slow start, the Razorbacks should be a confident animal given their recent success against the Aggies. No one on A&M's roster has ever beat Arkansas.

"They have no reason to be intimidated," Sumlin said. "The guys on their team have won the last three games. They'll be confident and ready to play. We have something to prove too."

Sumlin doesn't see revenge as a motivation for his team. His focus is getting a victory against an SEC West team, no matter what's happened in the past.

"Right now it means as much as anything and not about the last three years," Sumlin said. "We're not talking about that. We're talking about it being a conference football game and an SEC division matchup. The game because important because of that. A win is extremely important because of it being a divisional league win."

The key Saturday could be quarterback play.

Wilson suffered a concussion and missed the Arkansas game against Alabama. He threw for 419 yards in a loss to Rutgers last week. He also threw for 510 yards last year in a 42-38 win over A&M.

As good as Wilson is, Arkansas head coach John L. Smith is impressed with A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

"What they do and what Kevin does with the offense is tremendous," Smith said. "Their quarterback is a special kid. As I looked at all the film, the one thing that kind of jumps out at you is the kid pulling the trigger for them."