Aggies And Jimbo Fisher Turn In 2nd Straight Jumbo Victory – 23-21 Over No. 10 Arkansas

Well, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher has certainly made everyone look stupid.

He was called a fraud, ridiculed and said to suddenly have job security issues since an upset loss to 18-point underdog Appalachian State two weeks ago.

All Fisher and his team have done since is knock off No. 13 Miami last week and No. 10 Arkansas, 23-21, on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies walks off the field after taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first half of the 2022 Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium on September 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

“We are gutsy,” Fisher said on ESPN after the game. “We play hard. The fight, the heart, the guts of these guys – we’re getting better. We’ve just got to get better quicker.”

No. 23 Texas A&M (3-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) also got lucky. Arkansas kicker Cam Little’s go-ahead field goal attempt from 42 yards out hit the top of the right crossbar and dropped straight down – no good – with 1:35 to play.

The Aggies ran out the clock for the win.

The Razorbacks (3-1, 1-1 SEC) cut the Aggies’ lead to 23-21 on a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback KJ Jefferson at the 10:04 mark of the fourth quarter with their first points since the first quarter when they took a 14-0 lead. At that time, the game was looking like a blowout.

Arkansas was in the process of shredding the Aggies’ defense and had it completely off balance as it drove toward a likely 21-7 lead late in the second quarter. But on first-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Jefferson attempted to leap for the touchdown. And one of the wildest plays in the 2022 college football season ensued.

A&M linebacker Chris Russell hit Jefferson in the air and forced the ball out. Defensive back Tyreek Chappell scooped it and ran to the Aggies’ 18-yard line when he appeared to be nearly tackled, but he handed off to defensive back Demani Richardson.

And Richardson took it the remaining 82 yards for the touchdown to cut Arkansas’ lead to 14-13 after a blown conversion with 3:11 to play before halftime.

ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 24: Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Jaylon Jones says a prayer before the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the Arkansas Razorbacks on September 24, 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

At the half, Arkansas led A&M in first downs, 15-4, and in total yards, 281 to 152.

The Aggies maintained the momentum in the third quarter as it took the second half kickoff and drove 70 yards in six plays to take their first lead of the game at 20-14 on a 9-yard run by tailback Devon Achane.

Texas A&M increased that to 23-14 late in the third quarter on a 31-yard field goal by Randy Bond. At that point, the Aggies had outgained the Razorbacks, 236 yards to 17 since the fumble return.

Fisher said after the App State loss that his team needed to play some ranked teams.

“Because we’d find out who we are,” he said Saturday after the game. “We needed the challenge.”

In the meantime, Fisher has found his quarterback. Max Johnson, the junior LSU transfer, went to 2-0 as the Aggies’ new starter. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 151 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also rushed 13 times for 39 yards while showing excellent mobility.

Achane led all rushers with a career-high 159 yards on 19 carries.

Jefferson completed 12 of 19 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, but after the first half, he was only 4-of-6 passing for 45 yards with seven rushes for 35 yards. At the half, he had thrown for 126 and rushed for 70.

Jefferson put Arkansas up 7-0 with a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ketron Jackson Jr. with 9:44 to go in the first quarter and hit wide receiver Warren Thompson on a 56-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 advantage with 5:25 left in the opening period.

But Texas A&M refused to fold and embarked on a 93-yard drive in six plays over 3:23 to cut Arkansas’ lead to 14-7 midway in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Evan Stewart.

The Aggies won despite losing star wide receiver Ainias Smith to a serious leg injury in the third quarter when his right leg got rolled in a pile. After leaving the game, he returned in a protective boot and wearing crutches.

Texas A&M plays at Mississippi State (3-1, 0-1 SEC) at 4 p.m. Saturday on the SEC Network. The Bulldogs beat Bowling Green, 45-14, on Saturday. Arkansas hosts No. 2 Alabama (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS. The Tide defeated Vanderbilt, 55-3, on Saturday.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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