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ARLINGTON, Texas – Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman couldn’t put the Razorbacks’ biggest win in half a decade into words.
But a non-credentialed woman sitting among the credentialed media at the postgame press conference put the No. 16 Hogs’ 20-10 upset of No. 7 Texas A&M in front of 57,992 at AT&T Stadium into perspective perfectly.
“I about passed out,” Jamie Pittman, the coach’s wife, said. “I was so excited. I’m so happy.”
Then she almost walked into the Arkansas locker room.
“You can’t go in there, Jamie,” her husband said.
“I’ve got to learn these rules,” she said after improperly asking a question about her husband’s bandaged hand at the end of the press conference.
“Jamie, you can’t ask a question,” her husband said before saying he got hit in a sideline collision.
The Pittmans and Arkansas are 4-0 on the season after the Razorbacks’ first win over a top 10 team since Pittman was the offensive line coach under coach Bret Bielema in 2015 when the Hogs beat No. 9 LSU, 31-14, in Tiger Stadium. Arkansas had lost 11 straight previous games to top 10 teams. And this was Arkansas’ first win over A&M since 2011. So, they can break the rules a little bit.
The Hogs have also not been 4-0 since 2003, and they have not won four games in a season since 2017 when they went 4-8 to start a string of four straight losing seasons. Pittman was 3-7 in his first season as a major college head coach last year.
And all this after Arkansas won its first game over a top 15 team since 2016 when it beat No. 15 Texas, 40-21, on Sept. 11.
“I really can’t,” Pittman said when asked to frame up another watershed victory. “No. I don’t know what it means.”
Upon further reflection, though, the words came to him.
“I’m happy. I’m happy for the whole state and for everyone who follows Arkansas,” he said. “This is what should happen at Arkansas. The University of Arkansas – this should happen to us.”
And now it only gets bigger. The Hogs (4-0, 1-0 SEC) play at No. 2 Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC) at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN. The Bulldogs beat Vanderbilt, 62-0, on Saturday. Pittman was Georgia’s offensive line coach under coach Kirby Smart from 2016-19.
“Oh man, I don’t want to talk about Georgia,” Pittman said. “Kirby won 100-0 today.”
The season builds. Arkansas has not defeated a team in the top two since it won at No. 1 and eventual national champion LSU, 50-48, in three overtimes in 2007.
“I think the Razorbacks have a good football team,” Pittman said. “We beat No. 15 and No. 7. I believe both of them are really good.”
And Arkansas did it at times without starting quarterback K.J. Jefferson, who left the game in the third quarter with a minor knee injury before returning midway in the fourth period to help ice it. He completed 7 of 15 passes for 212 yards and rushed eight times for 50 yards. Backup Malik Hornsby rushed six times for 12 yards and completed 1-of-3 passes for seven yards.
Jefferson’s touchdown passes of 85 yards to wide receiver Treylon Burks and 48 to tailback A.J. Green put the Hogs up 17-0 early in the second quarter, and the defense took over.
All A&M coach Jimbo Fisher’s offense could muster was a 49-yard field goal late in the second quarter for a 17-3 halftime score and a 67-yard touchdown run by tailback Isaiah Spiller to get his team within 17-10 midway in the third.
A&M quarterback Zach Calzada had the brook trout look throughout the game around three sacks and eight hurries. He averaged just 4.1 yards an attempt on 20-of-36 passing for 151 yards.
“Our toughness showed,” Pittman said. “We’ve got a tough football team. I’m proud of that fact.”
Before his arrival, Arkansas was a 4-20 finesse team with an 0-16 record in the SEC in 2018 and ’19 under coach Chad Morris.
Welcome back to the league, Arkansas. It has been too long.