ARKANSAS KJ Jefferson (55-78-1, 6 TDs, 770 yards, 70.5%) moved to second in the SEC, 18th in the FBS with a 177.83 passer rating. He delivered several high passes last week, but his lone pick should’ve been a UA catch. Jefferson (46-169, 3 TDs rushing) curiously stayed in the pocket more than usual vs. Missouri State. Malik Hornsby (3 touches, 30 yards) has contributed as a ball carrier but not at quarterback .
TEXAS A&M Max Johnson (13-24-0, 1 TD, 163 yards, 54.2%) took the starter’s reins last week from Haynes King (33-51-2, 3 TDs, 461 yards, 64.7%) and had a low-fi game in the win over Miami. King has a significantly higher pass efficiency number (152.2) than the lefty Johnson (124.9), but it came against lower-level competition. Johnson, who got a couple of series in a loss to the Hogs last year, should start again.
ARKANSAS About the only blemish on the ledger of Raheim Sanders (66-440, 3 TDs, 6.7 ypc) is his fumble inside the 1. He is third nationally with 146.7 ypg and has 557 all-purpose yards. AJ Green (14-63, 1, 4.5 ypc) and Rashod Dubinion (12-37, 1, 3.1) got less run than expected last week. Dominique Johnson (97-575, 7, 5.9 in 2021) is a solid bet to join the rotation today, perhaps in a limited fashion.
TEXAS A&M Junior speedster Devon Achane (46-196, 2 TDs) has taken over as the lead tailback, but the Aggies haven’t shown great depth. Achane, who has 4 career 100-yard games, none this season, is averaging a meager 4.26 yards per carry. The next two top rushers are the QBs, followed by freshman LJ Johnson (6-14, 1, 2.33) and WR Ainias Smith (3-11, 3.67) on jet sweeps and the like.
ARKANSAS The transfer duo of 6-3 Matt Landers (14-211, 15.1 ypc) and 6-1 Jadon Haselwood (13-158, 2, 12.2) have emerged as top targets for KJ Jefferson. Landers (7-123) posted his third career 100-yard game last week, his first as a Hog. TE Trey Knox (10-110, 2), Warren Thompson (6-65, 1, 10.8) and Ketron Jackson (2-71, 35.5), who caught a 64-yard pass, are solidly in the rotation, which has been kept tight thus far. The unit has had key drops the past two games.
TEXAS A&M Veteran Ainias Smith (14-259, 2, 18.5) is the top big-play threat. He has 13 receptions for 182 yards against the Hogs. Evan Stewart (10-105), Yulkeith Brown (4-79, 1, 19.8), TB Devon Achane (6-56, 1), Chris Marshall (4-41), Chase Lane (3-31), and Moose Muhammad (1-16) contribute. Stewart and Marshall are 5-star signees. The top TE is Donovan Green (2-30).
ARKANSAS The Razorbacks sport Pro Football Focus’ second-highest grade in the nation behind Wisconsin at 87.4. The same 5 have started all 3 games: LT Luke Jones, LG Brady Latham, C Ricky Stromberg, RG Beaux Limmer and RT Dalton Wagner, while Ty’Kieast Crawford has received the next-most playing time. Limmer ranks third among all OGs in overall rating (85.7) and run blocking (88.8) by Pro Football Focus.
TEXAS A&M The Aggies have a massive front that averages 6-5, 324 pounds. The biggest is 6-8, 325-pound RT Reuben Fatheree II. RG Layden Robinson, a junior and the only upperclassman on the unit, is a second-year starter. Bryce Foster moved in at center last week for Wykoff. Jordan Spasojevic-Moko and Aki Ogunbiyi (6 career starts) have played at LG. RS freshman LT Trey Zuhn III is a 320 pounder.
ARKANSAS DEs Jordan Domineck (10, 4.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR) and Zach Williams (8, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 hurries) had 2.5 and 2 sacks, respectively, last week. Isaiah Nichols (5), Terry Hampton (7, 1 TFL) and Cam Ball (6) rotate the most at DT. Landon Jackson (9, 1.5, 1.5, 1 hurry) got his first full sack at Arkansas last week. Jashaud Stewart (2) is expected back in the rotation against the Aggies.
TEXAS A&M The Aggies lack experience but have beef in 320-pound Albert Regis (6, 0.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1 hurry) and 300-pounder Shemar Turner (10, 1 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 1 hurry). The top ends are Fadil Diggs (8) and Shemar Stewart (6, 0.5 sacks, 3 hurries). Isaiah Raikes (10, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks), Adeleye Tunmise (6, 0.5 TFL, 3 hurries), 6-5 freshman LT Overton (3, 1 sack) and Walter Nolan (3, 1 hurry) contribute.
ARKANSAS Drew Sanders (28, 6.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 2 FF) has been a revelation with major impact as the nation’s co-sack leader at 1.83 per game. Bumper Pool (29, 2, 1, 3 hurries, 2 PBU) has moved up to fourth on the UA all-time tackle chart with 378. Chris Paul (12, 2, 1, 1 FF, 1 FR) is adding reps. The less-experienced guys Jordan Crook (2) and Jackson Woodard didn’t get expected playing time last week.
TEXAS A&M Senior Chris Russell Jr. (19, 0.5 sacks, 1 FR) and sophomore Edgerrin Cooper (18, 1.5 TFL, 3 hurries, 2 PBU), a pair of first-year starters, rank second and third on the team in tackles. The Aggies have not substituted much at the spot, with reserves Andre White Jr. (4, 1 TFL, 2 PBU, 1 FF), Martrell Harris Jr. (1) and Sam Mathews (1) combining for just 6 tackles.
ARKANSAS Way too many missed tackles for the Hogs. A return from Myles Slusher (3, 1 TFL) would be significant for this depleted group. CBs Dwight McGlothern (9, 2 INTs, 2 PBU), Hudson Clark (6, 3 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR) and Malik Chavis (1) have held up well vs. vertical routes. Simeon Blair (22, 1, 1 PBU), Latavious Brini (14, 1 hurry, 1 FF), Jayden Johnson (10, 2.5, 1.5, 3 hurries) and Khari Johnson (7) work at S and NB.
TEXAS A&M The Aggies have great experience on the back end, led by Demani Richardson (13, 2.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 2 FF) with 34 career starts, Jaylon Jones (9, 1 PBU), who has 23, and leading tackler Antonio Johnson (25, 1 sack, 1 hurry) with 16. Tyreek Chappell (11, 1 TFL) leads the team with 4 PBU, while Jardin Gilbert (16, 2 PBU) has the team’s lone interception.
ADVANTAGE Texas A&M
ARKANSAS The Razorbacks have made major strides, but are not dominant. PR Bryce Stephens (6-118, 19.7) would’ve added to his 82-yard TD if not for penalties. KOR AJ Green (2-50) isn’t getting chances. PK Cam Little is 2 of 3 on FGs, 15 of 15 on PATs. The Hogs are losing yardage in punts with Max Fletcher (37.6 avg.) and net punting (31.3) at 126th nationally. Jake Bates has 16 touchbacks on 20 kickoffs (80%).
TEXAS A&M KOR Devon Achane (5-198) has a 95-yard TD return. PR Ainias Smith (8-27) hasn’t gotten unleashed. PKs have been an adventure, though Randy Bond (1 of 1 FG) improved on Caden Davis (1 of 3 FGs), who has touchbacks on 11 of 13 kickoffs (85%). The Aggies have had tremendous punters and Nik Constantinou (44.1) is the latest with 7 of 14 inside the 20.
ADVANTAGE Texas A&M
ARKANSAS Sam Pittman was granted some unexpected inducement fodder this week when the Aggies were installed as slight favorites. After playing aggressive and fast in the first two games, Hogs were on their heels a lot last week, though never reeling. The turnover margin and special teams are sure to be huge factors between rivals who appear evenly matched in front of what should be a 50-50 type of crowd.
TEXAS A&M The Aggies recovered some respect with the critical win over Miami after being upset at home by Appalachian State. They clearly have some offensive issues that have prevented them from being explosive. The defense looks pretty solid, though tackling vs. App State was a little sketchy. The Aggies’ 9-game winning streak in the series was broken last year, so there’s incentive in this trophy game.