The Texas A&M Aggies are gearing up for the annual Southwest Classic against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game has taken place at AT&T Stadium since 2014, with A&M winning eight of the previous nine matchups. Their sole loss occurred in 2021.
The Aggies are riding high with strong performances on the field. However, the news of star sophomore QB Conner Weigman‘s season-ending injury has cast a shadow over the team. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks find themselves at a crossroads in their season. It is an intriguing showdown and this game could be a turning point for both teams.
Southwest Classic Texas A&M vs. Arkansas Preview
Game: Southwest Classic Texas A&M vs Arkansas
When: Saturday September 30, 2023
Where: AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas
Time: 11:00 am CST
Texas A&M is on the Rise
The Aggies’ on-field performance has been impressive, but the recent announcement of Weigman’s injury has left fans and players with mixed emotions. Despite this setback, the Aggies are gearing up to face the relentless competition of the SEC, and they must be prepared to take on the Razorbacks. Luckily, they have Max Johnson who will be stepping in as their starting QB for the rest of the season. While, this game against Arkansas presents an ideal opportunity for him to establish his rhythm. The Aggie receivers’ abilities should allow Johnson to make significant downfield passes and find success against the Razorbacks’ pass defense.
Arkansas at a Crossroads
Arkansas started their season with two wins against weaker opponents, although not without some concerns. Their loss to BYU, where they squandered a double-digit lead at home, raised questions about the team’s identity under Coach Sam Pittman. However, their close battle against a top-12 LSU team on the road boosted their confidence. With a 2-2 record, the Razorbacks are now heading into a challenging stretch of their schedule, starting with the Aggies.
The focal point of the Arkansas offense is senior QB KJ Jefferson. At 6’3″ and 245 lbs, Jefferson poses a dual threat with his running ability and improved passing skills. In recent matchups against Texas A&M, Jefferson’s passing attempts have been relatively low, as Arkansas relied more on the running game. Stopping the downfield passing game will be crucial for the Aggies, and this matchup will be a significant test.
Texas A&M Defensive Advantage
The Aggies have an advantage in the trenches, with Arkansas experiencing regression in their offensive line performance. They have struggled to protect Jefferson and establish a strong running game, ranking 98th in yards per carry. The Aggies, with the 44th-ranked defense in yards per carry allowed, have an opportunity to shine on the defensive line and stifle the Arkansas rushing attack. Not to mention that the Aggie linebackers, led by senior Edgerrin Cooper and freshman Taurean York, will play a crucial role in containing Arkansas’ running game.
Struggles for the Arkansas Defense
Meanwhile, Arkansas has faced difficulties on the defensive side as well. They rank poorly in pass and rush defense, and their performance against stronger opponents has been worrisome. The Aggies could capitalize on the Razorbacks’ weak pass defense, giving Johnson opportunities to make plays through the air. While the Razorbacks put up a spirited fight against LSU, maintaining that level of performance two weeks in a row is a challenging task.
This game has taken on even greater significance for the Aggies following Weigman’s injury. Johnson will look to make the most of this opportunity to build confidence before a crucial matchup against Alabama. The Aggies have a strong chance of limiting the Razorbacks’ scoring, with a predicted score of 30-13 in favor of Texas A&M. This matchup promises to be a defining moment for both teams as they aim to navigate the challenges of the SEC.