Hogs overcome slow start, dominate Aggies

Arkansas players celebrate a 47-19 win over Texas A&M in Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

— Like so many bad Aggie jokes, the Texas A&M Aggies got to the punch line and fizzled.

So it was the SEC's Arkansas Razorbacks laughing all the way to the win column. Arkansas not only beat the Big 12 Aggies, but routed them 47-19 in front of a divided 71,812 neutral site audience of Razorbacks fans and Aggies fans enjoying the Roman Coliseum meets the Jetsons ambiance of Jerry Jones' marvelous, brand new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Old Razorback Jones, with his old 1964 national championship Razorback coach, retired Arkansas athletics director Frank Broyles, in his suite, must have enjoyed the show as second-year coach Bobby Petrino's Razorbacks evened their overall record at 2-2 and got a confidence boost before returning to the SEC campaign hosting SEC West rival Auburn next Saturday in Fayetteville.

"We didn't start out very good," Petrino said of the Hogs being down 10-0 and should have been down 17-7, "but I liked the way we responded. There wasn't one person that didn't think we would come back and win. I think we grew up a little tonight."

The young Aggies, now 3-1 but beating nonconference lighweights New Mexico, Utah State, and Alabama-Birmingham, begin their Big 12 season next Saturday hosting Oklahoma State in College Station, Texas.

"We hadn't seen an offense as good as theirs," A&M linebacker Kyle Mangan said even after getting an interception and a fumble recovery.

Arkansas' heretofore criticized defense exploited the Aggie line in by far its best game of the season pressuring the passer.

A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson did net 345 passing yards but required 58 passes to do it while completing 30. He was sacked twice and hit constantly.

"Arkansas was good," Johnson said. "A real good SEC team."

A&M running back Cyrus Gray said, "We couldn't get into a rhythm against them."

Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett proved way more pass efficient and proficient completing 17 of 27 for 271 yards and 4 touchdowns against a lone interception.

The Arkansas quarterback was aided and abetted by a second-half, clock consuming running attack, spectacular at times with freshman Ronnie Wingo's 62-yard touchdown completing the rout with 5:37 left in the game.

Up 10-7 and about to throw maybe a knockout punch, the Aggies dropped the ball and the momentum. Wide open wide receiver Ryan Tannehill dropped what surely would have been a touchdown pass from quarterback Jerrod Johnson.

After the Tannehill's muff, A&M punter Ken Wood attempted an ill-fated rugby punt. He shanked it 5 yards to the A&M 28.

With some Aggie help on a third-down pass interference penalty, Arkansas took its first lead on the first career Razorback touchdown by sophomore running back De'Anthony Curtis of Camden. Curtis caught a 5-yard TD pass in the right end zone after quarterback Ryan Mallett faked a handoff to freshman running back Knile Davis running left with 13:22 left in the first half.

The Aggies again looked opportunity in the eye and fumbled it away to an Arkansas touchdown.

Arkansas' Jerell Norton fumbled a punt that A&M's Chevar Bryson recovered at the Arkansas 12.

Operating at the Arkansas 9, A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson got hit behind the line of scrimmage by backup defensive end Tenarius Wright. The ball came loose. And with the Aggies offensively committed to go forward, Arkansas linebacker Jerry Franklin of Marion recovered it and took it the other way untouched for an 85-yard touchdown at 6:25.

"It was huge," Petrino said of the Wright hit and Franklin recovery and touchdown. "We had just fumbled a punt and they had great field position."

An unbelievable turn of events matching unbelievable surroundings.

"Wow, huh?" Petrino marveled of Cowboys Stadium. "We came over here yesterday and everyone's kind of looking around with their mouth open. It's an unbelievable place."

No more unbelievable than Arkansas' 23-point second quarter.

Alex Tejada kicked a 38-yard field goal at 4:23, and wideout Jarius Wright splitting two Aggie defenders to catch Mallett's 31-yard TD pass at 1:39 though Tejada missed the PAT after kicking the first three three successfully.

The Wright touchdown was preceded by Camden's Curtis catching a career long 29-yard pass from Mallett.

The game started all Aggies with Arkansas suffering three, 3-and-outs and two sacks on its first three possessions.

A&M hit two big plays on its first possession, a 31-yard run by Cyrus Gray and a 17-yard Johnson to Howard Morrow pass, before the Arkansas defense stiffened and forced the Aggies to settle for Randy Bullock's 32-yard field goal.

A&M scored easily on its next possession. A scrambling Johnson evaded two rushers and found linebacker Franklin with no safety help on wideout Brandal Jackson. The QB capitalized on the mismatch for a 60-yard TD pass and 10-0 lead at 6:02 of the first quarter.

On a 67-yard bomb to the A&M 10, Mallett and wideout Joe Adams (3 catches for 110 yards), eluding two tackles during the completion, gave Arkansas that first big play the Hogs needed.

Transfer running back Broderick Green, the former Southern California Trojan enjoying by far his best half of Razorback football, tallied Arkansas' first points on Mallett's 8-yard TD pass with 4:14 left in the first quarter.

The Arkansas defense, particularly defensive ends Jake Bequette, Adrian Davis and Damario Ambrose, applied constant first-half pressure on quarterback Johnson. The Hogs had nine stops behind the line.

Sometimes, though, Arkansas' defensive pressure cost the Hogs.

Two roughing the passer penalties helped A&M score its 9 second-half points.

Bullock capped one drive with a 47-yard field goal with 8:16 left in the third quarter.

Tannehill caught Johnson's 3-yard TD pass for the Aggies to trail 37-19 with 14:53 left in the game.

Johnson's 2-point pass attempt was intercepted by Rudell Crim.

Arkansas outscored the Aggies 17-9 in the second half.

Mallett's 29-yard pass to Michael Smith in the third quarter and Wingo's electrifying 62-yard run after A&M had turned it over on downs accounted for the touchdowns. In between, Tejada kicked an 18-yard field goal as Petrino played it safe with fourth-and-goal on the 1-yard line.

Wingo juked defensive back Trent Hunter near the line of scrimmage and didn't let anyone else near him as he ran away with the game-clincher.