Razorbacks get their money’s worth with Pittman

ARLINGTON, Texas – This isn’t Aggie’s joke, just a question that will shake their heads even the wealthiest Texas A&M loyalists.

When does $ 3 million beat $ 9 million?

Everyone in Razorback Nation knows the answer: that’s when Sam Pittman confronts Jimbo Fisher.

Fisher, a terrific coach, has won a national championship since his days in Florida state, but it looks like he’s nowhere near what he promised when he was hired by the Aggies four years ago. .

Conversely, it only took four games in his second season for Pittman to give the Razorbacks their money’s worth with a 20-10 win over the No.7 Aggies in the Southwest Classic at AT&T Stadium.

The Hogs did it with a blue collar approach that Pittman promised when athletic director Hunter Yurachek hired him with an annual salary of $ 3 million. Fisher received a $ 1.5 million raise in the offseason to bring his annual salary to $ 9 million.

It was this tenacity that Pittman first spoke about in his post-game interview.

“Our tenacity showed,” Pittman said. “Some guys have been injured … We have a strong team and I’m proud of that.

“Win or lose, I’m proud to have a strong team that is proud of it. We are very tough. “

With the win over the Aggies, Pittman propelled the Hogs to their first 4-0 start since 2003.

Linebacker Grant Morgan, one of the toughest Razorbacks, recalled that the Hogs are not just 4-0, but unbeaten against three Texas teams. They beat Rice and Texas in the first two weeks of the season.

“We were joking after the game,” Morgan said, “we own Texas now. It’s a good day to be a Razorback.

Pittman doesn’t brag much, but he came close after the Hogs beat the Aggies.

“We beat No.7 (Texas A&M) and No.15 (Texas),” he said. “Some might say A&M isn’t really good because Arkansas beat them. They say Texas might not be good because Arkansas beat them. I think they’re really good.

It was a physical slugfest, as promised. The Hogs appeared to beat the Aggies in the first half.

The Aggies stepped up in the second half, but could never figure out which defensive coordinator Barry Odom was showing up front.

“Barry does such a good job,” said Pittman, who went on to describe the subtle changes to the front deployed each week.

The Hogs widened the Tre Williams and Markell Utsey ends and lost eight. There were tilts and stunts with linebackers, and the nickel back filled in the gaps.

“When we line up it looks like you can throw the ball at him,” Pittman said. “But we’re running for the ball like crazy. We have three downs, and then everyone is scattered… our linebackers can run for the ball.

There’s the trimmer at the nose guard at John Ridgeway, but the secret could be Williams’ speed on the edge. The transfer of the Missouri graduates had two sacks and two sustaining penalties against left tackle Texas A&M.

“This guy can be as good as he wants,” Morgan said of Williams. “He can play to the next level. “

The No.16 Razorbacks pounced on the No.7 Aggies with a 17-0 hay in the opening 17 minutes of the game, then mounted a swarming defense the rest of the way as stars KJ Jefferson and Treylon Burks limped up. ‘at the finish line.

The defense allowed just 272 yards, including 67 on a dash from Isaiah Spiller early in the third quarter. The Aggies have never broken the Arkansas red zone ball. Texas A&M’s other points came with a 49-yard field goal late in the first half as the Hogs played deeper.

Morgan said the Aggies’ only touchdown was on him.

“It was a single zone and I had the wrong lead,” Morgan said. “Eric Gregory and I played the same spread and I was released.”

Jefferson, the 6-6, 245-pound sophomore quarterback, suffered a knee injury when he was thrown onto a bench in the first game of the second half. He came back for a play in the next possession, then held on for Arkansas’ last two possessions. He ran twice as the Hogs killed the last 1:58 of the game.

The Hogs got a practice for a field goal from backup quarterback Malik Hornsby after a scoop from Montaric Brown for an interception at A&M 48. He completed his only pass as the Razorbacks marched to the Texas line. A&M 1 yard ahead of a forced penalty proceeding Little Cam to start a 24-yard field goal to reach 20-10 with 8:39 left.

The Aggies failed a first down in their last two possessions as half of the crowd of 57,992 celebrated. They flashed thumbs down signs (the reverse of the Aggie gig ’em brand) and also threw down horn signals.

The Razorbacks dominated until the last three minutes of the first half. Leading 17-0 and looking for more, the Aggies finally made a big play. They stopped a fast dive from fourth-one Trelon Smith.

The Aggies had given up a 20-yard pass from Jefferson to Burks in the previous play and the Hogs rushed to the line at A&M 22. They wanted to slam the ball before the Aggies were organized, but Smith was tripped up to no avail. .

The Aggies, having gained just 88 yards in their first 30 games, took over to their own 22 with 2:29 remaining. They ran for 46 yards in nine games for the UA 32 before three straight passes failed.

Seth Small scored 49 yards with 21 seconds left at the half.

The Hogs only lost possession time in the first half. Texas A&M led in this category, from 7:06 p.m. to 10:54 a.m. The difference was big games. The Hogs have amassed 307 total yards.

They looked dangerous from the start. Smith sent 16 yards over the left tackle in Arkansas’ first play. He made another 25 in the next snap, but Burks was called out for holding on as Smith walked past. It sounded like a weak call.

Smith rebounded on the outside for 12 before Burks made a Jefferson throw for 23. The Hogs fell short on third and -9 when tight end Blake Kern dropped Jefferson’s field throw. Little had a 46-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead at 8:20 of the first quarter.

“They played early in the game,” said Fisher. “We didn’t knock the guys down. We didn’t have any more gaps, we didn’t attack well.

“We didn’t tackle very well in space, especially in the first half of the game. We were really bad at our tackles, in my opinion.”

Texas A&M held it for six minutes, but stalled at Arkansas 34. The Aggies eventually kicked into the end zone from near midfield.

The defending Aggies were preparing to stop the run, so Jefferson checked a route to Burks, head-to-head near the sideline against cornerback Myles Jones. Jefferson hit Burks in stride near the 50 for an 85-yard touchdown.

It was 10-0 at 2:27 of the first quarter.

The Hogs rushed for 82 yards in four games with their next possession to make it 17-0. A double pass from Warren Thompson to Burks scored 27 on the first down. In the third and third, AJ Green started as a flanker, moved to the backfield, then took a swing pass from Jefferson. He broke three tackles on the 48-yard touchdown game.

Jefferson said there were some big showdowns on TD’s two assists. He saw the Aggies in man-to-man press coverage on Burks.

“When they’re man (Burks) I know I just have to hold the ball for a second,” Jefferson said. “On the pass to AJ, I saw there was a linebacker on him. I knew we could take advantage of his speed.

Jefferson’s injury was a bruise on the top of the knee. He went to the injury tent to have the coaches apply pain reliever gel.

“I’m not a doctor, but it takes a little while for it to take effect,” Pittman said. “He knew we needed him in the end.”

Pittman expects Burks to do well for the trip to Georgia next week. It looks like all Hogs are fighting injury.

Offensive linemen Ricky Stromberg and Dalton Wagner didn’t miss a snap against the Aggies after injuring Georgia Southern.

Pittman was shy with reporters during the week when Stromberg and Wagner missed practice earlier in the week.

‘I’m not lying,’ said Pittman, ‘but I’m hiding things from you.

“We have been slowly working (Stromberg and Wagner) this week. Ricky said he was ready to ride on Wednesday. Wags also gave me the green light. So I slept well.

Pittman came to the interview with bandages on his right wrist and hand. His wife, Jamie, made him crack a smile with a question about his injury during his meeting with reporters.

“Someone hit me on the sidelines,” Pittman said. “I shouldn’t have let them (bandage). The coach is gentle.

It doesn’t seem possible. There’s nothing about this Arkansas team that’s sweet, especially the head coach.

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