ARLINGTON, Texas - No. 23 Texas A&M (3-2) held off Arkansas (2-3) in the final minute of the game to leave AT&T Stadium on Saturday with a 31-27 win.
The Aggies and Razorbacks traded blows all afternoon. A&M's defense did just enough to keep Ben Hicks and the Arkansas offense out of the end zone on the final drive of the game.
Here are the best and worst moments of the Southwest Classic:
Touchdown catch and run
The Aggies were down by three points late in the second quarter but managed to respond with an 11-play, 75-yard drive to take a 21-17 lead into the half. The drive ended on a 22-yard touchdown catch and run from wide receiver Quartney Davis. The junior caught the ball five yards downfield, spun to make the defender miss and outran the rest of the Razorback defense to score in the left corner of the end zone.
With 5:36 remaining in the first half, Arkansas looked like they were moments away from scoring before a Nick Starkel pass bounced off linebacker Buddy Johnson at the goal line and fell into the hands of defensive tackle Justin Madubuike. The 300-pounder returned the ball past the 15-yard line, trucking Starkel in the process. Starkel would leave the game with a left arm injury, and quarterback Ben Hicks would take over for the rest of the afternoon.
On their first drive with Ben Hicks at quarterback, Arkansas drove 41 yards down the field in three plays for a quick score. The touchdown came on a 13-yard connection between Hicks and Mike Woods in the front left corner of the end zone. The Aggie defender was in good position, but Hicks placed the ball to the outside where only Woods could reach it. It gave the Razorbacks their first lead of the game with 1:55 remaining in the first half.
The Aggies' third drive ended on a four-yard touchdown run from Isaiah Spiller. The freshman ran straight through the middle of the line, broke a tackle and dove for the goal line. Spiller stretched the ball out just enough to break the plane before his elbow came down, making the score 14-3 with 9:48 left in the first half.
The Aggies could not capitalize on Justin Madubuike's interception. On the first play after the turnover, Kellen Mond and Spiller mishandled the handoff at the 15-yard line. Linebacker De'Jon Harris scooped up the ball and returned it for the Razorback's first touchdown of the day, cutting the Aggies lead to four points with five minutes left in the half.
Another costly turnover came late in the third quarter, as Mond threw an interception in the end zone to Montaric Brown. The quarterback eyed wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon from the snap, but he was completely covered by Brown. Mond needed to keep the ball high to avoid an interception but threw it right into the hands of the defensive back. The turnover ended a good chance for the Aggies to at least tie the game.
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