Mike Irwin, the reigning godfather of Razorback sportscasting, has covered the Hogs since mid-1970s. Throughout that span, the Lubbock, Texas native has always held a special distaste for the Texas A&M football program that stems from his earliest days growing up as a Texas Tech fan.
(LIVE UPDATES FROM ARKANSAS VS TEXAS A&M ARE BELOW)
This time of year, on the cusp of the Arkansas – Texas A&M football game, Irwin’s enmity bubbles up in some pretty funny ways. Especially when the Aggies go do something that only adds fuel to the fire.
For one, there was Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher popping off against his former boss Nick Saban this past May, accusing him of being a narcissist and insinuating he hadn’t followed NCAA rules in the past.
“He talks like a guy that’s one of the greatest coaches of all time, and he’s not,” Irwin recently said Pig Trail Nation’s “Ask Mike.” “He talks like he’s the guy that’s won seven or eight national championships, and that Saban’s the guy that’s just won one at one school, when it’s the other way around. He just runs his mouth too much.”
Regarding Saban, “I think you got to give a guy a certain amount of respect when he’s dominated college football the way that guy has. You haven’t done it, Bozo head – he has – so keep your mouth shut.”
Going After a Texas A&M Football Ritual
A couple weeks ago, one of the greatest eating-crow incidents in SEC history occurred a Texas A&M’s midnight yell, a student-led pep rally in which the very peppiest and cult-iest of the Aggies – the five Texas Aggie Yell Leaders – practice their hand signal-prompted cheers as they try to work up the College Station crowd into a pre-game fervor deep into the night.
Before the Texas A&M-Appalachian State game, one of the Yell Leaders, Zach Cross, showed the world why he should stick to hand signals and push-up contests and never again be given a microphone.
In the below clip, he begins by explaining that he had only recently found out that Appalachia is not an actual state. Thanks to the power of Google, however, “I found them and they are located deep and I mean DEEP in the backwoods, just like you would think any hillbilly college that names themselves ‘the Mountaineers’.”
Cross was only revving up: “I just hope that these guys can get here tomorrow alright, because I know for a fact that half of their football team can barely even read the name on their jerseys, let alone, read a map! It’s a shame that the only two brain cells that these guys have left are going to get knocked out by our wrecking crew defense tomorrow.”
Famous last words. A few hours later, Appalachia State pulled off a 17-14 shocker, securing Zach Cross an enteral place in the hearts of all anti-Texas A&M college football fans.
But even if the Aggies had won, Mike Irwin still sees a big problem with the Midnight Yell ritual, which occurs before every home Texas A&M football game. In serving as a potential platform for such hostile stupidity, it goes against the very culture for which Texas A&M (and, really, any public institution of higher education) is supposed to stand.
“I have an uncle that’s an Aggie… and he used to tell me, ‘Look, here’s what A&M is all about: We’re all about we were raised right, we were raised the good old fashioned way. We don’t act like jerks in public, we’re respectful of our elders. We’re not bird-brains, we’re polite.'”
Then, referring to that Appalachian State game Midnight Yell, Irwin continues: “Well, what’s this nonsense? What’s this garbage? You’re just acting like these guys were a bunch of rubes, and they came in and beat you.”
As Irwin sees it, it’s time for Texas A&M leaders to step in and take the microphone away from the children. He thinks they should announce to the public that “we didn’t realize that’s what goes on in there. Let’s ban it. We don’t want our students doing that kind of garbage. We can’t officially condone this.”
“If you want to go on your own and do it, but you won’t do it inside our stadium. We won’t let you do that here.”
Perhaps losing to Appalachian State on the heels of such dim-witted trash talk won’t be enough to convince Aggies brass to ban the Midnight Yell. That may change, however, if equally idiotic trash talk against the Razorbacks gets published on the heels of an Arkansas football victory. I’m sure the fans of Appalachian State let the Aggies hear about it a couple weeks ago. Their clap back, however, will be like a dim clang compared to the roar of an insulted but victorious Razorback Nation.
See Irwin go off around 40:00 here:
See our latest post-game piece here:
Live Updates of Arkansas vs Texas A&M
ARLINGTON, Texas — Best of Arkansas Sports is live at AT&T Stadium for Saturday’s Arkansas vs Texas A&M top-25 showdown.
The Razorbacks are trying to improve to 4-0 on the season and beat the Aggies for a second straight year, while Texas A&M is looking to start SEC play with a win.
Updates will follow below…
15:00, 1Q – Arkansas 0, Texas A&M 0
Texas A&M won the pregame coin toss and deferred. Arkansas will receive the game’s opening kickoff.
13:35, 1Q – Arkansas 0, Texas A&M 0
Arkansas opened the game with a first down completion from KJ Jefferson to Jadon Haselwood, but that was it. Max Fletcher’s punt did not go very far. The Aggies take over at their own 35.
11:27, 1Q – Arkansas 0, Texas A&M 0
The Aggies went three and out on their first drive, which was capped by a Drew Sanders sack. A 37-yard punt gives Arkansas the ball at the 30.
9:44, 1Q – Arkansas 7, Texas A&M 0
After three straight Rocket Sanders runs to move the chains, KJ Jefferson dropped back to pass before taking off for a long run. On the next play, Ketron Jackson Jr. caught a screen and took it 32 yards to the house to start the scoring.
7:32, 1Q – Arkansas 7, Texas A&M 0
Myles Slusher, playing his first game since the opener, starts the next drive with a tackle for loss. That, plus a delay of game penalty, put the Aggies well behind the chains. Max Johnson nearly scrambled for the first down, but Slusher knocked him out of bounds just shy of the line to gain. It’s a second straight three-and-out.
Bryce Stephens fair caught the ensuing punt at the 22.
5:25, 1Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 0
Facing a third-and-14, Jefferson had all day in the pocket before finding a wide open Warren Thompson streaking down the middle of the field. He hit him for a 56-yard touchdown.
3:11, 1Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 0
With a third-and-2 conversion, Texas A&M appeared to pick up its first first down of the game. However, it was called for an illegal shift – its second of the game – and had to try again. This time, Johnson’s pass fell incomplete as he was being pressured by Bumper Pool.
It’s the Aggies’ third straight three-and-out. Stephens tried to fair catch a punt and muffed it. Luckily for the Razorbacks, McAdoo fell on it.
1:52, 1Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 0
The Razorbacks managed only a couple of yards before having to punt it away on their own three-and-out.
0:59, 1Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 0
Facing a third-and-6 and trying to convert a first down for the first time, Texas A&M burns its first timeout of the half with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter. When play resumed, Slusher breaks up a pass to force yet another three-and-out.
Stephens fair caught a 47-yard punt at the 15.
END of 1Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 0
On Dominique Johnson’s first carry of the season, he gains just one yard to set up a third-and-4. That runs out the clock in the first quarter.
12:08, 2Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 0
Jefferson scrambled for a gain of 14 yards to move the sticks and go over 1,000 career rushing yards.
After Jefferson nearly threw an interception, Arkansas went back to the ground game and Johnson ripped off three straight runs of 12, 8 and 7 yards.
The Razorbacks went to their Malik Hornsby package and it didn’t go well. A pass intended for him was tipped at the line of scrimmage, he lost a yard on a sweep run and then the ball was briefly fumbled on a reverse. Despite marching into A&M territory, they had to punt it away.
Fletcher’s punt landed inside the 5 and kicked back to the 7, where it was downed.
8:45, 2Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 7
On their first play of the second quarter, the Aggies rip off a 63-yard run by Devon Achane. It was their first first down of the game. Two Achane runs later, they were in the red zone.
Facing a third-and-4 at the 10-yard line, Texas A&M used its second timeout of the first half. That stops the clock at 8:51 left in the second quarter. When play resumed, Johnson found Evan Stewart in the end zone for a touchdown.
3:11, 2Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 13
Rocket Sanders opened the drive with a 12-yard run, nearly doubling the yardage he gained on his first five carries of the night.
The Razorbacks then steadily marched into Texas A&M territory. Facing a fourth down, Jefferson kept it on a run to move the chains. A couple of passes to Haselwood sandwiched around a Sanders run got Arkansas to the 3.
On the first down play, Jefferson tried jumping over the lines, but fumbled it. Texas A&M recovered and – thanks to a handoff to a teammate – managed to return it 97 yards for a touchdown. The Aggies botched the PAT, though, so Arkansas leads 14-13.
1:45, 2Q – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 13
Facing a third-and-5, Arkansas uses its first timeout of the half. There’s 2:07 remaining. Jefferson was sacked on the play, after which the Aggies used their final timeout with 1:52 left.
Texas A&M calls for a fair catch at the 32 on Fletcher’s 45-yard punt.
HALF – Arkansas 14, Texas A&M 13
The Aggies connected on a pass to get into Arkansas territory, but an illegal block on the play moved them back to their side of the field. Another false start led to a 10-second run off and that put 26 seconds on the clock. With time winding down, Jayden Johnson was called for a pass interference – the right call, but an unnecessary move by Johnson.
With 4 seconds on the clock, Texas A&M lined up for a 59-yard field goal and Arkansas called a timeout. When play resumed, Texas A&M sent its offense back out to try a Hail Mary. Pressured, Johnson just threw it away to end the half.
FIRST HALF STATS – Arkansas vs Texas A&M
- KJ Jefferson: 8 of 13, 126 yards, 2 TD; 11 carries, 69 yards, 1 lost fumble
- Rocket Sanders: 10 carries, 41 yards
- Dominique Johnson: 4 carries, 28 yards
- AJ Green: 5 carries, 16 yards
- Malik Hornsby: 1 carry, 0 yards, 1 reception, -1 yard
- Jadon Haselwood: 3 receptions, 38 yards
- Warren Thompson: 2 receptions, 57 yards, 1 TD
- Ketron Jackson Jr.: 1 reception, 32 yards, 1 TD
- Nathan Bax: 1 reception, 0 yards
- Bumper Pool: 4 tackles, 1 QBH
- Myles Slusher: 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
- Drew Sanders: 2 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 QBH
- Zach Williams: 1 tackle, 0.5 sack, 1 QBH
11:41, 3Q – Texas A&M 20, Arkansas 14
Jake Bates starts the half with a touchback, but Sam Mbake was offsides on the kick, so Texas A&M starts at the 30.
On the first play of the half, Dwight McGlothern was called for holding, so the Aggies are quickly out to the 40. A couple of runs later, including a scramble by Johnson, they were in Arkansas territory.
Bumper Pool missed a tackle along the sideline, allowing Texas A&M to pick up 26 yards. A few plays later, Devon Achane scored on a 9-yard run to give the Aggies their first lead of the game.
9:57, 3Q – Texas A&M 20, Arkansas 14
The Razorbacks open the half with back-to-back runs by Sanders that went for 0 and minus-2 yards. Jefferson managed to complete a pass on third down, but it was well short of the sticks. It’s a three-and-out.
Fletcher’s 29-yard punt went out of bounds at the A&M 39.
3:48, 3Q – Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 14
The Razorbacks nearly had Johnson wrapped up in the backfield to force a three-and-out, but Johnson escaped and scrambled for a first down. There was a block in the back, but he had already picked up enough yards for the first down even with the penalty.
On another third down, Johnson completed a pass and Blair missed a tackle, turning it into an 18-yard gain.
A holding penalty and sack by Landon Jackson moved Texas A&M all the way back to the 46 and set up a second-and-30. The Aggies called their first timeout of the half with 5:52 left in the third quarter. Out of the timeout, Johnson hits a wide open Ainias Smith and he picks up 32 to get the first down.
Arkansas finally gets a third-down stop and limits the Aggies to a field goal. Randy Bond’s 31-yard attempt is good.
2:12, 3Q – Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 14
After back-to-back runs by Rocket Sanders moved the chains, Haselwood dropped a pass that would have given Arkansas another first down. Then on third-and-9, Jefferson’s pass was a little high and Thompson could reel it in.
Fletcher’s 47-yard punt was downed at the 14.
END of 3Q – Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 14
Before a third-and-2 play, Ainias Smith – Texas A&M’s best receiver – had to be helped off the field with an injury. The Razorbacks stopped the Aggies on the next play and forced a punt. That brings the third quarter to a close.
10:05, 4Q – Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 21
Aside from a failed attempted wide receiver pass, Arkansas finally got things going again on offense. Getting most of it on the ground, the Razorbacks covered 74 yards on 13 plays, capped by a 6-yard keeper by Jefferson.
6:30, 4Q – Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 21
Facing a third-and-12, Johnson just barely got a pass off and Donovan Green came down with it to avoid the three-and-out. On the next play, Achane ran for 24 yards to get into Arkansas territory. Then on a third-and-9 play, Khari Johnson nearly intercepted a pass, but it fell incomplete.
Randy Bond’s 53-yard field goal attempt was wide left. Arkansas will take over at its own 36.
1:30, 4Q – Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 21
On third-and-6, Jefferson avoids some pressure and finds Landers open downfield for a first down. It was his first catch of the game.
After a couple of 10-yard runs by Sanders and Jefferson, the Hogs got into the red zone, but Jefferson dropped a snap on the next play. Arkansas fell on it, but lost 9 yards to bring up a third-and-9. Following a timeout, Jefferson had to scramble and he gained just 1 yard.
Pittman let the play clock run all the way down before calling a timeout with 1:35 left. Cam Little’s 42-yard field goal doinked off the right upright, no good.
FINAL – Texas A&M 23, Arkansas 21
The Razorbacks used their final timeout with 1:27 left, but there wasn’t enough time left and the Aggies were able to run the clock out.
FINAL STATS – Arkansas vs Texas A&M
- KJ Jefferson (ARK): 12 of 19, 171 yards, 2 TD
- Max Johnson (A&M): 11 of 21, 151 yards, 1 TD
- KJ Jefferson (ARK): 18 carries, 105 yards, 1 TD
- Rocket Sanders (ARK): 17 carries, 68 yards
- AJ Green (ARK): 9 carries, 36 yards
- Dominique Johnson (ARK): 5 carries, 32 yards
- Rashod Dubinion (ARK): 2 carries, 17 yards
- Malik Hornsby (ARK): 1 carry, 0 yards
- Jadon Haselwood (ARK): 1 carry, -5 yards
- Devon Achane (A&M): 19 carries, 159 yards, 1 TD
- Max Johnson (A&M): 13 carries, 39 yards
- Jadon Haselwood (ARK): 5 receptions, 56 yards
- Warren Thompson (ARK): 2 receptions, 57 yards, 1 TD
- Ketron Jackson Jr. (ARK): 1 reception, 32 yards, 1 TD
- Matt Landers (ARK): 1 reception, 19 yards
- Trey Knox (ARK): 1 reception, 8 yards
- Nathan Bax (ARK): 1 reception, 0 yards
- Malik Hornsby (ARK): 1 reception, -1 yard
- Donovan Green (A&M): 3 receptions, 50 yards
- Evan Stewart (A&M): 3 receptions, 36 yards, 1 TD
- Devon Achane (A&M): 3 receptions, 15 yards
- Ainias Smith (A&M): 1 reception, 32 yards
- Yulkeith Brown (A&M): 1 reception, 18 yards
Pregame Tidbits – Arkansas vs Texas A&M
Arkansas is rocking the all-white uniforms today, including white helmets.
Limited to a 70-man travel roster for the first time this season, Arkansas has six specialists on the trip. Not surprisingly, Cam Little (placekicker), Jake Bates (kickoff specialist), Max Fletcher (punter) and Eli Stein (long snapper) are here. They have been starters through the first three weeks. Backup punter Reid Bauer also made the trip, as did backup long snapper John Oehrlein. The latter is notable because Oehrlein and Francisco Castro were listed with an “or” on the depth chart behind Stein.
Bryce Stephens, Harper Cole and Jadon Haselwood are getting reps at punt returner. AJ Green, Matt Landers, Rashod Dubinion and Quincey McAdoo are catching kickoffs during warmups. None of those are surprising, but it’s a smaller group than what we’ve seen during the three home games.
The Razorbacks traveled three quarterbacks: KJ Jefferson, Malik Hornsby and Cade Fortin.
The only members of the two-deep who are not on the travel roster are backup left tackle Andrew Chamblee and backup cornerback LaDarrius Bishop. Bishop is dealing with a knee injury, but it’s unknown why Chamblee didn’t travel. Freshman Isaiah Sategna, who’s listed as a third-team wide receiver, did not travel and is apparently still dealing with an ankle injury.