Death. Taxes. Texas A&M and Arkansas going to overtime at Jerryworld.
For the third time in four meetings at AT&T Stadium, the Aggies and Razorbacks needed overtime to decide a winner. But for the fourth year in a row, A&M opened SEC play with a win, this time 50-43 after an extra period.
“In a game like this, it takes all phases,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Defensively, we made enough plays, offensively, we scored that many points. You don’t win a game like this based on one side of the ball. That was a team win.”
Christian Kirk caught his third touchdown pass of the game in overtime, a 10-yard catch from quarterback Kellen Mond. Senior defensive back Armani Watts intercepted a pass on Arkansas’ only possession in overtime to seal the win.
The Aggies are 6-0 against Arkansas since joining the SEC in 2012.
Running back Keith Ford ran for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns, topping the century mark for the second time this season. Kirk finished with 110 receiving yards and returned a kickoff 100 yard for a touchdown, the first kickoff return for A&M since 2010.
Making his second string start, sophomore Kellen Mond finished 14-of-16 for 214 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 109 yards and a score.
Defensively, the interception was Watts’ third of the season and ninth of his career. Defensive end Landis Durham had two sacks, the most by an Aggie in a single game this season. He now has 3.5 sacks on the year.
“In a game like this against a team like that and all the situations we were in, a team’s got to rely on the training, not on ability,” Durham said. We knew our cause and what we had to do, we had to play with perfect technique.”
The teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter Arkansas opened the second quarter with touchdowns on two straight drives. Daniel LaCamera hit the first of three field goals and Trayveon Williams scored with under two minutes left in the half to cut the lead to 21-17.
Again, the Aggies and Razorbacks each scored in the third quarter, but A&M scored 10 straight to take a 33-28 lead in the fourth. Kirk answered an Arkansas touchdown with the kickoff return, but the Razorbacks came right back, going four plays in 75 yards to take the lead with 3:39 left.
LaCamera nailed a 27-yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime.
“In these type of games, particularly with young players, it’s up to the older veteran players on the field,” Sumlin said. “What you say on the sideline is one thing. The message and the mood needs to be conveyed to the veteran guys and the guys that have been through this.”
Texas A&M returns home to take on South Carolina Saturday at 6:30 p.m. before hosting No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 7 at 6:15 p.m.
“It’s another game,” Sumlin said. “It’s another game that we were able to win. With any team, young or old, any game you’re able to win will help you. It helps the feeling in the locker room and it’s a lot of these guy’s first SEC game. We’ve got another one next week.”