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HIGHLIGHTS: No. 23 Texas A&M Aggies hold on to defeat Arkansas Razorbacks, 31-27

Here is a live blog for the No. 23 ranked Texas A&M Aggies versus Arkansas Razorbacks game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

ARLINGTON, Texas —

FINAL: TEXAS A&M 31, ARKANSAS 27

Texas A&M held on to defeat Arkansas 31-27 in an exciting shootout to the final minute of the game. The Razorbacks had an opportunity to take the lead late, and backup quarterback Ben Hicks led the Arkansas offense down the field in the final minutes of the game, only to come up short on fourth down and short in Aggies territory. 

Analysis: Texas A&M really had to work for this win. From the moment Nick Starkel went down in the second quarter and backup Ben Hicks stepped in, Arkansas was a completely different team. Hicks filled in valiantly, converting crucial downs on his way to a 188-yard, one-touchdown performance in just over a half of football. 

Texas A&M was heavily favored in this game as 23.5-point favorites. But in true Aggies-Razorbacks fashion, the game came down to one possession.

Texas A&M improves to 3-2 on the season and Arkansas drops to 2-3. The win marks Texas A&M's eighth straight win against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

4TH Q: 

TEXAS A&M 31, ARKANSAS 27

TEXAS A&M (Own 19): 

Kellen Mond kneeled the ball and the Aggies hold on to win 31-27.

ARKANSAS (Own 25): 

Rakeem Boyd carries the ball up the middle for a gain of four yards. Hicks completed an out route to Treylon Burks for a gain of 13 yards. Boyd plunged forward for another five yards on a run up the middle. Hicks took a shot down the left sideline, which fell incomplete. An illegal shift penalty backed up the Razorbacks five yards. Hicks rolled out to his right and took a shot downfield on a free play due to an offsides penalty, but the pass was incomplete. Arkansas accepted the offsides penalty. Hicks completed an out route to Cheyenne O'Grady for a gain of three yards. On third and two, Hicks' pass was batted down at the line. Arkansas called its first timeout of the second half with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter. Down by four, the Razorbacks surely have to go for it here to have a shot at winning the game. On fourth and two, Hicks converted with a compete pass to O'Grady. On the next play, Hicks sailed the ball out of bounds. Hicks connected with Michael Woods on a 22-yard corner route to the Aggies 24-yard line. Hicks was sacked for a seven-yard loss to the Aggies 31-yard line. Arkansas took its second timeout of the second half with 52 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Hicks sailed a pass out of bounds on second down. On third and 17, a false start penalty backed up the Razorbacks offense five yards. On third and 22, Hicks scrambled up the middle and gained 18 yards. Arkansas used its final timeout with 37 seconds left. On fourth and five, Hicks was pressured into a pass that fell incomplete. Aggies will take over the ball at the 19-yard line and kneel it out to win the game.

TEXAS A&M (Own 25):

Jacob Kibodi picked up one yard on a run up the middle. Kellen Mond intended a pass for Jhamon Ausbon, which fell incomplete. On third and nine, Mond took off after his receivers were covered and picked up 18 yards on the scramble. Kibodi rushed around the left end for a loss of two yards. Mond completed a slant pass to Ainias Smith for a gain of 14 yards. Kibodi took a zone read up the middle for a gain of two yards. Mond threw a slant pass intended for Ausbon, which was broken up, but a defensive holding penalty gave the Aggies an automatic first down. Mond threw a pass to the right sideline intended for Quartney Davis, but short hopped the pass. Mond completed a seven-yard pass to Ausbon. On third and three, Mond was sacked for a loss of seven yards. Seth Small connected on the 50-yard field goal to extend the Aggies lead to 31-27.

ARKANSAS (Own 25): 

Ben Hicks completed a slant pass to Treylon Burks for a huge gain, but it was wiped out by an ineligible receiver downfield call. Hicks' pass fell incomplete. Hicks completed a pass in the middle seam of the Aggies defense to Burks for a gain of 31 yards. Hicks' first down pass fell incomplete, but he connected with Cheyenne O'Grady for a gain of 10 yards on second down. A false start penalty backed up the Razorbacks offense to the Aggies 44-yard line. Rakeem Boyd picked up three yards on a run up the middle. Hicks' pass intended along the right sideline to Michael Woods sailed out of bounds. On third and 12, Hicks converted on a 16-yard pass to Tyson Morris. Hicks threw a shot down the left sideline for Burks and it was broken up. Hicks tried to squeeze a middle screen to Boyd, but it was deflected incomplete by the Aggies defense. On third and 10, Hicks checked the ball down to Boyd for a gain of three yards. Connor Limpert hit the 40-yard field goal. Aggies lead 28-27 with 8:46 left in regulation. 

TEXAS A&M (Con't):

Texas A&M was called for an illegal formation penalty, backing them up five yards. Kellen Mond ran a designed quarterback power to the left for a loss of one yard. Mond completed a slant pass to Ainias Smith for a gain of 11 yards. Mond hit Jhamon Ausbon on the left sideline for a 12-yard gain to the three-yard line. Mond finished the drive by floating a three-yard touchdown pass to Quartney Davis. Aggies lead 28-24.

3RD Q: 

TEXAS A&M 21, ARKANSAS 24

TEXAS A&M (Arkansas 49): 

Jacob Kibodi rushed around the left end for a gain of four yards. Kellen Mond rushed around the right end for a gain of 11 yards and a first down to the Arkansas 34-yard line. Kibodi picked up another first down on a run up the middle after gaining 14 yards. This play ended the third quarter. Arkansas leads 24-21.

ARKANSAS (Own 12): 

Rakeem Boyd rushed to the right end for a loss of one yard. Ben Hicks completes a pass to Devwah Whaley for a gain of one yard. On third and 10, Hicks was sacked for a loss of 10 yards to the Razorbacks' own two-yard line. Arkansas punted the ball and the Aggies returned the ball to the Arkansas 34-yard line. A unsportsmanlike penalty on the Aggies backed them up 15 yards to near midfield.

TEXAS A&M (Own 44): 

Kellen Mond rushed a designed quarterback power to the right for a gain of seven yards. Jacob Kibodi picked up the first down with a three-yard run up the middle. Kibodi picked up another seven yards on the next play on a run up the middle. Kibodi moved the chains again on his third straight carry after a pick up of six yards. Mond tucked the ball and ran after he could not find an open receiver, picking up nine yards on the scramble. Mond completed his first pass of the drive to Quartney Davis for a gain of eight yards to the Razorbacks 15-yard line. Mond completed a screen pass to Davis for a gain of one yard. Mond threw an interception in the end zone and it was returned to the 12-yard line.

ARKANSAS (Own 8): 

Ben Hicks' first down pass fell short and incomplete. Rakeem Boyd rushed around the right end and out of bounds after gaining three yards. On third and three, Hicks' pass over the middle was broken up by the Aggies defense. Arkansas punted the ball to the Texas A&M 44-yard line.

TEXAS A&M (Own 25):

Kellen Mond scrambled to the right and was sacked for a loss of four yards. 

Mond completed a screen pass to Isaiah Spiller for a gain of 12 yards. On third and two, Mond threw a slant pass intended for Jhamon Ausbon, which was broken up by Arkansas. Texas A&M punted the ball to the Arkansas eight-yard line.

ARKANSAS (Own 16): 

Ben Hicks stayed in the game at quarterback. Hicks hit his third completion of the game to Koilan Jackson for a gain of 19 yards. Rakeem Boyd carried the ball for no gain. Hicks found Cheyenne O'Grady for a gain of 23 yards and hit Michael Woods on the next play for 15 more yards. Boyd took a pitch three yards to the Aggies 19-yard line. Hicks threw his first incompletion of the game after completing his first five passes since replacing Nick Starkel. On third and seven, Hicks completed a pass over the middle to Treylon Burks for a first down. Devwah Whaley capped off the drive with a 11-yard touchdown run. Hicks has the offense firing on all cylinders, throwing 6-for-7 for 85 yards and a touchdown since filling in for Starkel. Arkansas leads 24-21.

TEXAS A&M (Own 32): 

Kellen Mond completed a bubble screen to the right to Camron Buckley for a gain of one yard. Mond was tackled for no gain on a scramble up the middle. On third and nine, Mond's pass over the middle was broken up by the Razorbacks defense. Texas A&M punted the ball to the Arkansas 16-yard line.

HALFTIME: TEXAS A&M 21, ARKANSAS 17

Analysis: This has been a very back and forth first half. Texas A&M started out strong in the first quarter, but Arkansas took advantage of defensive opportunities to put 17 points on the board in the second quarter. Mond ended the half on a strong note for the Aggies, however, with a crucial 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to retake the lead with eight second left in the half. 

Another storyline to keep an eye on is the health of Arkansas starting quarterback Nick Starkel. He went back to the locker room late in the second quarter and his backup, Ben Hicks, filled in nicely. Hicks converted on the Razorbacks' only offensive touchdown drive of the first half. 

STATS:

AGGIES: 

Kellen Mond: 14-for-21, 182 yards, two touchdowns

Quartney Davis: Two carries, 19 yards rushing, four catches, 50 receiving yards and one touchdown

Jhamon Ausbon: five catches, 63 receiving yards

RAZORBACKS:  

Nick Starkel: 12-for-17, 109 passing yards, zero touchdowns, one interception

Ben Hicks: 2-for-2, 15 passing yards, one touchdown

Rakeem Boyd: 11 carries, 72 yards

Cheyenne O'Grady: Four catches, 51 yards

2ND Q: 

TEXAS A&M 21, ARKANSAS 17

ARKANSAS (Own 25): 

Ben Hicks took a knee to enter halftime. Aggies lead 21-17.

TEXAS A&M (Own 25): 

Kellen Mond completed a pass to the left to Quartney Davis for a gain of 11 yards. Mond scrambled to the right on the next play for a gain of five yards. As the pocket broke down, Mond left the tackle box and intentionally threw the ball out of bounds. On third and five, Mond completed a pass over the middle to Jhamon Ausbon for a first down. Mond completed a swing pass to the left to Jacob Kibodi for a gain of nine yards to the Razorbacks 45-yard line. Mond sailed his first down pass over the receiver's head. Mond rushed up the middle for four yards and a first down. Texas A&M called a timeout with 38 seconds remaining in the first half. Mond's first down pass intended for Ausbon sailed long. Mond connected with Ausbon on second down for a gain of 13 yards. Mond completed another pass to Camron Buckley to bring the Aggies to the Razorbacks two-yard line. The catch went to the booth for review. After review, the call on the field was reversed and the ball was placed back at the 22-yard line. On the next play, Mond completed a pass over the middle to Davis, who took the ball 22 yards for a touchdown with eight seconds left to play in the first half. Aggies lead 21-17.

ARKANSAS (Aggies 41): 

Ben Hicks entered the game at quarterback and pitched the ball forward on a jet sweep to TQ Jackson for a gain of two yards. With a hand in his face, Hicks threw a ball over the middle, which fell incomplete. A roughing the passer penalty moved the sticks for the Razorbacks though. Rakeem Boyd ran the ball around the left end for a gain of a few yards, but was erased by an illegal formation penalty. Boyd ran the ball up the middle on a zone read for a gain of 16 yards. Hicks completed a 13-yard back-shoulder fade route to Michael Woods. Arkansas leads 17-14.

***INJURY ALERT***: Nick Starkel was taken back to the locker room on a cart. We'll update his condition as information becomes available. In the meantime, Ben Hicks will come out at quarterback for the Razorbacks.

TEXAS A&M (Own 25): 

For the second play in a row, Kellen Mond fumbles the football, but it was recovered this time by the Aggies for a loss of 11 yards. 

Isaiah Spiller ran a sweep to the right for a gain of one yard. On third and 20, Jacob Kibodi rushed for a gain of three yards. Texas A&M punted the ball and the punt was returned 32 yards the ball back to the Aggies' 41-yard line.

TEXAS A&M (Own 18): 

On the first play of the drive, Kellen Mond fumbled the ball, which was picked up by the Razorbacks defense and returned for a touchdown. Aggies lead 14-10.

ARKANSAS (Own 25):

Nick Starkel completed a swing pass to the left to Rakeem Boyd for seven yards. Starkel completed a pass to Treylon Burks for a gain of one yard. Starkel converted the first down with a jet sweep pitch to T.J. Hammonds. Starkel found an open Cheyenne O'Grady up the middle seam of the defense for 27 yards. Starkel completed a screen pass to Devwah Whaley for a gain of 16 yards. Starkel looked for an end zone shot to Burks, which fell incomplete, but a pass interference penalty was called on the Aggies. The ball was placed at the spot of the foul, which was the Aggies' five-yard line. On first and goal from the five, Boyd ran the ball up the middle for a gain of one yard. On second and goal, Starkel carried the ball on a quarterback keeper for a loss of two yards. However, Texas A&M was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty, which moved the ball half the distance to the goal line and gave the Razorbacks a fresh set of downs. On first and goal from the three-yard line, Boyd picked up no gain on a run up the middle. On second and goal, Starkel's pass was intercepted by the Aggies defense and returned to the 18-yard line.

TEXAS A&M (Own 25): 

Kellen Mond completed his first pass of the second quarter to Ainias Smith for a gain of 30 yards. 

Isaiah Spiller gained five yards on a carry up the middle. Mond pitched the ball on an option to Quartney Davis for a gain of one yard. Mond threw a pass over the middle, which fell incomplete, but a pass interference penalty moved the chains for the Aggies. Spiller ran up the middle on a zone play for no gain. Mond completed a dig route over the middle to Davis for 15 yards. Mond was pressured by the Arkansas, scrambled outside the tackle box, and threw the ball away. On second down, Mond was sacked for a loss of four yards. On third and 14, Mond connected with Smith for a 16-yard pass and a first down conversion to the Razorbacks four-yard line. Mond's first down pass was incomplete intended for Jhamon Ausbon. On second and goal, Spiller carried the ball up the middle for a four-yard touchdown. Aggies lead 14-3.

ARKANSAS (Con't.): 

Rakeem Boyd started the quarter with a run up the middle for five yards. Nick Starkel's third down pass hit the referee and fell incomplete. Connor Limpert hit the 46-yard field goal. Aggies lead 7-3.

1ST Q: 

TEXAS A&M 7, ARKANSAS 0

ARKANSAS (Own 25): 

Nick Starkel completed his first pass of the drive to Cheyenne O'Grady for a gain of nine yards. Rakeem Boyd gained one yard on a run up the middle to pick up a first down. Boyd went up the middle again, gaining only one yard. Starkel and his receiver were on different pages on second down, as the pass sailed out of bounds. On third and nine, Starkel shedded the corner blitz and completed a strike to Tyson Morris for a first down. Boyd gashed the Aggies defense for a gain of 24 yards on a pitch play to the right to the Texas A&M 30. Devwah Whaley lost three yards on a run up the middle. This play ended the first quarter. Aggies lead 7-0. 

TEXAS A&M (Own 37):

Kellen Mond completed a screen pass to the left, but an offside penalty wiped the play and gave the Aggies a free five yards. Mond completed a jet sweep pitch forward to Quartney Davis for a gain of two yards. Mond hit Jhamon Ausbon on a slant for a gain of 17 yards. Mond handed the ball off to Isaiah Spiller, who pitched it to Davis on a reverse and the Aggies gained 18 yards. Spiller took an inside zone for no gain. Mond completed a 10-yard out route to Ausbon for a first down to the Razorbacks 11-yard line. Spiller carried an inside zone for a two-yard gain. On second and goal, Mond completed a nine-yard slant pass to Ainias Smith for the Aggies' first touchdown. Aggies lead 7-0.

ARKANSAS (Own 13):

Rakeem Boyd took a carry to the left side for a gain of eight yards. Boyd ran another zone to the left for a loss of one yard. On third and three, Nick Starkel found Cheyenne O'Grady for a first down. With a new set of downs, Boyd was given a pitch to the left sideline for a gain of three yards. Starkel completed a check down to Devwah Whaley for a gain of four yards. On third and three, Starkel fired a pass under duress over the middle, which fell incomplete. Arkansas punted the ball to the Texas A&M 37-yard line.

TEXAS A&M (Own 34): 

Kellen Mond opened up the game wit a complete pass to Jhamon Ausbon for 12 yards and followed with a scramble for another 12 yards. Mond was sacked on the following play by the Razorbacks defense for a loss of seven yards to midfield. 

Mond completed a swing pass to the left to Isaiah Spiller for a gain of five yards. On third and 11, Mond looked deep over the middle to a wide open Kendrick Rogers, but the pass was a little high and fell incomplete. Texas A&M punted the ball to the Arkansas 14-yard line.

ARKANSAS (Own 25):

Nick Starkel completed his first pass of the game, a 12-yard pass to Michael Woods. Starkel completed a tight end screen over the middle to Cheyenne O'Grady for 10 yards. Rakeem Boyd took his first rush up the middle for a gain of 14 yards. Starkel pitched the ball forward on a jet sweep to T.J. Hammonds for a gain of one yard. Devwah Whaley picked up four yards on a run up the middle. On third and 5, Starkel's pass intended for Treylon Burks fell incomplete. Arkansas called its first timeout of the half. Connor Limpert missed the 51-yard field goal. Texas A&M takes over at the 34-yard line.

PREGAME:

No. 23 Texas A&M and Arkansas square off in a neutral site game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in each team's second SEC matchup this season. 

The Aggies lost to the Auburn Tigers last week at home, 28-20, and Arkansas will come to Jerry World off of a loss as well, falling to San Jose State at home, 31-24. Both teams are 2-2, however, Texas A&M's losses have both come at the hands of top 25 ranked teams in the AP poll. 

Last season, Texas A&M held off a late second half Arkansas run to defeat the Razorbacks, 24-17. The Aggies have won the past seven games against the Razorbacks, dating back to the 2012 season. Arkansas' last win came in AT&T Stadium in 2011, where the Razorbacks rallied back from 18 points down to win the game. 

ESPN gives Texas A&M a 93.3% chance to win the game, according to the Football Power Index. The Aggies also are favored with a -23.5 spread. 

Get a summary of the Texas A&M Aggies vs. Arkansas Razorbacks football game.

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