Overtime games in AT&T Stadium are the worst new Aggie tradition. And it is a certified tradition now that it has been recorded two years in a row. But rivalry wins are fun no matter what the circumstances and any SEC West win is a good win. Getting one after a performance that was lackluster for much of the game is a satisfying surprise. We did just enough at exactly the right times to get the win. Let's dig at some of the numbers.
0. Runs of 20 yards or more given up to the Hogs. This is not a buoyant or optimistic point. This is to illustrate the brutality enacted on a vulnerable defense. They lined up and ran it 42 times for 241 yards without any long runs. It was a methodical, consistent, constant, heavy, debilitating attack that we were fortunate to weather for the second straight year. At the same time it was, in some desperate way, an improvement over last year. We got into the backfield quickly at times (even though we rarely capitalized) and we did prevent the home run. It wasn't misdirection or finesse: it was head-on mauling. They dictated the tone of the game and we survived on brilliant individual efforts and fortuitous timing. But we still also have a 0 in the loss column, because in football sometimes that is all it takes.
1. Sack by Garrett. Much was made about the fact that Arkansas hadn't allowed a sack in a hundred consecutive pass attempts, and to be quite honest to only get to their QB twice on nearly 30 tries built a frustration that was bordering on futility. Myles' sack was just enough at the right moment to help swing the game in our favor.
+2. Turnover margin. We needed both of these badly in order to get the win. This was the single-most important factor in this game. If we hadn't gotten two turnovers or if we'd turned it over even once, we're looking at a very smug Bielema press conference to snipe at passive-aggressively instead of watching a locker room celebration.
22%. Our third-down conversion rate. WOOF. 2/9. This is partly an unfortunate byproduct of using Kyler in the packages on first and second down: Kyle has to come in cold and try to get everything at once if it doesn't work out.
3. Defensive players with double-digit tackles. And two of them were linebackers! (The other was Watts, who seems to finish every game with 14 tackles.) Washington had 11 stops and Hilliard had 10 and the fumble recovery at the end. The real test will be how these guys bounce back from the physically exhausting beating that this game was. See 2014.
4/4. Red zone opportunities. We had two touchdowns and two field goals when we got inside the 20. It's a small victory, but if we're not 100% here, we don't get to overtime. Conference games are going to hinge on the small things.
5. Non-completions for Brandon Allen. He threw 25 passes and completed 20. We had one interception and the pass deflection on the last play of the game. He was incredibly efficient because they were keeping in a lot of extra pass protection and running safe routes that turned into big gains. On our side, Kyle Allen only completed passes to five Aggies. That's a much more limited distribution than normal.
6:28. This was our time of possession in the entire first half.
7. Penalties, for 52 yards. Again, it seemed like more because they were popping up at the most inopportune moments. Two of them happened on the interception play.
8. Catches by Tra Carson. He only had 2 receptions coming into the game. We did some different things with Tra this week and worked in more screens. We also split him out wide to confuse the hell out of their linebackers. He only had 8 carries as well, but his versatility is really an asset since we have chosen to make him the feature back.
11-279. Kirk and Reynolds, though.
14. Plays in the first drive of the second half. Great, balanced, controlling drive. But we needed 7 instead of 3.
17. Plays in the entire first half. We were moving the ball, but we just weren't getting Arkansas off the field. Even when they were racking up penalties, they were eventually converting and eating up huge chunks of clock.
65. Rushing yards. Not good. It wasn't really working. RABBLE RABBLE
358. Passing yards by Kyle Allen. This is the first time he's passed for over 300 yards. Good timing, Kyle.
457. Yards allowed. They outgained us. They pretty much out-everythinged us and we still wound up in the win column. It's still novel to be on the other side of this phenomenon.