When soccer coaches watch a movie, they don’t always look at their next opponent.
Arkansas coach Sam Bateman noticed something then – no. Miami scored 13 in a 17-9 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. And Bateman looked like he might be going to school at the time when No. 10 Razorbacks (3-0) played No. 23 Aggies (2-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN in Arlington, Texas.
Hurricanes averaged about five yards off the ground, and finished with 175 yards on 36 buggies, but they gave up on the running game for the pass. Texas A&M is better against the pass — No. 9 in the state and No. 2 in the SEC with 147.3 yards allowed — than it is against the pass — No. 83 in the nation and No. 12 in SEC 154.3 yards given up a game.
Arkansas escapes the Missouri panic
You might remember that Appalachian State slammed the Agies’ throat in a 17-10 loss on Sept. 10 with 181 yards on 52 carry and expertly kept the ball away from Texas A&M with 41 minutes of possession.
Hurricanes fell in love with the pass
“Miami has been successful at running football, but they had the broad lines they wanted to get the ball to,” Pittman said Monday. “Miami tried to throw the ball a little bit.”
Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyck threw the ball 41 times, completed 21 for 217 yards and didn’t land. Hurricanes, 2-1 and now No. 25, beat A&M, 392 yards to 264, but held three field goals, missed a field goal and were saved. Meanwhile, Miami rushed 36 times for 175 yards with an average of 4.9 yards for carry. Henry Parrish Jr. got 85 yards in 16 buggies, and Jaylan Knighton added 77 in 14 lunges.
Miami played to the strength of Texas A&M – its secondary – rather than its weakness – its quick defense.
“They’re really good at the back end,” Bateman said. “They have a lot of strengths. One of them is secondary.”
Arkansas will likely keep running
First-year Miami coach Mario Cristobal may have been fond of passing. Texas A&M’s Brian George and Salama Dimani Richardson were both sent off for targeting in the first quarter, and coach Jimbo Fisher stopped new defensive backs Denver Harris and Smoke Boy the night before the game. Harris and Bowie were on the team’s first course of the season.
Arkansas is No. 2 in the SEC and 10th in the nation in rushing with 243.7 yards per game. Pittman, the former offensive line coach, likely won’t walk away from the race if he makes it on Saturday. Rahim Sanders, behind Arkansas, ranks fourth in the state in the rush with 440 yards on 66 coaches.
Pittman has double-threat quarterback KJ Jefferson, who gained 169 yards in 46 carry-overs. He also ranks third in the SEC and 18th nationally in passing efficiency at 176.3 in 55 completions in 78 attempts for 770 yards and six touchdowns.
It can hurt you either way,” Pittman said. “Very confident about throwing a soccer ball. With the start of last year’s game, our main concern was, ‘How are we going to run a KJ game?”
Jefferson completed 7 of 15 passes for 212 yards in a 20-10 win over Texas A&M last year with 85 touchdowns and 48 yards before leaving the game in the third quarter with a minor knee injury. He also rushed eight times for 50 yards.
“We have to get him to rebound early,” Bateman said.