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Arkansas, Texas A&M ready to collide in SEC opener

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ARLINGTON, Texas — When the University of Arkansas contracted with old Southwest Conference rival Texas A&M to renew their ties in the Southwest Classic in 2009, the future looked bright for the Razorbacks.

The football program seemed to be on the rise under Coach Bobby Petrino, and a long-term series at the sparkling new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys, owned by alumnus Jerry Jones, could only raise the Razorbacks’ profile and attract more students and football prospects to Arkansas.

At the time, Arkansas owned a sizable advantage in the series, having won 60.8% of the games with a 38-24-3 record.

For a few years, the Razorbacks surged in Arlington. Jones, a standout lineman on the Razorbacks’ 1964 national championship team whose career was part of nine consecutive Arkansas wins in the series from 1958-66, happily presented the Southwest Classic Trophy to Petrino after Arkansas wins from 2009-11.

That stretch included one of the most remarkable comebacks in school history in a 42-38 victory in 2011 behind Tyler Wilson’s school-record 510 passing yards and Jarius Wright’s then-record 281 receiving yards. The Razorbacks trailed 35-17 at halftime before rallying to increase their win rate to 62.5% against the Aggies.

Then everything changed.

Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012, threw a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback named Johnny Manziel at the Razorbacks the next two years and went on a sizzling run of its own with a 100% win rate since bolting from the Big 12.

The No. 7 Aggies (3-0) will take a nine-game winning streak in the series into today’s SEC opener against No. 16 Arkansas (3-0).

Second-year Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman said the Razorbacks haven’t been holding up their end of the bargain.

“The rivalry........

© El Dorado News Times

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