Texas A&M jumps back into Southeastern Conference play for the first time since opening the season with a Sept. 8 loss to Florida when the Aggies (2-1) host Arkansas (1-3) on Saturday at Kyle Field. Texas A&M has won two in a row (over SMU and South Carolina State), but this game figures to be a stiffer test, even with the Razorbacks having lost three straight. Let's take a look at five storylines for the Aggies as their next game approaches:
The Aggies and Razorbacks have met each of the last three years, and in all three meetings, the Razorbacks came up with the win. That includes last season when the Aggies led by 18 points at halftime, only to be on the receiving end of a 42-38 defeat. So needless to say, there's an emphasis by the Aggies on Saturday's game, particularly from the seniors who have yet to count a win over the Razorbacks on their resume and would like to add one.
2. SEC firsts
The Aggies missed once on getting their inaugural SEC win. Saturday, they'll look to get their first SEC win, first SEC home win and first SEC West Division win.
3. Dealing with the 'wounded animal'
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin compared the struggling Razorbacks to a wounded animal, saying that he has told his team 'A wounded animal may be the most dangerous one,' when it comes to Arkansas. There's no doubt the Hogs are fighting for their season and they're still a talented group on the offensive side of the ball, led by quarterback Tyler Wilson and receiver Cobi Hamilton, who's coming off an SEC record 303-receiving yard performance.
4. How much work for Michael?
Aggies senior running back Christine Michael had a career day against Arkansas last season, piling up 230 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries in his team's 42-38 loss. However, Michael hasn't seen much work so far this season. He led the team in carries against Florida but served a one-game suspension for violation of team rules, missing the SMU game. He also didn't play in the first half of the Aggies' 70-14 win over South Carolina State, and when asked why he didn't enter the game until the second half, Sumlin said "He was the third back." This week, junior Ben Malena will get the start (his third consecutive) and Michael is listed second behind Malena on the official depth chart.
5. Tough road ahead
After Saturday's home game against the Razorbacks, the Aggies hit the road for five of their next six games. That stretch includes four games at opposing SEC venues and there's no off week in sight, so that makes Saturday's game even more critical for Texas A&M.