ARLINGTON, Texas â€” KJ Jefferson threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns before getting banged up to start the second half and No. 16 Arkansas held on for a 20-10 win over seventh-ranked Texas A&M on Saturday, the first in the series for the Razorbacks in their 10 seasons as Southeastern Conference foes.
Jefferson came up limping and favoring his left leg after getting tackled out of bounds to start the second half, and left a few plays later. But he did return to the game late, and was on the field to take the final kneel-down in the SEC opener to cap Arkansasâ€™ first 4-0 start since 2003.
The Aggies hadnâ€™t allowed a passing touchdown this season until Jeffersonâ€™s 85-yard score to Treylon Burks, who pushed by a defender and match the catch near the 40. Burks appeared to stumble, but stayed upright and sprinted down the right sideline for 10-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Sep 25, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) passes against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium.
Arkansas leads 42-33-1 overall in the series that dates back to 1903 and includes their time as longtime Southwest Conference rivals. But Texas A&M had won all nine meetings since joining the SEC in 2012, which was 20 years after the Razorbacks debuted in the league.
Jefferson threw another TD early in the second quarter when AJ Green caught a pass in the left flat, shed one defender, did a stutter step around another one and then got a boost when linebacker Aaron Hansford basically pushed him past yet another defender inside the 25 on way to a 48-yard touchdown.
Jefferson finished 7 of 15 for 212 yards with plenty of big plays. Trelon Smith added 82 yards rushing as the Razorbacks piled up 443 total yards
The Aggies cut the gap to 17-10 midway through the third quarter when Isaiah Spiller took a handoff up the middle, found an open gap and outran four defensive backs to the end zone for a 17-10 lead. That was most of Spillarâ€™s 95 yards.