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Another loss to Aggies may have Bielema’s seat warm

Kevin Sumlin isn’t off the hotseat in College Station, but Bret Bielema may be there after losing to Texas A&M for the fifth straight season.



ARLINGTON, Texas — After beating Arkansas in overtime for the third time in four years and sixth year in a row, Texas Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin isn’t off the hot seat.

With five straight losses in Jerry Jones’ AT&T Stadium, Bret Bielema may have put himself on it squarely.

And it’s a place he’ll stay for a couple of weeks after the Razorbacks’ 50-43 loss in yet another overtime game to A&M.

“It’s just gut-wrenching,” he said later.

This one maybe more than any other and while he once again talked about how close this team is to winning, there were enough blunders to make you wonder.

Maybe the biggest came in a wild final five minutes that left everyone drained and made up for a game that was a 28-27 yawner.

After the Aggies had taken a 33-28 lead after the Hogs’ defense allowed A&M running back Keith Ford (14 carries for 102 yards, two touchdowns) to blow through a gaping hole and ramble 44 yards for his second score.

He would have added a 2-point conversion but bumbled a lateral out of bounds, leaving it at 33-28 in the Aggies’ favor with 8:46 to play.

Arkansas answered, though.

Austin Allen hit key passes, first to Cheyenne O’Grady for 15 yards on a third-and-7, then 44 yards down the left sideline to Jonathan Nance for a score with 5:21 to play, then hit tight end Jeremy Patton for the 2-point conversion and it was 36-33, Hogs.

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Then Christian Kirk, who had a monster game for the Aggies, got loose … again (he had scored earlier on an 81-yard scoring pass).

Kirk gathered in Connor Limpert’s kickoff and went 100 yards to immediately put the Aggies back on top, 40-36.

“We haven’t had a kick return for a touchdown in, I think it’s about seven years,” Kirk said later. “I don’t know what it is, the exact number. But, you know, Coach (Jeff) Banks is always emphasizing, we need to get one, we’re going to hit one. And we were close last weekend.

“He’s able to see, you know, what they’re running throughout the game. So he saw what their scheme was, he drew up a new return in the game and the guys up front just went out there and executed. All I had to do was just hit the hole and go.”

The Aggies side went wild. The Hogs side went numb.

But not for long.

Allen got the ball back and needed just four plays to march 75 yards, completing passes to tight end Austin Cantrell for 31 yard,s, then David Williams for 20 and a 45-yarder to Nance on the same route he scored on earlier.

Williams got the final 4 yards and it was 43-40, but you got the feeling the Hogs left too much time on the clock.

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They tried to pop the kick to the middle, not wanting to give Kirk another chance, and the 12th Man, Cullen Gillaspia snatched it out of the air, bounced off a tackler and rumbled for 14 yards to the Arkansas 49 with 3:39 to go.

“We were trying to get it on the SEC logo right there in the middle, trying to get in a nice open area,” Bielema said. “The kid did a nice job of catching it. And a couple of guys already thought the play was down and he ran for about 10, 15 yards.”

You had the feeling if the Aggies scored too quickly, the Hogs would still have time, but they didn’t.

A&M quarterback Kellen Mond, who went the distance, hitting 14-of-27 for 216 yards and two touchdowns converted a fourth-and-3 on a 7-yard pass to Damion Ratley for 7 and the Aggies were getting close.

They started playig the clock then, getting it to the Arkansas 9 with eight second left and Daniel LaCamera hit a 27-yard field goal and it was overtime again.

Sumlin knew exactly what we was thinking going into overtime.

“I knew that, if we had our druthers, we wanted to play on that that end of the field,” he said, pointing to the west side where the Aggie band and fans were.”Your probably know why.”

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A&M got the ball first, headed towards their fans, and got a pass interference call against Hogs corner Kamren Curl that will be argued for awhile and scored on a pass from Mond to a diving Kirk in the end zone. That gave the Aggies a 50-43 lead.

Arkansas tried, getting to the Texas A&M 12, but on third-and-8, Austin Allen’s pass was intercepted by Aggies defender Armani Watts in the end zone, ending the game.

For Sumlin, he knows he’s not off the hot seat. The Aggies want at least nine wins and right now he’s six short with a bunch of SEC games left to play.

“It’s more about week to week and not what’s out there in front and everybody is going to try to paint this picture or paint that picture,” he said.

Bielema didn’t address his situation, but he did get choked up towards the end.

“It’s hard because we put a lot into it and my kids put a lot into it,” he said. “You get a lot of negativity, and I wish I could do something for them.

“I know this. We’re going to be all right.”

Considering the Hogs are now 1-2 on the season with nine more games staring at them, including seven SEC opponents, fans aren’t so sure.

And Bielema’s seat will warm up considerably.

Not to mention others.


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