Saturday's college football national roundup: No. 16 Arkansas end long skid against No. 7 Texas A&M

By Stephen Hawkins
Associated Press

Arlington, Texas — KJ Jefferson got back on the field late, bruised knee and all, bulling over a defender for a first down and then kneeling down on the final snap for No. 16 Arkansas.

Jefferson threw for 202 yards and two long touchdowns before getting hurt against a Texas A&M defense that hadn’t allowed a passing score this year, and Arkansas beat the seventh-ranked Aggies 20-10 on Saturday for its first victory in the series in their 10 seasons since becoming Southeastern Conference foes.

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson scrambles out of the pocket before throwing a pass in the second half.

“Really happy with the team’s toughness … our toughness showed tonight,” coach Sam Pittman said.

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 after the numbing gel took effect to finish off the SEC opener as Arkansas improved to 4-0 overall for the first time since 2003.

“Waiting for the medicine to kick in,” Jefferson said. “I knew I had to go back in and fight for my team.”

Texas A&M (3-1, 0-1 SEC) also had its overall 11-game winning streak snapped while getting outgained 443 yards to 272.

The Aggies hadn’t allowed a passing TD until Jefferson’s 85-yard score to Treylon Burks, who pushed by a defender and made 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. Burks finished with six catches for 167 yards.

“You never win a game in the first 10, 15 minutes, but you can sure put yourself behind the 8-ball,” Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher said. “That’s what we did. We gave up big plays, big drives.”

Jefferson, who finished 7-of-15 passing for 212 yards overall and ran for 50 more, threw another TD early in the second quarter. 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.

The Aggies cut the gap to 17-10 midway through the third quarter on Isaiah Spiller’s 67-yard TD run, when he took a handoff up the middle through an open gap and outran four defensive backs to the end zone.

“Really they had the one long run” Pittman said. “Basically it was our defense vs. their defense.”

More Saturday games

(At) North Carolina State 27, No. 9 Clemson 21, 2OT: North Carolina State forced D.J. Uiagalelei into a fourth-down incompletion in the second overtime to beat Clemson, an outcome that shakes up the Atlantic Coast Conference race and deals a huge blow to the Tigers’ College Football Playoff hopes.

Uiagagelei slightly overthrew Justyn Ross near the goal line to end it. Red-clad fans poured onto the field to celebrate N.C. State’s first win in the series in a decade.

Devin Leary threw for four touchdowns, including the winning 22-yard pass to Devin Carter to start the second OT.

N.C. State (3-1, 1-0 ACC) controlled play most of the way, nearly doubling Clemson in total offense through regulation while converting more than half of its third-down chances.

It was a brutal day for the Tigers (2-2, 1-1), who now have a second loss to make it an unlikely climb to make the playoff.

(At) Baylor 31, No. 14 Iowa State 14: Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said his defense was just a little bit off with its detail early in Saturday’s game against Baylor.

The Bears took full advantage with a fast start, then held on as their special teams and defense handled the rest.

Gerry Bohanon threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Baylor stopped a two-point try with 24 seconds left to beat No. 14 Iowa State 31-29 on Saturday.

Breece Hall ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries for Iowa State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) and caught five passes for 51 yards, including a 16-yard score in the final minute that was followed by a failed two-point try.

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On the two-point conversion, Brock Purdy went under center after spending most of the day in shotgun and bobbled the snap. That was enough to throw off the play’s timing, and Purdy was forced to throw a jump ball that was intercepted by Baylor’s JT Woods.

“It was supposed to be a play-action, and we felt like it would work knowing that I demand so much attention,” Hall said. “It was a bobbled snap, so Brock got out there late. He couldn’t get around the edge defender, so he had to throw it up and hope for the best. It just didn’t work out.”

The Bears recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for their first win over a ranked opponent since they beat North Carolina in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl.

“It was a team win,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “The guys (were) gritting out stuff and not allowing stuff to happen. It’s way cool to be on that side of it.”

Hall’s two rushing touchdowns give him the school record with 39 for his career, breaking the mark set by Troy Davis (1994-96) and Dexter Green (1975-78). It was Hall’s 16th straight game with a rushing touchdown, which snapped a tie for the Big 12 record he shared with former Missouri quarterback Corby Jones (1997-98).

The Bears (4-0, 2-0) scored touchdowns on their first three possessions against an Iowa State defense that entered No. 1 in the nation allowing 194 yards per game and never trailed again.