ARLINGTON, Texas - Arkansas players on the field were jumping up and down with joy, the guys on the sideline wore huge smiles, and tens of thousands of fans followed their usual cries of "Woo Pig Sooie!"
Brace yourself, Texas A&M fans, because it might be like this week after week next season.
Tyler Wilson threw for a school-record 510 yards, Jarius Wright caught 13 passes for a school-record 281 yards, and the No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks turned an 18-point halftime deficit into a 42-38 victory yesterday, giving the No. 14 Aggies a rude preview of life in their new conference.
"We played in the second half with a tremendous amount of heart, competitive spirit, toughness," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "It was a really good win."
Texas A&M scored five touchdowns in the first half, all on the ground against a defense that had allowed only one rushing touchdown over four previous games. The Razorbacks snapped back to form in the second half, yielding only a field goal, albeit one that gave the Aggies a 38-35 lead with 4:22 left.
Then Broderick Green ran 3 yards for a touchdown with 1:41 left to put Arkansas (4-1) ahead for the first time. One defensive stand later, the celebrations broke out among the Hogs' half of the 69,838 fans, further punctuated with chants of, "S-E-C! S-E-C!"
Meanwhile, the Aggies (2-2) and their fans were forced to accept a second straight agonizing defeat.
Just a week before, they gave up a 17-point halftime lead at home to Oklahoma State, a member of the Big 12, the conference they're leaving behind. Now, they've blown an even bigger lead to a team from the conference they just announced they're joining. It's a 1-2 punch that has taken them from No. 8 and the cusp of the national title chase to likely the back end of the Top 25 and sinking in the conference race.
"We'll have some heart-to-hearts this week, particularly on Monday, about which direction we're going to go and make sure that what happened today doesn't happen again," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said.
The Aggies have dropped seven straight games to SEC teams, dating to 1995, when they were in the Southwest Conference.
Wilson shattered the school passing record of 409 yards set by Ryan Mallett against Vanderbilt last season. He was 30 of 51 with three touchdowns, including a pinpoint 68-yarder to Wright. He also ran for a 2-point conversion that tied the game at 35, and led the nine-play, 80-yard drive for the winning touchdown.
Most importantly, Wilson guided Arkansas to points on four of six second-half drives before the kneel-down at the end.
"You can't get caught up in how many passing yards you've thrown for or what the score is," Wilson said. "It's just chipping away. We had success spreading 'em out in an empty formation. I knew we'd have success in the second half if the defense could hold 'em a few times."
Wright broke the school receiving record of 204 yards by halftime. He wound up also tying the record for catches.
"We saw before the game, that they left the middle open a lot," Wright said. "They did it against us too and we had to make them pay."
His best play wasn't a catch, but a head's-up recovery of a fumble by fellow receiver Cobi Hamilton as the ball was rolling into the end zone. That touchdown got Arkansas within 35-33, setting up Wilson's conversion that tied it.
"I was over there trying to get a block for Cobi," Wright said. "I saw the ball squirt out and when I saw that, I had it in my head that I had to get the ball."
The Razorbacks went from giving up 404 yards in the first half to 224 in the second half.
A&M's Christine Michael ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns, and Cyrus Gray ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Tannehill went 25 of 35 for 247 yards and an interception, and ran for 56 yards.
The Aggies fell to 0-4 at Cowboys Stadium. They are 0-3 against Arkansas and lost the Cotton Bowl in January to another SEC school, LSU.