DALLAS — No. 10 Arkansas will try to make it two wins in a row over No. 23 Texas A&M on Saturday night in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium.

Arkansas won last year’s game 20-10 which was the first win in the series since Oct. 1, 2011, when Bobby Petrino’s Hogs defeated the Aggies 42-38. The Southwest Classic championship last year was the first of four trophies Sam Pittman’s Hogs took back to Fayetteville.

“We’re excited to go to Dallas and play Texas A&M,” Pittman said. “They have a really good team, and obviously a big win for them over Miami on Saturday. They have a lot of speed. Speed in the secondary. They’re big. Big on the D-line, big at linebacker. They can really stretch the field at wideout. They had some guys suspended last week. I don’t know if they’re coming back or not.

“You have to stop 6 (Devon Achane) and 0 (Ainias Smith) on offense. That’s hard to do. Achane is really fast, and of course Ainias Smith is dangerous running the ball, catching the ball and obviously on punt returns along with Achane on kick returns. Max Johnson played really well, I thought, against Miami. They’ve got a good special teams group. Really solid team. Big team. They look like a big, physical SEC team. I have a lot of respect for Coach (Jimbo) Fisher. I consider him a friend of mine, and I certainly have a lot of respect for him and his program and the guys on his staff.”

Achane has 46 carries for 196 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He has caught six passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Smith leads the Aggies with 14 catches for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He has three rushes for 11 yards.

In a 17-14 loss to App State, the Aggies defense struggled against the run. They defeated Miami 17-9 last week and the defense looked much better. Pittman talked about what he saw in the two games.

“Well, in my opinion, they played two totally different offenses,” Pittman said. “Miami tried to throw the ball quite a bit. Was having success running the football, but Miami had wideouts they wanted to get the ball to. App State was more of a ‘we’re coming at you, we’re going to run to the football,’ a little bit of play action, things of that nature — we’re going to try to run right at you, stuff like that. So there was two different offenses going against their defense. Their defense is big and physical and can run. They’ve got a lot of strengths. One of them is their secondary. They’re really good in the back end. So I think they got better last week. You’d have to ask Jimbo, but I think they got a lot better in a week’s time. But there was two, in my opinion, totally different offenses ran against the defense.”

While Arkansas is capable of passing on any team, expect Pittman to show the Aggies a lot of KJ Jefferson and running back Raheim Sanders in the running game. Arkansas has a very big and experienced offensive line. Sanders leads the SEC with 66 carries for 440 yards and three touchdowns. Jefferson has 46 carries for 169 yards and three touchdowns on the ground as well. He has completed 55 of 78 passes for 770 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Pittman says you may see more of Jefferson on the ground this week than against Missouri State.

“I believe he can,” Pittman said of Jefferson being able to do it all. “I would say this: Going into last year’s game against A&M, our main concern was, ‘How are we going to run KJ? How are we going to run him?’ That’s not a belief that we didn’t feel he couldn’t throw the ball, because obviously he threw one to (Treylon) Burks and threw the ball when we had to, or when they gave it to us. But now, he can hurt you either way. Very confident throwing the football. We’ve got to get him revved up early. We’ve got to get him involved in the game early, whether that be running or whether that be throwing. I don’t think we really called a significant run to him where it was just his run until the third quarter the other night. That was us saying, ‘Hey, we better get him involved,’ even though we were running the ball decent, we better get him involved.”

Pittman said an additional plus of the Hogs defeating the Aggies last year was recruiting. He feels it helped in that area as well.

“Well it felt good,” Pittman said. “I’ll say that. I remember going into the locker room after the game and we were 4-0 at the time and it felt awful good. I think we had lost nine in a row. I think they’ve won 9 out of 10 and something like 9 out of 13. I think we won the first three, the trophy game I’m talking about, in the Southwest Classic. It felt really good. I think it was really important to us because we had been fortunate enough to beat Texas and then come back and beat Texas A&M. I felt like it would do something for us on a national appearance, and I knew it would help us in recruiting in Texas. It was a CBS game, a 2:30 p.m. game and I felt like it would help us in recruiting. Yeah, it felt awful good. I thought it was an important game for us to have as a win.”

How big a rivalry game is the Southwest Classic?

“Well, I think it’s a big rivalry for us,” Pittman said. “I think anytime you’ve lost nine of the last 10 games, I can’t speak for A&M but it means a lot to Arkansas because we haven’t been on the winning end of it. Certainly, nine out of 10 they’ve beat us. But, it’s a trophy game. As you well know, it’s a big deal for us to win any of those trophy games. It’s a huge deal. We’ve gotten the trophy out this week and things of that nature. Obviously, we’ve got to take it down there. We certainly want to bring it back. It means something to us. It certainly does.”

While Arkansas defeated South Carolina 44-30 to open SEC play this will be the conference opener for the Aggies.

“I think they’re all big,” Fisher said. “It’s your first conference game and you want to get off to a good start in your own conference. Now it’s not their first conference game, it’s their second. I think that’s very critical. But for us… It’s a hard road to hoe for everyone. That’s the SEC West. It’s tough each week. It’s another critical game. But it’s one game. That’s what it is, but it’s a very important game because it’s the next one and you’d rather be on the top side of it than the bottom, I promise you, with what’s coming.”

Count Fisher as another fan of Jefferson. Fisher knows what the redshirt junior quarterback is capable of after last season’s loss to the Hogs.

“I think every key moment in big games he seems to make the plays,” Fisher said. “Sometimes we get caught up in wanting to see numbers and how a guy changes. As a coach, I don’t always judge them by that. Numbers can come and go based off situations and circumstances, based on how a game goes, or your offense or whatever happens. But those moments, in big moments where you have to be the guy. Like getting the ball at the end of the game in basketball or it’s like having that last at bat in the ninth inning in baseball, or whatever. Those big moments when momentum has to occur, changes have to occur, the consistency in which he plays with and the ability to make those plays in critical moments. And of course he’s a great runner, he’s a thrower, he’s got all those things. You see maturity and experience.”

In addition to trouble stopping the run, the Aggies have struggled with protecting the quarterback. Arkansas leads the country in sacks. Expect the Hogs try to put extensive pressure on Johnson.

The game will be televised on ESPN with kickoff set for 6 p.m.