ARLINGTON, Texas — Arkansas appeared to be on its way to a three-touchdown lead over No. 6 Texas A&M when Jonathan Williams ran 55 yards to the Aggies 3 in the fourth quarter.
The Razorbacks were so close to ending a nearly two-year stretch of futility in Southeastern Conference games. But a tripping penalty against left tackle Dan Skipper wiped out the big run.
Arkansas punted and an 86-yard touchdown pass for Texas A&M sparked an impressive comeback by the Aggies in a 35-28 overtime win Saturday.
"A lot of things that caused us to lose this game today came from within our locker room," Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema said. "Our third edge we talk about is playing clean, and that means playing penalty-free. ... The good news is we can correct those things. Our guys did several things throughout the course of the game to get excited about. But obviously, not enough to close it."
After throwing two long touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, Kenny Hill hit Malcome Kennedy for a 25-yard score on the first play of overtime and Julien Obioha made the game-ending defensive stop. He stuffed Alex Collins, who finished with 131 yards rushing, for no gain on fourth-and-1 to end the overtime possession for the Razorbacks (3-2, 0-2).
Arkansas, the only unranked team in the SEC West, has lost 14 consecutive conference games. Its last SEC victory was a 49-7 win against Kentucky on Oct. 13, 2012.
"We talk about handling adversity, and adversity struck today," quarterback Brandon Allen said. "We weren't able to come back from it."
Skipper also had a holding penalty in the second quarter that wiped out a touchdown pass, also leading to a punt. But the Aggies missed a field goal that time, and the Razorbacks led 21-14 at halftime after Australian punter Sam Irwin-Hill ran 51 yards for a tiebreaking touchdown on a fake punt.
Williams had 95 yards on 18 carries, including a 9-yard TD on Arkansas' first possession, a nice response after the Aggies scored only 65 seconds into the game.
The Aggies (5-0, 2-0) trailed 28-14 before Hill hit Edward Pope for the 86-yard pass when defensive back Jared Collins fell down and left the receiver running all alone. Hill then found Josh Reynolds for a tying 59-yard TD with 2:08 left, only two plays after Arkansas missed a field goal.
Texas A&M had a chance to end the game in regulation, getting the ball back with 1:18 left and no timeouts. Kennedy's 13-yard catch provided a quick first down, but the Aggies let the clock run out when facing fourth-and-13 short of midfield — before Kennedy caught the quick strike in overtime.
"In order to win a game like that, it takes a complete team. Every phase had its poor moments in the first half. Offensively, we were a beat off. Defensively, we gave up some big plays, and special teams, we gave up a fake," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "Our defense stopped them not just in overtime, but on the last couple series."
Johnny Manziel was on hand with the NFL's Cleveland Browns on a bye week, and the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner got to see his Aggies improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2001. He also provided plenty of encouragement for Hill, who was 21 for 41 for 386 yards and four touchdowns.
"Right after the game he was saying, 'Great game! I love you, bro,'" Hill said.
Allen was 15-of-27 passing for 199 yards, including his 44-yard TD to wide-open AJ Derby after the quarterback faked a handoff, and then briefly held the ball to his side before throwing downfield for a 28-14 lead with 5 minutes left in the third.
Texas A&M then punted, and the Razorbacks thought they had a big play before the second huge penalty against Skipper on the backside of the play.
"I let him know on the sideline that you earn everything that you do. Unfortunately, it's a life lesson he's got to go through," Bielema said. "It's a life lesson that we've all got to endure. That play didn't lose the game for us, but it's part of the process."