Texas A&M vs Arkansas Preview: 3 key matchups in SEC West showdown

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Sep 19, 2015; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman Myles Garrett (15) sacks Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback Tyler Stewart (15) during the first quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Myles Garrett vs. Arkansas Offensive Line

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett has been one of the best players in the nation through the first three games of the season. Garrett, who came to College Station as a five-star prospect in the 2014 recruiting class and made an immediate impact by setting a new SEC freshman record with 11.5 sacks last season, has been even better as a sophomore. In just three games, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound pass rusher has 5.5 sacks, which leads the nation.

While his production is easy to see, Garrett’s overall impact goes beyond the stat sheet. A speed rusher that is also capable of going through opposing tackles, Garrett receives a lot of attention from offensive coordinators, who try to neutralize him with extra blockers or by rolling the quarterback out to try to keep him out of harm’s way.

That often frees up other defenders to make plays. So far this season, Texas A&M has 15 sacks, including four by opposite defensive end Daeshon Hall. The Aggies set records for the Sumlin era with nine sacks and 14 tackles for loss in the 38-17 season opening victory over Arizona State, then recorded 16 TFLs last week against Nevada. Through three games, A&M has racked up 36 TFLs.

Garrett even changes the way opponents practice: on last week’s broadcast, SEC Network analyst Tom Hart noted that Nevada lined up its scout team defensive ends offsides in practice in trying to simulate Garrett’s speed off the edge. 

However, Garrett and the Aggies will be tested this week against an Arkansas offensive line that is considered to be one of the finest in the nation. At a combined weight of 327.6 pounds, the Razorbacks offensive line is also the biggest among all college and NFL offensive lines for the second straight season – 2.6 pounds heavier on average than the San Diego Chargers.

The unit has paved the way for 476.3 yards of offense per game this season and has yet to allow a sack despite relying heavily on the passing attack so far this season (31 passing attempts and 305 passing yards per game, to date).

Next: Texas A&M Receivers vs. Arkansas Secondary