ARLINGTON, Texas -- Woo Pig Sooie is the traditional cheer among Arkansas fans.
Head coach Bobby Petrino is well aware of the saying, hearing it nearly everywhere he goes around the state. After watching his Razorbacks storm back from an 18-point halftime deficit to beat Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon, Petrino was searching for something, anything to say.
Not quite Woo but apt, as Arkansas came from behind to emphatically show Texas A&M what SEC teams are made of in a 42-38 win in the Southwest Classic at Cowboys Stadium.
"What a day's work -- and it took a full day's work to win that one," Petrino said. "We came in at halftime and talked a lot about competing, tackling better, running full speed to the ball.
"Basically I think we just came out and competed really hard."
Broderick Green is used to competing. He's no stranger to coming back either. He has done it over and over, year after year.
Highly recruited out of Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy, the four-star tailback stunned many on Signing Day in 2007 by spurning hometown Arkansas and committing to Southern California despite the presence of other highly touted running backs. After limited playing time thanks to injuries, he transferred to Arkansas following his redshirt freshman season. He returned mostly to be with his ailing grandmother, whose health had gotten progressively worse while he was in Los Angeles.
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He never could quite break through and establish himself as the lead back with the Razorbacks, but he turned in plenty of highlights like a 99-yard touchdown run in his first start with the team. He never complained, he just persevered and pushed forward. After suffering an ACL injury during spring practice, many had written him off this season.
The Arkansas Sports Information staff certainly did, writing in the media guide that he was expected to miss the entire 2011 season. But Green battled over the summer, working extensively with the training staff to return to practice three weeks ago.
In his first game back, he completed Arkansas' comeback with a 3-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter before sealing the game with a 10-yard run for a first down with less than a minute left. Who better to finish off the Razorbacks' rally than Mr. Comeback himself?
"I worked so hard over the summer from the course of my injury," Green said. "I prayed about the situation. I'm glad I had the chance to come back and help my team."
Right after Green powered into the end zone, as if on cue, several Razorbacks fans appeared on the stadium's giant jumbotron holding a sign:
"Welcome to the SEC"
In Texas A&M's first game since officially announcing they were changing conferences and leaving the Big 12, this was an emphatic welcome to the nation's best football league. To call it a collapse would be a kind term for their second-half performance. Even Red Sox fans watching at home had to be shaking their heads.
The Aggies rolled up 404 yards of offense before halftime and finished with 628 yards -- yet lost by four and scored only three points in the second half. The school has now lost six straight to SEC teams and hasn't beaten a team in the conference in 16 years.
"The bottom line is we didn't do enough in the second half to win the football game," head coach Mike Sherman said. "This is one game. This team is unique to this season and should be evaluated, good or bad, based on what it does."
What it does, as we have come to find out, is not close out. A 17-point lead at halftime last week against Oklahoma State: blown. And an 18-point lead against Arkansas: blown. At least this year's team has improved from getting blown out by LSU at the Cotton Bowl last year. The program hasn't been throwing up the traditional "Gig'em"; they have been throwing up a "Gag'em."
"I never felt it was out of our hands," said A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who completed 25 of 35 passes for 247 yards. "We just weren't converting third downs and getting into fourth-and-short and having to punt the ball."
Sherman can take credit for not icing the game on several critical fourth-and-shorts, opting to punt instead of relying on a ground game that featured Christine Michael rushing for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Backup Cyrus Gray topped the 100-yard mark and added two TDs.
"We definitely have to play better, coach better and be better in order to win football games," Sherman said. "Certainly that is a struggle for us at this point."
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, under siege from the A&M defensive front all game, threw for 510 yards and three touchdowns to set a school record. With wideout Greg Childs sidelined for most of the game, Wilson had no trouble finding someone to throw to. Senior Jarius Wright had 13 catches and set an Arkansas single-game record with 281 yards receiving, the second-highest single-game total in SEC history.
Wilson to Wright was 80 percent of the offense going into the locker room at the game's midpoint.
"I didn't even pay attention to [the records]," Wright said. "Everybody came up to me afterward and told me about it. I was just out there playing football."
A man amongst boys playing SEC football. When asked if Texas A&M had the size and the speed to play every week in the conference, Wright paused.
"No comment," he said, before turning away and flashing a slight smile.
Welcome to the SEC, Aggies, where comebacks are celebrated and collapses will be remembered.
Wow Pig Sooie, this one will for sure.