ARLINGTON, Texas — Arkansas guard Denver Kirkland sat on the 15-yard line looking around AT&T Stadium in disbelief Saturday.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Arkansas guard Denver Kirkland sat on the 15-yard line looking around AT&T Stadium in disbelief Saturday.


Running back Alex Collins, with his helmet still buckled and the football resting in his hands after the final play, stood right next to his teammate.


Both played a big role in helping Arkansas build a surprising lead against sixth-ranked Texas A&M in the Southwest Classic’s return to Arlington. But they were on the field, too, for the bitter end of what turned into a 35-28 overtime loss in front of an announced crowd of 68,113 in AT&T Stadium.


The Razorbacks (3-2, 0-2 in SEC) were minutes away from walking off with their first conference win in nearly two years, but made countless mistakes that turned a 28-14 lead into a gut-wrenching loss Saturday. Arkansas left the door open for Texas A&M (5-0, 2-0) and quarterback Kenny Hill responded, throwing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to tie the game, then a 25-yard toss to Malcome Kennedy on the first play of overtime that ended up being the winning score.


It was Texas A&M’s first win against Arkansas in Arlington. It also became Arkansas’ 14th straight SEC loss and the program’s first in AT&T Stadium.


"We talk about all the time, it’s handling adversity," Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen said. "Adversity struck (Saturday) and we weren’t able to come back from it."


It was especially painful Saturday because Arkansas’ blueprint for success was going as planned against an SEC opponent for three quarters.


The Razorbacks weren’t perfect, but had done enough against Texas A&M with a bruising ground game led by Collins (131 yards and a touchdown) and Williams (95 yards and a touchdown). Arkansas got a big play on special teams for the second straight week, taking the lead when Sam Irwin-Hill turned a fake punt into a 51-yard touchdown late in the first half. And the defense was impressive, holding down a high-powered offense that averaged 612.5 yards and 55.2 points entering the game.


But Arkansas’ collapse began when Williams broke off a 57-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter, winding his way down to Texas A&M’s 1-yard line. The impressive run — which had the Razorbacks on the verge of stretching their lead to 35-14 — was wiped out by a tripping penalty on left tackle Dan Skipper.


"We talk all the time about earning everything," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "We earned the penalty. And that took a potential scoring play off the board for us."


Said Allen: "Any time you get those big plays called back on something you’re doing to yourself, it’s tough to win ballgames like that."


Arkansas would soon find out because its success came to a screeching halt.


Hill and the Aggies struck quickly. Receiver Edward Pope slipped behind the Arkansas secondary and pulled in an 86-yard touchdown pass to give Texas A&M some much-needed life. Texas A&M’s defense followed through, too, forcing Arkansas to punt on its next two possessions to keep the score at 28-21.


"We always knew that we had a chance to come back in the game," Texas A&M offensive lineman Mike Matthews said. "But that was kind of the kick start. That was the touchdown that we needed, kind of bring the momentum back on our side."


The Razorbacks still had a chance to put the Aggies away when they got the ball back with 5:27 remaining. Williams started the drive with 12- and 17-yard runs. Collins added a 17-yard run on the next play to move to the Texas A&M 31.


But then another mistake proved costly. Allen fumbled a snap from center Frank Ragnow. He recovered the loose ball, but Arkansas’ progress ended.


The Razorbacks eventually had to settle for a 43-yard field goal attempt from place kicker John Henson. The senior, whose longest field goal this season is 22 yards, couldn’t give Arkansas a 10-point lead. He pushed the kick wide left.


"When you’ve got your foot on somebody’s throat, keep it on it," Bielema said about the missed opportunities. "I think we need to have that killer mentality to put that thing away. To find a way to get it done, whether it’s a first down or a scoring drive or a third-down stop or an execution in the fourth quarter on a third-down call."


Arkansas couldn’t and Texas A&M struck again. Hill completed a 14-yard pass to Ricky Seals-Jones to start the game-tying drive. Then he found Josh Reynolds running free and the receiver pulled in a 59-yard catch that tied the game.


"We know we can score like that," Kennedy said of Texas A&M’s late rally. "Gasoline to a fire. We can explode just like that. So we just waited for the moment. We were confident in ourselves. We practice this. We do this."


The Aggies got the ball first in overtime and Hill found another receiver open. This time, Kennedy’s 25-yard catch gave Texas A&M its first lead since the first quarter.


Texas A&M’s defense made sure it stood. Arkansas couldn’t move the ball against the Aggies in overtime and faced fourth-and-1 from the 16. Collins was stuffed on the play, kicking off Texas A&M’s celebration on the field.


Arkansas, which also had a touchdown pass from Allen to Hunter Henry wiped out by a holding penalty on Skipper in the first half, will look back at self-inflicted wounds. The Razorbacks committed a season-high eight penalties, missed a field goal and lost a fumble in the first half on quarterback-center exchange.


The defense — which was sound against Hill and the Aggies most of the game — surrendered 179 passing yards in the fourth quarter. It included the big-play scores. Texas A&M finished with 523 yards and 386 of them came through the air.


"We feel like we let one go," said Arkansas tight end A.J. Derby, whose 44-yard touchdown catch gave the Hogs a 28-14 lead. "Obviously, that is a really good football team. … We had it right where we wanted it, but we let it go in the end."


Arkansas will have to deal with the consequences for two weeks. Bielema and the Razorbacks move into their first bye week with plenty to ponder after blowing what was close to becoming another key moment in Arkansas’ road to redemption.


It could’ve been the program’s first win against a ranked team since the 2012 Cotton Bowl victory against Kansas State. It could’ve been the first against a top 10 team since beating South Carolina in 2011. It could’ve been the victory that propelled the Hogs — who are the only SEC West team not ranked — into the Top 25.


Instead, Arkansas now holds the SEC’s longest active losing streak after Kentucky’s win against Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon. And ending the slide won’t get any easier. The Razorbacks face third-ranked Alabama in two weeks.


"A lot of broken hearts," Bielema said. "The good thing is these hearts can be mended if they’re handled the right way and treated the right way. I let our kids know I love them to death, but there’s going to be some things that they’ve got to hone into at home to make a positive out of a very negative situation here."