FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas ended its frustration in emphatic fashion earlier this month, snapping a 10-game losing streak with a 73-7 win against Nicholls State.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas ended its frustration in emphatic fashion earlier this month, snapping a 10-game losing streak with a 73-7 win against Nicholls State.


One week later, the Razorbacks put a stop to their eight-game road losing streak at and grabbed its first win against a power conference opponent under coach Bret Bielema at Texas Tech. Then came the feel-good romp of Northern Illinois.


It’s safe to say September has been a month full of progress for Bielema’s Razorbacks, who have started to climb back into college football’s spotlight after three straight wins. But there’s still an important hurdle left for the Razorbacks’ road to respectability, one that can be taken care of in Arlington, Texas, today.


"It’s SEC play. It’s time to make plays," Arkansas safety Rohan Gaines said. "As far as the SEC losing streak, that would be a big thing to get off our record."


Arkansas (3-1, 0-1 in SEC) will try to bury a 13-game conference losing streak and make another big impression when it plays No. 6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 in SEC) in AT&T Stadium at 2:30 p.m. The Southwest Classic is back in the Metroplex after a two-year hiatus and the Hogs, who are undefeated there, are hoping the reunion produces the program’s first SEC win since beating Kentucky on Oct. 13, 2012.


It won’t come easy against an opponent that has established itself as an early-season SEC title contender largely because of its opening-day destruction of South Carolina.


But Arkansas linebacker Martrell Spaight said the Razorbacks plan to make the most of their time in the spotlight against Texas A&M.


"We’ve got an opportunity to go in and show the world we’re a great team and that all our hard work is going to pay off," Spaight said. "This game is pretty big for us."


Bielema said his team has reached the moment — a chance for a breakthrough performance by clinging to the mantra he has recited over and over since his arrival. Arkansas must earn everything it gets on and off the field.


Their ability to accomplish it has generated plenty of national publicity this week.


But the fact remains: Arkansas is the only unranked SEC West team. Bielema doesn’t like that tag, but has challenged the Razorbacks to go out and earn it.


"We’ve made progress, we’ve done certain things better," Bielema said. "I think, without a doubt, our guys have a lot more confidence than they maybe had a year ago. But until you’ve done it on a big stage and against a quality opponent like we’re going to see Saturday, it’s really just talk."


There’s little doubt Arkansas will join the list of ranked SEC West teams if it can pull off an upset in today’s game, which features two of the nation’s best offenses. And two contrasting styles that will try to seize control in an intriguing matchup.


Texas A&M is second in the nation in scoring (55.2) and total offense (612.5 yards) behind the strength of an up-tempo passing attack that has been guided to near perfection by sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill. The Aggies stunned South Carolina with a 52-point performance and have topped 600 yards in three games.


"Our defense is working hard all week to slow them down," Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen said. "You know they have a high-powered offense, but our defense is coming along. They’re improving greatly. I have confidence in them to hold them. It’s our job as an offense just to score more points than they do."


The Razorbacks are third in the nation in scoring offense (48.8 points a game), relying on a powerful ground game that is seventh in the NCAA (324.5 yards). Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, whose team tuned up for Arkansas by outscoring Lamar, Rice and SMU 169-19 the past three weeks, said the Aggies will be tested today.


"I said last week that we will figure out where we are and a little bit more about our team, know a lot more about our team by Saturday night because they are going to challenge us as they are going to challenge every team," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "They are very, very good with what they do."


Arkansas’ formula for success today is clear. The Razorbacks want to control the clock and produce points with its ground game and play-action passing.


The plan worked very well at Texas Tech, which stands as the program’s best win in the past three seasons. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said avoiding costly turnovers and other mistakes will be key to grabbing another big victory.


"We have to hold on to the ball," Chaney said. "We can’t give them another possession. We have to secure the football, without any question. When we get it, we have to score as often as we possibly can and be as efficient as we possibly can doing what we do. And hopefully we’ll be able to do that."


The defense, meanwhile, will face its biggest challenge since the Auburn loss.


Arkansas has gained confidence with its performances the past two weeks, but defensive coordinator Robb Smith said the Aggies have been impressive. He said the Razorbacks must make sure Texas A&M earns everything it gets today.


"We’ve got to make them drive the field," Smith said. "We’ve got to limit big plays, we’ve got to tackle in space. And then find a way to create some takeaways and give our offense an extra possession or two.


"If we can do those things, I think we’ll like the results come Sunday morning."


In addition to its SEC losing streak, the Razorbacks also carry a 10-game losing streak against ranked opponents to Arlington. Arkansas’ last victory came in the 29-16 win against Kansas State in the 2012 Cotton Bowl in Arlington.


That win, which was the final under former coach Bobby Petrino, ran Arkansas’ record to 4-0 in the billion-dollar stadium built by Dallas Cowboys owner and former Razorback Jerry Jones. The previous wins came in nonconference wins against Texas A&M in 2009, 2010 and 2011.


Another win would end Arkansas’ long struggles against conference opponents.


And it would be another significant step in the Razorbacks’ revival under Bielema.


"This year we’ve earned a few things by what we did during the course of the week to give us a chance to have success on Saturday," Bielema said. "I’m excited to see where it’s going to play out against A&M to see exactly how far we’ve come."