COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- What a difference a year makes.
Around this time a year ago, Texas A&M wasn't feeling very good about itself. The Aggies, a preseason top-10 team in 2011, were sitting at 2-2 after relinquishing an 18-point halftime lead that resulted in a loss to Arkansas at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
This year, with new everything -- coaches, players, schemes and a conference -- the Aggies took a 17-point lead into the locker room at halftime and things finished much differently. Texas A&M kept its foot on the gas and rolled to a dominating 58-10 win against the struggling Razorbacks for its first SEC victory.
If the early season signs are any indication, this is a new brand of Texas A&M football.
"We got the monkey off our back today," Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said. "Everybody's talking about what happens to us in the second half. These guys were determined all week to play. Our players and coaching staff did a nice job."
There wasn't discussion of last year's second-half collapse amongst the Aggies (3-1, 1-1 SEC). While it should be noted that this, too, is a much different Razorbacks (1-4, 0-2) squad that is watching its season unravel before everyone's eyes, the strides that the Aggies made on Saturday are significant.
These teams met each of the past three seasons, and the Aggies were on the wrong end of it all three times. Led by a determined senior class and a wunderkind quarterback in Johnny Manziel, the Aggies weren't about to let history repeat itself.
"We've been talking about that all summer," senior linebacker Sean Porter said. "We talked about just coming out and finishing, coming out in the second half and continuing to play the way we've been playing. If we just play our game -- it's all about us -- I think we can compete with anybody."