My son Hunter and I got to hear Matt Jones speak on 9-10-12 at the Little Rock Touchdown Club. When asked about what to do when you are up against a wall like this team is, he responded that he remembers how it felt to lose in the 6 overtime game in Knoxville and to drop to 1-3 in the SEC. However, they regrouped and put together an amazing run to win the SEC West that year with a great comeback against top 10 LSU and Nick Sabin. Here is the story from Arkansas Sports 360.
9/10/2012 at 3:00pm
Matt Jones may be the most enigmatic Arkansas Razorback football player of modern times and he made some of the biggest plays in Hog history. And he obviously still captures the fans’ imagination. The Embassy Suites ballroom wasn’t ready to handle all of the overflow crowd on hand to catch Jones’ visit with the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday.
No doubt, though, many of the club’s membership also wanted to hear what Jones and club president David Bazzel had to say about previously No. 8-ranked Arkansas’ stunning loss Saturday to Sun Belt Conference member Louisiana-Monroe 34-31 in overtime.
Jones told the crowd the closest he could relate to a heart-wrenching loss and having to immediately regroup was the 2002 six-overtime loss at Tennessee. That loss dropped Arkansas to 1-3 in the SEC, but the Razorbacks came back the very next week for a surprising upset at Auburn, finished the year on a roll and won their way into the SEC Championship Game with the “Miracle on Markham” 21-20 win over LSU.
Of course, this 1-1 Razorback team, now out of the national polls, must take on No. 1 Alabama in Fayetteville on Saturday.
“I know Louisiana-Monroe isn’t Tennessee, but what I would tell the players is, don’t give up, don’t lose hope. Put up a fight. Don’t forget the off-season and all you put into it, the blood, sweat and tears. Keep giving it all you’ve got,” Jones said.
MADE FOR QUARTERBACK: Jones said the transition from college quarterback to NFL receiver was his most difficult task as an athlete, but he finished on a good note at Jacksonville with the Jaguars, catching 67 passes in 2009 before being released the next year.
He said he had hoped to catch on with another NFL team and, at the end, had to choose between tryouts with Cincinnati and Tennessee. “Did I want to catch passes from Carson Palmer in Cincinnati or Vince Young in Tennessee,” he said. The choice was the Titans, but Jones did not catch on there. “I guess I made the wrong decision.”
But who knows what Jones could have done as a professional quarterback, if given the chance, had he not suffered a torn labrum in college that cut his passing distance, he said, from 75 yards as a freshman to 55 yards by the time he finished. He recorded an electronically timed 4.37 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Everyone can still recall how, as a freshman, he outdueled Ole Miss’ Eli Manning in 2001 in what was then the longest overtime game in NCAA history.
“I’m a quarterback at heart,” he said.
Jones, surely one of the best athletes this state has produced in the past century, also imagined at one time playing basketball professionally. “I think I could have had a pretty good career playing in Europe. In the NBA, I don’t know. I’m 6-6 and I played a “four” [power forward position] in college. But had I played a full season after I had finished playing college football, who knows?”
Now, Jones said, he’s working on his golf game and has gotten his handicap down to about a 6.
TV AND RADIO: Jones and his wife, Carolyn, have settled in Central Arkansas, where Jones has landed a couple of gigs talking football.
He’s on every Tuesday night with former Razorback quarterback Clint Stoener and Bazzel, who was a Razorback linebacker in the 1980s, on the Arkansas Sports Nation (KARZ, Channel 42, carried on Channels 9 and 436 via Comcast) at 10:30.
On Wednesdays, he rejoins Bazzel with Tommy Smith and Roger Scott on KABZ-FM 103.7 The Buzz’s “The Show With No Name,” which runs 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
No doubt both shows should be animated with insider talk about the Hogs’ upset loss and their chances for their own upset of ‘Bama this week.
DOWN MEMORY LANE: Bazzel arranged for several clips to be aired Monday featuring late Voice of the Razorbacks Paul Eells calling plays that highlighted Jones, including the “Miracle on Markham” pass to Decori Birmingham on 2002.
“That day, I was playing one of my worst games,” Jones said. “I had only completed one or two passes and two times the ball had slipped out of my hands. It was my worst game with the best ending.”
Jones completed 2 of 3 passes on an 80-yard drive in the final 40 seconds to win the game. LSU had kicked a field goal moments earlier to take a 20-14 lead. The Hogs had trailed 17-7 halfway through the fourth quarter.
“Two plays nobody ever talks about,” Jones said about that game, “On one, Fred Talley’s touchdown run of about 60 yards. He broke about 13 tackles on that play, and I didn’t think you could play with more than 11 on defense. It’s one of my favorite runs of all time. The other, LSU had a third-and-3 and Tony Bua blltzed. He wasn’t supposed to blitz but he did and he stopped them for no gain and they had to kick a field goal, and that gave us a chance to get the ball back and win.”
Of course, Jones was incredible in a 2003 upset at Texas, a 38-28 Hog win, as well as a big comeback that same season at Alabama that resulted in a 34-31 double overtime win.
“That was a great team,” he said of the 2003 Razorbacks. “We just had a couple of untimely deals that cost us two games,” referring to a helmet-to-helmet penalty call on Tony Bua in the waning minutes when Arkansas was in a furious rally to overtake Florida, as well as what Jones called a “phantom” holding call a week earlier against Auburn that wiped out his 80-yard touchdown that would have tied that game in the fourth quarter.
Those 2003 Hogs finished 9-4 with an Independence Bowl win over Missouri, 27-13.
Jones wrapped up his career with a Senior Day spectacular, a 70-yard run around end against Ole Miss that he capped by dunking the football over the crossbar.
I got to hear Howard Schnellenberger speak on Sept 4, 2012 at the Little Rock Touchdown Club. I did not know that he played football for the University of Kentucky. In fact, just last year Kentucky ended a long losing streak to Tennessee by winning in Lexington. Schnellenberger was responsible for catching the winning touchdown [...]
I got to hear Howard Schnellenberger speak at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Tuesday Sept 4, 2012. Schnellenberger was good at building programs. Ex-coach enjoyed building programs By Jeff Halpern Posted: September 5, 2012 at 5:10 a.m. Staton Breidenthal Howard Schnellenberger speaks Tuesday at the Little Rock Touchdown Club. LITTLE ROCK — Howard Schnellenberger [...]
I got to hear Howard Schnellenberger talk on Sept 4, 2012 at the Little Rock Touchdown Club. Schnellenberger said that Bear Bryant had the greatest ability to both instruct a player with criticism but then build him up also. He made a point of making sure he did both during a practice. Under Schnellenburger direction [...]
I got to hear Howard Schnellenberger speak on 9-4-12 at the Little Rock Touchdown Club. I enjoyed hearing his stories about Bear Bryant and what he learned from the Bear. Here is a story by Jim Harris that discusses these too things. Jim Harris: Spirit Of Arkansan Bear Bryant Runs Through Schnellenberger’s Veins <!– 23 [...]
Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) reaches for a catch under pressure from North Carolina State defensive back Juston Burris (11) during the Chick-Fil-A Kick Off Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. Tennessee won the game 35-21. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL STAFF) ____________ Tennessee [...]
1972 USC Football Highlights vs. Notre Dame Uploaded by 63utuber on Jun 14, 2011 No description available. I got to hear Coach Robinson speak in Little Rock on August 27, 2012. Little Rock Touchdown Club Week 2: Hall Of Fame Coach John Robinson by Zack Veddern on Aug 28, 2012 9:07 AM CDT robinson [...]
1972 USC Football Highlights vs. Notre Dame Uploaded by 63utuber on Jun 14, 2011 No description available. ________- Hearing John Robinson at the Little Rock Touchdown Club was very enjoyable. Earlier I posted about asking him the question: “Do you remember John McKay’s halftime speech at the 1974 Notre Dame at USC game?” Did you know that [...]
John Robinson of USC should have an opinion, but no one asked him on August 27, 2012 when he spoke to the Little Rock Touchdown Club. Wikipedia reports USC’s results that year: The 1978 USC Trojans football team represented the University of Southern California in the 1978 NCAA Division I-A football season. Following the season, the [...]
USC vs. Tennessee 1980 Uploaded by yankeefanintenn on Jan 5, 2011 Hate that we lost, but I love watching games from this era. Fans were really into the games and it was a great game. All video footage is copyright of the University of Tennessee, but legally reproduced here in conjunction with Fair Use laws. [...]
2005 USC Trojans vs Arkansas Part 1 (Rewind) Uploaded by NHBI007 on Oct 13, 2008 2005 USC Trojans vs Arkansas __________ I really enjoyed Robinson talk on 8-27-12. Robinson talks past UA, USC matchups JEFF HALPERN Former football coach John Robinson was 3-2 in his career at Southern California and UNLV against the Arkansas Razorbacks. [...]
On August 27, 2012 I got to hear John Robinson speak at the the Little Rock Touchdown Club and he was a great speaker. Jim Harris: Former Southern Cal Coach John Robinson Wins In Little Rock <!– 23 –> by Jim Harris 8/27/2012 at 1:59pm College Football Hall of Fame coach John Robinson recalled some [...]
2006 USC Trojans vs Arkansas Part 1 Uploaded by NHBI007 on Mar 29, 2009 2006 USC Trojans vs Arkansas Today John Robinson told some funny stories at the Little Rock Touchdown Club and some interesting trivia facts. Did you know that USC won several national titles under John McKay with Frank Broyles defensive [...]
USC-ND ’74 – The Anthony Davis Game Uploaded by sckego on Aug 6, 2006 Notre Dame was killing USC 24-0 with a minute left in first half of the 1974 game in Los Angeles. Anthony Davis caught a TD pass to close out the half, then returned the 2nd half kickoff for a touchdown, and [...]
I always enjoy the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting and August 20th was better than I expected. Mark May did a great job. I thought his answer concerning Tennessee being a sleeper team was an excellent description of them. I have not heard many commentators talking about the Vols challenging for the SEC East conference [...]
Too bad for Ohio State they had to forfeit the Sugar Bowl victory in 2011. I got to hear Mark May speak at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on August 20, 2012 and he did a great job. May sees hurdles for Hogs in SEC By Jeremy Muck Tuesday, August 21, 2012 LITTLE ROCK — [...]
In the last 5 minutes of this video you can see some key plays from the 1971 Liberty Bowl and it shows Tom Reed recovering the ball for the hogs. There are lots of questionable calls in the past and at the bottom of this post you will find a fine article from Arkansas Sports [...]
I went to hear Mark May speak at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on August 20, 2012 and he did a great job of giving some insights into the Penn St case and he also looked into the SEC race this year. I do think that May has some good insights and I think his [...]
Wally Hall wrote a fine article on the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting yesterday that I got to attend. It was moving when Mark May got choked up responding to a question about the Penn St scandal. Wally refers to that. LIKE IT IS: ESPN analyst starts LRTC talks with bang Tuesday, August 21, 2012 [...]
Reggie Herring is featured in this video above about the 1980 Florida St victory over Pitt. Mark May did a great job at the first Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting of the year. Jim Harris of Arkansas Sports 360 did a good article on it and I agree with what Wally Hall wrote on his [...]