Why is this victory over the Vols so sweet? Probably because of 71 and 98!! jh85

 
Above is a picture from my camera at the game.

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams runs back a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011.  (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams runs back a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Arkansas wide receiver Joe Adams breaks tackles to return a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Nov. 12, 2011. UT lost the game 49-7. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo

I have wondered why this victory meant over Tennessee meant so much to our Razorback Nation. I guess the answer is simply that we have lost so many close heartbreaking games to the Vols over the years and the 1971 and 1998 games come to mind.

Back in 1998 our football Razorbacks had the best start in my many years. We were undefeated and ranked #8 nationally in the polls when we traveled to Knoxville to take on the undefeated and #1 ranked Vols. With 2 minutes in the game we held the lead 24 to 21 and we had the ball. All night long my 12 year old son Rett had been excited for two reasons. First, he knew we would have a chance for a national championship if we won the next few games. Second, many of his cousins were Tennessee fans.

 With the game almost over, I finally allowed Rett to call his Uncle Robert. I heard Rett leave this message on Robert’s phone, “Uncle Robert look at the scoreboard!!! How do you like that score?” The moment I heard the phone hang up, I saw Clint Stoerner fumble the ball away to Tennessee. 

Needless to say, that night Rett got a call from Uncle Robert who wanted to answer Rett’s question concerning what the score was. (Razorbacks lost 28 to 24.) Actually Robert had left Neyland Stadium before the fumble, and he had to listen to the remainder of the game on the radio.

I have wondered why this victory meant over Tennessee meant so much to our Razorback Nation. I guess the answer is simply that we have lost so many close heartbreaking games to the Vols over the years and the 1971 and 1998 games come to mind.

Back in 1998 our football Razorbacks had the best start in my many years. We were undefeated and ranked #8 nationally in the polls when we traveled to Knoxville to take on the undefeated and #1 ranked Vols. With 2 minutes in the game we held the lead 24 to 21 and we had the ball. All night long my 12 year old son Rett had been excited for two reasons. First, he knew we would have a chance for a national championship if we won the next few games. Second, many of his cousins were Tennessee fans.

 With the game almost over, I finally allowed Rett to call his Uncle Robert. I heard Rett leave this message on Robert’s phone, “Uncle Robert look at the scoreboard!!! How do you like that score?” The moment I heard the phone hang up, I saw Clint Stoerner fumble the ball away to Tennessee. 

Needless to say, that night Rett got a call from Uncle Robert who wanted to answer Rett’s question concerning what the score was. (Razorbacks lost 28 to 24.) Actually Robert had left Neyland Stadium before the fumble, and he had to listen to the remainder of the game on the radio.

I attended the Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting last year when Phillip Fulmer spoke. He was asked about the famous fumble in the 1971 Liberty bowl and he responded with what he did and he motioned with his hand pointing the direction that UT was heading that night. That is so funny because that is exactly what happened. Look at this clip from the writer Tom Mattingly:

 In the 1971 Liberty Bowl, Arkansas had the ball late in the game leading 13-7, when there was a fumble in front of the Vol bench. Players on both sides fought for the ball, with everybody on the Tennessee sideline giving the signal for a Tennessee possession. pointing en masse to the Arkansas goal.

There’s no telling what happened in the pile that night in Memphis, but Carl Witherspoon came up with the pigskin somehow, or at least the officials said he did, and Tennessee went in for the winning score. Arkansas partisans thought they got hosed twice that game, the other call coming for holding on a field-goal attempt. They remember that game to this day, nearly 40 years later.

The Arkansas fans I talked to actually said it was a Razorback that handed the ball to the ref that night. Fulmer went on to say that we he the happiest man in the stadium that night because he was guilty of an unsportsmanlike penalty because he had one of teeth knocked out that game and he went to the sideline and even though he was bleeding the trainer put some gauges in his mouth and said get back in there. Then he went looking for that guy who hit him in the mouth and got the penalty and it happened to come on a big run, so he was the goat for that game unless they pulled it out. Which he was very glad that they did.

___________________________

No wonder the Tennessee people did not want to review the film after this game:

The beatdown on the field was bad enough for Tennessee.

Derek Dooley wasn’t going to pile on in the film room.

Rather than rehash all the mistakes in every phase of the game that plagued his team in a 49-7 thrashing at No. 6 Arkansas on Saturday night, the Vols coach began the process of bouncing back from it without making his players relive it. And while they obviously have the option of watching the tape from last weekend on their own as the Vols prepare for Vanderbilt atNeyland Stadium on Saturday (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.), there might be a few copies in the Dumpster, instead.

“You just have to forget about it, throw away the film and look to have a good week of practice this week because we have a tough Vandy team coming in that is looking to upset us,” safety Prentiss Waggner said Monday. “We’re not going to watch the film on the game.

“In my opinion, we were bad in all phases of the game and we can’t really learn anything from it because it was just a bad day for the offense, defense and special teams.”

That much was evident on the scoreboard as the Vols (4-6, 0-6 SEC) missed opportunities all over the field against a team that rarely failed to take advantage of their own, and Dooley apparently didn’t need to remind anybody of his team of that as they turn the page to the Commodores (5-5, 2-5 SEC).

He indicated it wasn’t the first time in his career that he decided not to air the film of a loss the next day, but it wasn’t just the lopsided result that played into his call to scrap it Sunday.

“It didn’t look like us in so many respects,” Dooley said. “We’ve been coaching much of the same stuff for 10 weeks now, I just felt like it was better that we close the door on that game and sort of regroup, get our thoughts right going into this week.

“They watched it on their own if they wanted to, I’m sure they all did, they had their grade sheets, but there was no sense in going and beating on them another two hours because they got beat on pretty good.”

The Razorbacks aren’t the only ones to do that to UT this season, though even in blowouts against Alabama and LSU it had things to feel good about in losing efforts.

That doesn’t mean Dooley will only be focusing solely on the positives with the Vols as they move on, and he was again quick to point out some of the flaws they’ve had lately during his weekly news conference.

He just didn’t seem to need video evidence to deliver his message this time.

“I can understand where he’s coming from, because we did go out there and play horrendous,” defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. “Nobody did anything right, you can tell by the score, so it pretty much just would have been a session of cursing us out and stuff like that.

“Instead of doing that, we just said to forget about it. And that’s what we did.”

Moving On: The tradition of naming players of the week was skipped after the lopsided loss.

Dooley apparently wouldn’t have honored anybody else affiliated with the organization after getting crushed by the Razorbacks either.

“We didn’t have any (awards), we closed the book on it,” he said. “No coaches of the week, no player of the week, no managers of the week.

“The whole organization got no positive feedback from that game.”

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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