Razorbacks blew a few games because of kicking

I was really upset at the Florida game in 2009 that we lost because we could not a field goal and the same could be said about the 3 rd overtime short 38 yard kick we missed that would have won the game against Tennessee in Knoxville in 2002. We ended up losing in 6 overtimes.

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8/23/2012 at 1:00pm

Arkansas kicker Alex Tejada helped the Razorbacks win the 2010 Liberty Bowl. But the inconsistency of Tejada and other Razorback kickers over the years were a source of great frustration for fans.
Image by Mark Wagner

Arkansas kicker Alex Tejada helped the Razorbacks win the 2010 Liberty Bowl. But the inconsistency of Tejada and other Razorback kickers over the years were a source of great frustration for fans.

This football season marks the 21st for the Razorbacks as members of the SEC. Having completed two decades in the league it seemed worth reflecting on how far the program has come. Which victories over the last 20 years were the sweetest? Were there losses that hurt more than others? What coaching decisions still have folks scratching their heads? ArkansasSports360.com assembled a panel aimed at answering these questions. We have our list and we’d love to hear yours.

No. 6 on our moments you would love to forget …

SHAKY KICKING

When it happened: 2002-2009

Who we remember: Alex Tejada, Brendan O’Donohoe.

Why we’d like to forget: Arkansas has had an amazing run of clutch kickers over the years, starting with Tom McNelly winning the Texas game in Austin in 1960, a program-changing victory for Frank Broyles. Bob White, Bill McClard, Steve Little, Ish Ordonez, Bruce Lahay, Kendall Trainor and Todd Wright all became household names to Razorback fans for making the extra point and field goal “automatic.”

So it was that Hog fans and UA coaches were yanking their hair out in the 2000s when games were lost on the foot of such highly recruited kickers as El Dorado’s Brendan O’Donohoe and Springdale’s Alex Tejada.

Houston Nutt could find a walk-on like Todd Latourette, Chris Balserio or David Carlton to rescue the kicking game during his 10-year run, and it was rare he would offer a high school kicker a scholarship until O’Donohoe came along out of El Dorado.

But Nutt was almost past the frustration point with his kicker when O’Donohoe was called on to end the Tennessee game in the third overtime in Knoxville in 2002. From 34 yards away, he missed for the third time in the game, and Tennessee escaped with a victory in the sixth overtime.

Tejada was much heralded for his leg strength, but his direction left lots to be desired, especially with Bobby Petrino in 2008-09. A missed field at Kentucky in ’08 would have provided the Hogs with the winning margin there, and Tejada badly blew a 47-yarder at the end of regulation in a 31-28 loss at Mississippi State. In 2009, Tejada failed both at Florida in a game the Hogs lost 23-20 and in overtime at LSU in a 33-30 defeat.

Providence yet shined on Tejada: He delivered the winner in overtime to beat East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2, 2010. Then he gave way in the 2010 season to Russellville product Zach Hocker, who has had an amazing run of success for two seasons.

Up Next: October unkind to Razorbacks …

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