Houston Nutt at Little Rock Touchdown Club Part 1


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On 9-23-13 I got to hear Houston Nutt speak at the Little Rock Touchdown Club and he pointed out that one of the most proud accomplishments of his Arkansas Coaching span was a great record in overtime games. You got to respect a lot of the results that Houston Nutt got while he was the Hog football coach. He won or tied for the SEC West 3 out of 10 years and he had us in the national title conversation in 1998 and 2006 as late as Novemeber. (Petrino did the same  in 2011.)

However, Nutt was right that one of the most impressive things Nutt did is go 6-1 in overtime games. The only loss being to Tennessee. I was driving from Little Rock to Orlando that night and I caught it on the radio in the fourth quarter. Little did I realize that I would get to see the last two overtime periods on tv at the hotel with my relatives about 1 hour later. What was amazing to me was the horrible field goal kick that Tennessee made in the second overtime. It cleared the goal post about 3 inches. Then our kicker had a chance to win it in the 3rd overtime with a 38 yard kick and he missed that!!! Here are some of the details of the game from Sports Illustrated:

Working overtime

No. 10 Tennessee takes out Arkansas 41-38 in six OTs

Posted: Sunday October 06, 2002 12:35 AM
Updated: Sunday October 06, 2002 1:56 AM

Rashad Moore, Omari Hand Tennessee’s Rashad Moore (58) and Omari Hand (91) rest during a timeout in the sixth OT of the Vols’ 41-38 win. AP

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said a lack of discipline and youthful mistakes were keeping the No. 10 Volunteers from playing their best. He had nothing to complain about Saturday night.

Jason Witten caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clausen in the sixth overtime to give Tennessee (4-1, 1-1 SEC) an exhausting 41-38 win over Arkansas.

“This is the type of game that jells a football team. I am excited about the way we played,” he said. “We had the heart and the guts to take it to them.”

For the Razorbacks (2-2, 0-2), who beat Mississippi 58-57 in a record-setting seven-overtime game last season, it was a heart-wrenching loss.

They pushed into the final overtime but had to settle for a 47-yard field goal by David Carlton in the sixth OT before the Vols got their last chance.

“When it went into overtime, I said, ‘This is our game. We’re ready,”‘ Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. “This was bitter, bitter. There were a lot of times we outplayed them.”

The teams kicked field goals in the first two overtimes and were held scoreless in the third.

Arkansas finally scored a touchdown in the next OT, on Matt Jones’ run, but the Razorbacks couldn’t get the 2-point conversion. Under NCAA rules, teams must go for 2 points after touchdowns starting with the third overtime.

Tennessee scored a touchdown on Clausen’s 25-yard pass to Tony Brown, but the Vols also failed on the 2-point conversion.

Jabari Davis, who scored two TDs in regulation, ran from 12 yards out to start the fifth overtime. He fumbled, but the ball was recovered in the end zone by Troy Fleming. Clausen was then stopped on the conversion attempt. De’Arrius Howard scored a TD for Arkansas, whose pass attempt was intercepted by Tennessee’s Julian Battle at the goal line.

Arkansas scored two touchdowns in a 41/2-minute span of regulation to tie the game at 17 with 3:30 to go.

The Razorbacks trailed 17-3 after Davis scored on a 58-yard touchdown run a minute into the fourth quarter. Arkansas got the ball back, drove 60 yards and scored when Howard ran 10 yards.

The Vols were pushed back, penalized and had to punt on fourth-and-17.

Standing at his own 8, Jones passed to Richard Smith at the 40, and Smith ran down the sideline untouched to the end zone for a 92-yard touchdown to tie it.

“The coaches have told us never to quit, and we were down seven at our own 8, I kept thinking about that,” Jones said.

Clausen completed 19 of 28 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns.

Jones, who couldn’t find many open receivers, ran 21 times for 66 yards. Arkansas’ leading rusher, Cedric Cobbs, left the game in the third quarter with a twisted left ankle.

The Razorbacks, who have lost five straight games in Knoxville since 1992, continued to rely heavily on the run but couldn’t score a touchdown until Howard’s 10-yard run cut Tennessee’s lead to 17-10 with 6:56 remaining.

Tennessee came into the game averaging 129.5 yards on the ground — 10th out of 12 SEC teams — and was determined to improve despite its leading rusher, Cedric Houston, sitting out with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

The Vols pounded away at Arkansas’ defense with Davis, starting in place of Houston, carrying 25 times for 135 yards. Tennessee finished with 162 yards on 47 attempts.

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8/22/2012 at 1:00pm

Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones appeared too laid-back to some fans, but his stamina during septuple overtime games was hard to deny.
Image by University of Arkansas Athletics
Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones appeared too laid-back to some fans, but his stamina during septuple overtime games was hard to deny.

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. 8 on our moments you love to remember…

Going Overtime
When It Happened:
Nov. 3, 2001
Who We Remember: Matt Jones, Eli Manning, Jermaine Petty, Jason Peters, Houston Nutt and David Cutcliffe.
Why We Remember: An NCAA game had never before gone seven overtimes, and by the fifth one the fans for both sides in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (and maybe those watching on ESPN2) were wishing for someone, anyone, to win this Arkansas-Ole Miss matchup. Ole Miss was favored behind future Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning, but regulation play ended 17-all, and then it really got wild.

The night proved to be Matt Jones’ coming out party, with unbelievable runs and throws during the extra periods. Jones looked like former Ole Miss superstar Archie Manning in running around the Rebels for a 25-yard scoring run, and later he scrambled and somehow found tight end Jason Peters (now an NFL All-Pro tackle) for a key two-point conversion pass.

It was as if Jones was drawing up plays in the dirt, and Ole Miss’ defense had no answer. Of course, Arkansas’ defense was having its own difficult time keeping Eli Manning from reaching the end zone too.

Finally, Hog linebacker Jermaine Petty stopped a tying 2-point play and Arkansas had a 58-56 win, spurring them on to a 7-4 regular-season finish.

The game became an “Instant” ESPN Classic, and KATV, Channel 7, produced videos of the game that were in huge demand.

The game would spark Arkansas to a berth in the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma.

Jones and Arkansas would lose a six-OT game at Tennessee the next year and would win another seven-overtime game in 2003 over Kentucky and Jared Lorenzen, 71-63, but by then these games were old hat to Hog fans.

But maybe better than going seven overtimes was Nutt, fittingly, watching his Hogs use three OTs in dispatching eventual national champion LSU 50-48 in 2007 in the coach’s last game as Razorback coach. Darren McFadden and Peyton Hillis were especially dominant that day in Baton Rouge.

Nutt was an amazing 6-1 in overtime games as UA coach.

 

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