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The most significant game in Arkansas razorback football history?

Wally Hall actually said on his radio program on Nov 22, 2011 that the Arkansas v. LSU game on Nov 25, 2011 is the most significant game in razorback history. I have to respectfully disagree. I will agree that it is in the top 5, but I will start a  list today of other games that were more significant.

Today it is easy to make the case for the big shootout.

Here is the info from wikipedia:

1969 Texas vs. Arkansas football game

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The “Game of the Century”
(1969 version)
 
Texas Longhorns Arkansas Razorbacks
(9-0) (9-0)
15 14
Head coach: 
Darrell Royal
Head coach: 
Frank Broyles
AP   Coaches  
1   1  
AP   Coaches  
2   2  
  1 2 3 4 Total
Texas 0 0 0 15 15
Arkansas 7 0 7 0 14
 
Date December 6, 1969
Stadium Razorback Stadium
Location Fayetteville, Arkansas
Attendance 47,500[1]
United States TV coverage
Network ABC
Announcers Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson

The 1969 Texas vs. Arkansas football game, dubbed The Big Shootout and sometimes referred to as the “Game of The Century”, was a legendary college football game on December 6, 1969 in which the top-ranked Texas Longhorns visited the second-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Longhorns came back from a 14-0 deficit after three quarters to win 15-14. [2] They would go on to win the Cotton Bowl Classic and be selected National Champions. [3]

Contents

 [hide

[edit] Buildup

The relative parity which had existed within the Southwest Conference ended with the arrival of Darrell Royal and Frank Broyles at their respective schools, with either Texas or Arkansas winning or sharing the SWC crown 8 out of the 10 years leading up to the game. [1] Both Texas and Arkansas had won one national championship in the 1960s, and the schools developed a bit of a rivalry after Arkansas defeated in consecutive years top-ranked Texas teams in 1964 and 1965. [4] In 1968 Texas handed Arkansas their only loss of the year.

The 1969 season marked the 100th anniversary of college football. This game would decide the Southwest Conference Championship, as well as its berth in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and ABC television executive Beano Cook arranged for Texas and Arkansas to play the final game of the regular season, moving their usual October date to the first weekend in December. The deal ABC Sports executive Roone Arledge persuaded Arkansas coach Frank Broyles to move the game was a promise that President Richard Nixon would attend and that ABC would televise Arkansas the next season’s opener (against Stanford and its star quarterback, Jim Plunkett). Broyles even talked Arkansas officials into installing AstroTurf, then still a novelty, at Razorback Stadium. The game would kick off at Noon Central Standard Time since the stadium in Fayetteville did not have lights at the time. There were early discussions of moving the game to an evening start at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, where Arkansas played two or three home games per season, but ABC did not consider the lights at Little Rock to be sufficient.

For a long while, it looked as though the game would be a meeting of also-rans. Ohio State was dominating the Big Ten and the chances of the game being anything other than just the last game of the season were pretty remote. However, as the Longhorns took a Saturday off to prepare for their upcoming game on Thanksgiving Day with Texas A&M, Michigan and its upstart coach Bo Schembechler upset the Buckeyes. Texas vaulted to No. 1 in the polls and Arkansas claimed the No. 2 spot. Ultimately, due to good fortune, it worked as the move made the game the focus of the entire sporting world doing a television rating of a 52.1 share, meaning more than half the TV sets in the country were tuned to this game.

That set the stage. Even the day took on an eerie feeling. Billy Graham attended to give the pregame prayer. The night before, a steady, cold rain fell in Fayetteville and an icy fog hovered over the stadium as the crowd awaited the arrival of President Nixon, who would award a plaque symbolic of the National Championship to the winner. Due to the lack of a suitable airport in northwest Arkansas (Fayetteville’s Drake Field was far too small, and Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport would not open for another 30 years), Marine One landed on the practice fields just east of Razorback Stadium as the game was starting.

[edit] The game

In the 100th year of college football, it truly was the “Game of the Century.” In a game between unbeatens played at Arkansas’ Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, the Texas Longhorns were ranked Number 1 in the country, having won 18 straight games. The Arkansas Razorbacks were ranked Number 2, having won 15 straight. The Texas wishbone attack, then still a novelty, was an offensive juggernaut that averaged over 44 points per game coming into the contest. Arkansas led the nation in scoring defense, yielding only 6.8 points per game. In addition, both the Razorback offense and Texas defense were ranked in the top ten nationally.

 

The Longhorns got off to a sloppy start, losing a fumble on the second play from scrimmage and turning the ball over a total of six times. A 1-yard leap into the end zone by Bill Burnett in the first quarter and a 29-yard touchdown reception by Chuck Dicus in the third quarter put the Hogs up 14-0 with 15:00 to play.

James Street scrambled for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Longhorns coach Darrell Royal had decided before the game to go for a two-point conversion after the Longhorn’s first touchdown to avoid a tie, and Street dove into the end zone to make it 14-8.

Arkansas quarterback Bill Montgomery next led the Razorbacks on a 73-yard drive down to the Texas 7. On third down, Montgomery was intercepted in the end zone by Danny Lester, Arkansas’ first turnover of the game. A field goal would have likely put the game out of reach for Texas.

Still down 14-8, Texas began a desperate drive for the end zone that appeared to stall with 4:47 remaining when Royal opted for yet another gamble on fourth-and-3 from their own 43-yard line. During a timeout that Texas took before the fateful play, Royal shouted at Street, “Right 53 Veer pass.” The play was a deep pattern throw to the tight end. The play wasn’t in the Texas game plan package. “Are you sure that’s the call you want?” Street said. “Damn right I’m sure!” Royal snapped. Street had noticed Arkansas defenders looking into the Texas huddle, so he fixed his gaze on split end Cotton Speyrer while explaining the play to Randy Peschel, saying “Randy, I’m looking and pointing at Cotton, but I’m talking to you.” Street then hit Peschel on the dramatic play, with Peschel making a difficult catch over his shoulder in double coverage. It not only converted on fourth down, but also gained 44 yards, putting the Longhorns on the Razorbacks 13.

[2] Two plays later Jim Bertelsen ran in for the game-tying touchdown. Donnie Wigginton, the third-string quarterback who was the holder, made a big save on a high snap and Happy Feller booted the extra point for the winning score with 3:58 remaining.

Arkansas made a push into Texas territory, hoping for a field goal from All-American kicker Bill McClard. Arkansas was down to the Texas 40 when Tom Campell intercepted Montgomery on the Texas 21-yard line with less than a minute left.

[edit] Controversy

President Richard Nixon attended the game along with several members of his staff and U.S. Representatives George H.W. Bush of Texas and John Paul Hammerschmidt of Arkansas, having announced that he would give a plaque to the winner, proclaiming it to be the National Champion — to the chagrin of observers who thought it premature to do so before the New Year’s Day bowl games, and of fans of Penn State, which would also end the season undefeated. Arkansas took a 14-0 lead, and held it into the fourth quarter, but Texas came from behind to win, 15-14, and accepted Nixon’s plaque.

Texas beat Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and removed any doubt as to whether it deserved consideration as National Champion, although Penn State fans still insist that their team, also undefeated and winner of the Orange Bowl, was better. However, it is worth noting that the Cotton Bowl Classic first invited Penn State to play the Southwest Conference champions. The Nittany Lions declined the invitation, preferring to spend New Year’s Day in warm Miami, where they defeated Big Eight champion Missouri. This decision was made while Ohio State was still ranked #1 with only one game to play, so at the time, it did not appear that a national championship was likely to be at stake. The 1969 Texas-Penn State conflict, never settled on the field, has been one of the major arguments in favor of a Division I-A playoff. Arkansas lost the 1970 Sugar Bowl to Ole Miss, led by Archie Manning. The entire Texas-Penn State debate and Nixon’s involvement led to a quote from Penn State coach Joe Paterno, a conservative Republican, during a commencement speech at Penn State in 1974 about Nixon, “How could Nixon know so much about college football in 1969 and so little about Watergate in 1973?”

This game has been nicknamed “Dixie’s Last Stand,” since it was the last major American sporting event played between two all-white teams, although two schools in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), LSU and Ole Miss, did not integrate their varsity football squads until 1972.

With the Vietnam War still raging and Nixon in attendance, protestors came to the game, and one of them got into a tree overlooking the stadium and held up an antiwar sign. An urban legend grew up around this game, claiming that this protestor was Arkansas native and future President Bill Clinton. Clinton, however, was not at the game, as he was then a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in England, and was listening to the game on a shortwave radio with some American friends.

The two coaches in this game, Darrell Royal of Texas and Frank Broyles of Arkansas, both retired after the 1976 season. Both became athletic directors at their respective schools, Royal for the entire Texas athletic program and Broyles solely for the Arkansas men’s program, as Arkansas had a completely separate women’s athletic department from 1971 through 2007. Royal retired from his AD job in 1980, but Broyles continued on through 2007, with the men’s and women’s athletic programs merging immediately after his retirement. Broyles spearheaded Arkansas’ move from the SWC to the SEC in 1991, and was later instrumental in the Razorbacks and Longhorns playing a two-year series in 2003 (at Austin) won by Arkansas and 2004 (at Fayetteville) won by Texas. The last meeting was in 2008 in Austin won by Texas 52-10. Texas holds a 56-21-0 (72%) lead in the all-time series between the schools. They are scheduled to play again in Fayetteville in 2014.

Below is an article I got from ESPN that calls this Friday’s game the game of the century:

Originally Published: November 22, 2011

Arkansas-LSU, BCS future and more

Wojciechowski By Gene Wojciechowski
ESPN.com
Archive

This week’s top 20:

20. Game Of The Century Jr.

Friday is why God invented the couch, the 52-inch plasma, leftover turkey and the Southeastern Conference.

[+] EnlargeLes Miles

Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesLes Miles’ team is getting used to being the center of attention.

At precisely 2:30 p.m. ET, my rear end will be sofa bound and the TV remote will summon the satellite waves from faraway Baton Rouge, La. And for the next glorious three hours or so (or until I have to drive to O’Hare and catch my flight to Atlanta for Saturday’s Iron Bowl at Auburn), I’ll watch, like many of you, the supposed second-best matchup of the season: No. 3 Arkansas at No. 1 LSU.

I can’t wait. Then again, I also couldn’t wait for the Nov. 5 LSU-Bama game — Game of the Century Sr.

That was No. 1 versus No. 2, but the game itself didn’t live up to the hype. How could it?

And in retrospect, the outcome didn’t do much to really define the national championship race. Bama lost, 9-6, but it’s no worse off today than it was after missing four field goals that night at Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was No. 2 then, it’s No. 2 now.

The same sort of thing could happen Friday afternoon. A scenario exists where LSU could lose, but still end up in the national championship game against Bama. And if that happens, we’d have Game of the Century III … in less than 2½ months.

The dominoes could fall this way: Arkansas upsets LSU, Bama beats Auburn, Georgia beats Arkansas in the SEC championship game. Or … LSU beats Arkansas, Bama beats Auburn, Georgia beats LSU in the SEC championship.

Depending on what happens with Oklahoma State (or maybe not), we could have a No. 1 Bama versus No. 2 LSU on Jan. 9 at the Superdome.

Meanwhile, the smart guys in Vegas seem to be leaning heavily toward LSU beating up the Razorbacks. LSU is a 14-point favorite, though that could be Tigers fans driving up the spread. But as a helpful reminder, Oklahoma State was nearly a four-touchdown favorite against Iowa State last Friday. How’d that work out?

Anyway, I’m taking LSU, but unlike Century Sr., this one will have actual offense. Something in the 28-24 neighborhood sounds about right.

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Rex Nelson on the Battle of the Ravine (Part 3)

No one can tell the story of the battle of the ravine better than Rex Nelson. This is an article he wrote a year ago:

The 84th Battle of the Ravine

The Battle of the Ravine.

For those who really understand this college football rivalry, there’s little more that needs to be said.

I realize that I have an inherent bias. I grew up with the Battle of the Ravine as an important part of my life. In my family, the day when Ouachita played Henderson was about as big as Christmas and far bigger than New Year’s Day. We could walk to either stadium from our house, though the Henderson stadium was a bit more of a hike.

The two Arkadelphia schools first played each other in football in 1895. The series was suspended from 1951 until 1963 due to excessive vandalism.

Consider these facts:

– It’s the only college football game in America in which the visiting team walks to a road game. That’s because only U.S. Highway 67 separates Ouachita’s A.U. Williams Field from Henderson’s Carpenter-Haygood Stadium.

– They’ve played 83 times through the years, and the series is almost dead even. Ouachita has won 39 times. Henderson has won 38 times. There have been six ties.

– Of the 83 meetings between Henderson and Ouachita, the game has been decided by a touchdown or less 37 times with Ouachita holding a 19-12-6 advantage in those close games.

Ouachita won one of the greatest games in the history of the series two years ago at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium, 43-36. The Tigers came from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to end the season with five consecutive victories. Last year at A.U. Williams Field, Ouachita jumped out to a big lead early and held on to win, 35-28. As noted, those seven-point margins of the past two seasons are the norm rather than the exception.

And wouldn’t you know that Henderson and Ouachita come into Saturday’s game with the top two scoring offenses in the Gulf South Conference, which generally is recognized as the toughest conference in all of NCAA Division II. The game, which begins at 1 p.m. at Henderson’s stadium, has all the makings of another classic.

The weather forecast looks good. You really ought to consider going to Arkadelphia if, for nothing else, than to say you’ve experienced a Battle of the Ravine. There will be a giant tailgate party adjacent to the stadium beginning at 10 a.m. with free hot dogs. The 1 p.m. kickoff means the game will end about 4 p.m., giving those of you who live in the Little Rock area plenty of time to return home before the Hogs come on television at 6 p.m.

Here’s what Troy Mitchell, Henderson’s talented sports information director, wrote: “There’s the Battle for the Little Brown Jug (Michigan vs. Minnesota), the Egg Bowl (Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss) and the Iron Bowl (Alabama vs. Auburn). But the oldest rivalry in Division II football is the Coleman Dairy Battle of the Ravine. … It has been said so many times it is almost trite, but it still bears repeating one more time: For sheer excitement, for dramatic finishes and for almost unbearable tension, few things in sports can be compared to a Henderson State-Ouachita Baptist football game.”

When I lived in Washington, D.C., I missed the Battle of the Ravine from 1985-87. I flew back for the 1988 game and moved back to Arkansas just before the 1989 game. Other than those three years, I’ve been at every Battle of the Ravine since the series resumed in 1963 (I was 4 then). I’ve also had the pleasure of attending the Iron Bowl four times. Ask me the greatest rivalries in college football, and I’ll tell you it’s Ouachita vs. Henderson at the small college level and Alabama vs. Auburn at the major college level.

For many years, the Battle of the Ravine was played on Thanksgiving. That first game in 1895 was on Thanksgiving as Ouachita defeated what was then Arkadelphia Methodist College by a score of 8-0.

You want to hear about some of the classic games in the series?

How about 1914 when Ouachita beat both Arkansas and Ole Miss but could only manage a scoreless tie with Henderson?

How about 1926, at the new A.U. Williams Field, when Hardy Winburn broke loose for a 35-yard score in the rain to give Ouachita a 14-7 victory?

How about 1949, when Ouachita trailed with seven minutes left by a score of 14-0? The late Ike Sharp successfully executed three onside kicks for Ouachita in those final seven minutes and Otis Turner, known as the Magic Toe, kicked the field goal that gave the Tigers a 17-14 victory.

How about 1950 when more than 8,000 people turned out to watch the Reddies avenge the previous season’s loss with a 7-0 win over Ouachita? It would be 13 years before they would play again.

How about 1963 as the series resumed with a 28-13 Henderson win at Haygood Stadium, allowing the Reddies to claim a share of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championship?

How about 1969 when the great Henderson quarterback Tommy Hart led the Reddies back from a 17-7 second-half deficit? The Reddies ended up winning 23-17 and captured the AIC title in the process.

How about 1972 when Ouachita used a 47-yard touchdown run by hometown freshman sensation Luther Guinn with 2:23 to play to pull within one point at 14-13? Legendary Ouachita Coach Buddy Benson decided to go for two, and it paid off as quarterback Mike Carroll hit Danny Jack Winston to give Ouachita a 15-14 victory.

How about 1975, which I will tell you is the greatest college football game I’ve ever seen at any level? Henderson was undefeated coming into the final game of the regular season. Ouachita was 8-1. Trailing 20-14 with time running out, Ouachita faced a fourth-and 25. Quarterback Bill Vining Jr., the son of the Ouachita head basketball coach and athletic director, completed a pass to Gary Reese for 25 yards. The chains came out, and Ouachita had the first down by an inch. Two plays later, Vining hit Ken Stuckey for the touchdown, and Russell Daniel kicked the extra point to give the Tigers a 21-20 win. Ouachita and Henderson tied for the AIC championship. Ouachita was one of four teams selected for the NAIA playoffs. Henderson went to the Bicentennial Bowl at War Memorial Stadium.

How about 1978 when Coach Benson decided to go for two late in the game, just as he had done in 1972 at Haygood Stadium? Ouachita trailed 7-6 with 1:21 remaining after a Neal Turner touchdown pass to Jimmy Cornwell. Turner threw a pass to William Miller on the two-point conversion attempt, but Ned Parette knocked the ball away. It was my first year to do Ouachita games on the radio. By the way, it was a pass interference that was never called (now my Ouachita bias is showing).

How about 1982 when Ouachita drove the length of the field for a late touchdown to win 19-18 and capture the AIC championship?

How about 1988 when the game was called off due to flooding (much of the field was under water) at halftime with the score tied at 3-3?

How about 2008 when Ouachita scored 27 fourth-quarter points to rally from a 29-16 deficit? In one of the greatest individual performances I’ve ever seen, Tiger receiver Julio Pruitt had 10 receptions for 250 yards and four touchdowns. One of his touchdown catches was shown on ESPN’s top plays of the day that evening.

The best three Battles of the Ravine I’ve seen are (in order from No. 1) the 1975, 1982 and 2008 games.

Sometimes, ESPN takes its “College GameDay” show to a smaller college.

One of these years, the network should do the show from Arkadelphia on the day of the Battle of the Ravine. People across the country need to know about this unique rivalry.

Hopefully, many of you will find your way to Carpenter-Haygood Stadium on Saturday. I promise that you will enjoy yourself.

Arkansas fans pull against Alabama every week for chance to get back into SEC West race jh40

Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze (4) is brought down by Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph (37) after a catch in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Tuscaloosa Ala. (AP Photo/John Bazmore)

Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze (4) is brought down by Tennessee defensive back Brian Randolph (37) after a catch in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Tuscaloosa Ala. (AP Photo/John Bazmore)

I really was pulling for Tennessee last week. When I heard the score was 6 to 6 at halftime, I became the biggest Big Orange fan of all-time.  I know that Alabama needs to lose for Arkansas to get back in the SEC West title race. Harry King hopes that Arkansas can take care of business and get to the 10-1 record which would possibly make the Arkansas at LSU game very important. (King pointed out we probably would not win a tie-breaker.)Most people have said that no team except Alabama and LSU has a chance to win it all this year. I do mean win it all. If you win the SEC the last 5 years then you naturally will play in the National Championship game and will win it too.

Trent Richardson and Alabama will try and run away from LSU in the game of year on Nov. 5.

Will history repeat itself this year? We will see. I am shocked that Arkansas went backwards in the BCS after the road victory at Ole Miss. Arkansas was jumped by Kansas State and Oregon this week in the BCS.

BCS

HarrisUSATodayComputerBCS
Rank Team Record Rank Pts % Rank Pts % Avg Avg Last Week
1. LSU 8-0 1 2854 .9927 1 1457 .9878 .930 .9702 1
2. Alabama 8-0 2 2777 .9659 2 1434 .9722 .950 .9627 2
3. Oklahoma St. 7-0 3 2559 .8901 4 1301 .8820 1.000 .9240 4
4. Boise St. 7-0 5 2410 .8383 5 1213 .8224 .830 .8302 5
5. Clemson 8-0 6 2346 .8160 6 1174 .7959 .860 .8240 7
6. Stanford 7-0 4 2523 .8776 3 1327 .8997 .660 .8124 8
7. Oregon 6-1 7 2136 .7430 7 1121 .7600 .560 .6877 10
8. Kansas St. 7-0 10 1764 .6136 12 827 .5607 .830 .6681 11
9. Oklahoma 6-1 8 1866 .6490 9 964 .6536 .690 .6642 3
10. Arkansas 6-1 9 1851 .6438 8 974 .6603 .670 .6581 9
11. Michigan St. 6-1 11 1760 .6122 10 932 .6319 .370 .5380 16
12. Virginia Tech 7-1 15 1343 .4671 15 729 .4942 .640 .5338 12
13. South Carolina 6-1 14 1378 .4793 14 730 .4949 .530 .5014 14
14. Nebraska 6-1 13 1508 .5245 13 798 .5410 .250 .4385 13
15. Wisconsin 6-1 12 1731 .6021 11 867 .5878 .110 .4333 6
16. Texas A&M 5-2 17 1040 .3617 16 520 .3525 .570 .4281 17
17. Houston 7-0 18 975 .3391 18 507 .3437 .420 .3676 19
18. Michigan 6-1 16 1072 .3729 17 519 .3519 .300 .3416 18
19. Penn St. 7-1 19 769 .2675 19 448 .3037 .350 .3071 21
20. Texas Tech 5-2 21 407 .1416 22 180 .1220 .340 .2012 NR
21. Arizona St. 5-2 20 542 .1885 20 253 .1715 .130 .1633 NR
22. Georgia 5-2 22 337 .1172 21 208 .1410 .220 .1594 NR
23. Auburn 5-3 30 60 .0209 38 3 .0020 .370 .1310 20
24. Texas 4-2 25 152 .0529 26 49 .0332 .270 .1187 24
25. West Virginia 5-2 23 330 .1148 24 155 .1051 .000 .0733 15
Others Receiving Votes:
Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms (12) drops back to pass against Alabama during the first half of a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  (AP Photo/Butch Dill)Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms (12) drops back to pass against Alabama during the first half of a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)