This month's tale revolves around the 1954 Razorback team, the famous players, the connections with later Hogs that would have impacts on the program, and the rise of a football program to national prominence.
By October, everbody knew the Hogs as "the 25 little pigs" although, this had no reference to the number of players on the team. The team was small, yet they were quick and the nickname stuck. Their quickness and winning throughout the season led to game reports becoming front page news on Sundays in the state's largest newspaper, the Arkansas Gazette.
At the beginning of the Ole Miss game, the Hogs didn't feel that they belonged on the same field with the team that had dominated their opponents in their first five games by scoring 171 points against only 35. However, the Hogs had found ways to take away the Ole Miss lifeblood which had been their long yardage plays.
During the first quarter the Rebels had moved to a first down on the Arkansas 14 yard line. Not used to having to grind out short yardage in their previous wins, Ole Miss found itself at a real disadvantage. Two plays later, they were at fourth and two from the six. Ole Miss put in a fresh backfield with Slick (that's right - Slick) McCool at the fullback spot. With McCool in, it was widely known that he would be carrying the ball off tackle on a belly play. At the snap, 210 lb., junior Bill Fuller met McCool and the drive was ended. This play alone seemed to take the life out of the Rebels and would set the tone for the rest of the game.
Arkansas was convinced that Eagle Day, the Rebel quarterback, was the best passer in the nation. However, Wyatt had noticed that it was taking extra time for Day to set up and get his passes off. Defensive end Teddy Souter would never give him the needed time, and a frustrated Day went two for eleven that day including two interceptions. The long pass plays of 40 to 60 yards from the previous games never developed. Speed kills.
There would be no scoring throughout the remainder of the game until with only six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Hogs had advanced the ball from the 17 to the Arkansas 34 yard line. With time running out and the real possibility that Arkansas might not get the ball back again, it was now time to run what became known as the Powder River Pass Play. George Walker was the quarterback and best passer, but Arkansas could not risk faking a run with the ball in Walker's hands. Ole Miss would never fall for it. The play had to be run with tailback Buddy Bob Benson. It was set up where Benson would be passing to the blocking back, Preston Carpenter, who would block the end and drift into the secondary. Arkansas comes to the line on third and six. The ball is snapped, Benson rolls to his left along with the whole Ole Miss team convinced that it must be a run. Rebel safety, Houston Patton, makes his move and comes up for support to help. Carpenter makes his block and slips into the secondary where he suddenly finds himself wide open. Benson pulls up and throws a pinpoint 33 yard strike to a streaking Carpenter who then tightropes down the sideline for the final 33 yards. The play goes for sixty-six yards in all from the Arkansas 34, Touchdown! Pandemonium breaks loose in Little Rock.
Final score: Arkansas 6, Ole Miss 0.
This pass is one of the most mentioned single plays remembered by Hog fans of yesteryear. The upset game moved Arkansas into national prominence and solidified the Razorbacks as having a true statewide following.
Join us next month on the 6th at hawg-tales.com.
- Row 1 (L-R) #45 Buddy Bob Benson
- Row 2 (L-R) #79 George Bequette (Jake Bequette's grandfather)
- Row 2 (L-R) #63 Teddy Souter
- Row 3 (L-R) #71 Billy Ray Smith, Sr. (Billy Ray Smith's, Jr. father)
- Row 3 (L-R) #44 George Walker
- Row 4 (L-R) #72 Bill Fuller
- Row 4 (L-R) #34 Preston Carpenter
- Row 4 (L-R) #30 Henry Moore (Billy Moore's older brother)