This month's blog tells about a quarterback that came from Little Rock's Central High School to begin the '60s dominance in the SWC. His name was Billy Moore and he played defensive back and option quarterback.
The '60s were probably the most unique decade in American history, not only for the Hogs, but also for the nation. The decade began with the songs It's Now or Never by Elvis Presley, Walk Don't Run by The Ventures, and The Twist by Chubby Checker leading the Top 100 Chart according to Billboard Magazine for September 1, 1960. As television became more popular, the top three shows were Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, and Have Gun Will Travel.
The decade would see the space program go from Mercury to Apollo and man walking on the moon, assassination of a president, the Viet Nam war, the civil rights movement, hippies, protests against everything, bra burnings, changes in music, a National Championship for Arkansas, and the Big Shootout. What a decade!
By 1970 the top tv shows were Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza. Music during this period according to Billboard Music listed the top songs as I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family, War by Edwin Starr, and The Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It also introduced the world to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the psychedelic music.
In Matt Bradley's book The Hogs - Moments Remembered, he mentions that Frank Broyles is credited as saying "Billy Moore was the most exciting running quarterback that I can remember. He was quick - like a hiccup, some said."
The 1962 season brought a 9-1 record going into the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss in New Orleans. The only loss up to this point had been a 7-3 loss to Texas at Austin on a touchdown by Tommy Ford. Leading by 3-0 in the third quarter, fullback Danny Brabham was hit by Longhorn linebackers Pat Culpepper and Leon Treadwell as he fought for the goal line. The ball squirted free ending up on the ground where the ruling was a fumble, although many Razorback fans felt that he had crossed over the goal line prior to the ball coming loose. RULING: Texas ball. Instead of the score being Arkansas 10 and Texas 0, it remained 3-0. However, with 36 seconds left in the game Ford scored his game winning touchdown. Had the game ended one minute earlier or had Brabham's touchdown counted, the Hogs would have been contending for the national championship. As a result, the national championship and the dream of a perfect season had "gone by the wayside". At that time, the national championship was awarded prior to the bowl games. USC won it with a record of 9-1. Without the loss at Texas, the Hogs would have had a record of 10-0 and been undefeated going into their bowl game.
In the final regular season game against Texas Tech at Lubbock, Moore had suffered a knee injury. It came late in the game when Moore had gone in to try and score a touchdown on a goal line play. The play failed, but the damage had now been done. The game ended as a Razorback win 34-0.
After the regular season, the Hogs once again found themselves scheduled to play in the Sugar Bowl against the Rebels of Mississippi. The knee injury reappeared and his knee went out on him again during preparation for the bowl game. In the actual bowl game, Moore had to be replaced on two different occasions because of the reoccurring knee injury. Arkansas lost by a score of 17-13 to end their season at 9-2. The game should not have been that close, except for the Rebel quarterback Glynn Griffing setting a Sugar Bowl record for total offense with over 300 yards (most occurring with sprint-out pass plays on third down). During the 9-2 season, Arkansas scored 299 points, while only giving up 115. So ends the first chance for a national championship, although it would later become reality in 1964.
The decade was one of change, and one that propelled Arkansas to the forefront of national recognition as a football powerhouse (along with its key rival - Texas). The rivalry would continue throughout the decade although the winner of the Texas vs. Arkansas game would go on to be or tie for the conference championship in 8 of the 10 years. The Hogs very easily could have won the national championship four times during the '60s (1962, 1964, 1965 and 1969). See the previous Hawg-tales to see how close they really were!
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