On October 28, 1989, Quinn Grovey led the Hogs into Little Rock to line up against the University of Houston Cougars in the most memorable game of his Razorback career. Grovey had come to Arkansas from Duncan, Oklahoma as an option quarterback.and ended as the only Hog quarterback to lead them to multiple Cotton Bowl appearances. During his high school career he had led his team to two state championships and was selected as the Player of the Year in Oklahoma.
"#12 Houston had just trounced SMU 95-21 under future Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware"
On a clear night before 55,112 fans in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium, Jack Pardee and Ken Hatfield proceeded to escort their respective teams into what had been predicted to be a high scoring offensive battle. This would be one time when predictions would prove to be true.
As game time now approached, it was time for the two best quarterbacks in the SWC to go up against each other. Houston would score first as quarterback #11 Andre Ware would roll left and deliver a pass from the Cougar 35 to wide receiver #83 Patrick Cooper at the Arkansas 27. After outrunning #24 rover Patrick Williams, Cooper tightroped down the left sideline finding the endzone giving Houston the initial lead 7-0.
Arkansas was no SMU, but Hatfield knew that the Hogs would have to answer in order to keep Houston in check. The Razorbacks couldn't let the Cougars go unanswered, or the game could quickly get out of hand with Houston's quick scoring offense and soon be over.
The first quarter wasn't over yet. Houston would make one more touchdown as Ware would take the ball from the Hog 3 yard line and lateral to running back #28 Chuck Weatherspoon as he swept around left end. Barely escaping a tackle in the backfield, Weatherspoon tacked on the go ahead touchdown, ending the quarter with Houston ahead at 14 and Arkansas 7.
Arkansas would not go away when from their own 30 yard line Grovey would take the snap, go right, reverse the field, and scamper to the Hog 43. Moments later, he would go left and pass to an open #3 Tim Horton at the Houston 22. Horton would barely remain inbounds sprinting down the left sideline before finally being forced out of bounds at the 3. The Hogs would again answer when Grovey would go over left tackle and take the ball in from the 3. This had become a battle of one team scoring and then the other answering. It was now 14 all.
Houston's turn to score. This would come from the Hog 37 when Ware would pass down the right sideline to a streaking #81 wide receiver Paul Smith who would catch the ball at the 3 and take it the final yards for the touchdown.
Arkansas' turn to score. Grovey from midfield would again go to Horton down the left sideline. Horton would catch it at the 25 and go out of bounds at the 22 yard line. Being stalled at the 20, Todd Wright came in and put the Hogs 3 points closer to Houston when he would kick a 37 yard field goal to end the half with a score of Houston 21, Arkansas 17 thereby keeping the Hogs within one touchdown of Houston.
It looked like the Cougars would score next, but Arkansas would get their first lead after #29 rover Kirk Collins would strip the ball from Ware at the Arkansas 13. With the ball on the ground, #51 nose guard Chad Rolen would fall on it at the Hog 22. Razorback football. First and ten. The Hogs moved the ball out to the 43 where Russell on an end around to the left moved the ball down to the Houston 12 yard line before finally being forced out of bounds. Grovey took the ball the final 2 yards on an option over right tackle capping off a 78 yard drive. The Hogs would now have their first lead at Arkansas 24, Houston 21.
Houston would again regain the lead by putting up seven more points in the third quarter, bringing the score after three to Houston 28, Arkansas 24.
The fourth quarter would see Arkansas outscoring Houston by 21 to 11. The first Hog TD would come from Grovey when he passed from the Arkansas 48 to Russell who was open at the Houston 7 yard line finishing off the final 7 yards for six. The extra point was good and once again moved the Hogs to the lead at 31-28.
"This was the first time in the game that either team would lead by more than seven points."
On the next possession, the Hogs began at their own 24 yard line. The call went to #35 James Rouse as he rambled around left end to the Hog 37. Barry Foster would power his way around left end going to the Cougar 7 yard line before being brought down. First and goal. Rouse added on the final 3 yards around left end thus running the score up to Arkansas 38, Houston 31.
On Arkansas' final scoring possession, they would begin 62 yards away from paydirt at their own 38 yard line. At the snap, a draw play around left end by Rouse for a gain of 12 moving the ball to midfield. Another "Arkansas first down". After moving to the Houston 18, #18 Foster would advance the ball down to the 5 yard line. With 3:08 remaining on the game clock and running the option, Grovey would take the ball around right end to the endzone. Arkansas 45, University of Houston 31. This was the first time in the game that either team would lead by more than seven points. Even with a 14 point lead, everyone knew it wasn't over yet and the knots in the stomachs would remain.
With the final 3:08 showing on the game clock, Houston was able to obtain one more touchdown followed by a two point conversion to make the final score Arkansas 45, University of Houston 39. With no more time left, the battle had finally come to its conclusion. Everyone could now relax and the knots finally untied.
Rouse and Foster had both rushed for more than 100 yards. The Hogs had scored on six of their last seven possessions. Grovey went for 11 of 14 passing for 256 yards while rushing for an additional 79 yards. Touchdown drives for the Hogs were 77, 69, 78, 81, 76, and 62 yards. This was a game that saw 1,218 total yards combined from both teams with 647 yards of this being by the Hogs. The Razorbacks would end the season as SWC Champions with a record of 10-2 after losing to Tennessee by a score of 31-27, but the Houston game would definitely reign as the highlight of the season.
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