After losing only one game during the season, December 5, 1970, known as "Shootout #2" in Austin brought about the anticipation of finally winning against Texas after the famous loss that had occurred the previous year in "The Big Shootout". However, this would have to wait one more year as the Hogs went down 42-7 in a rout that was not of the same caliber as found during the previous year.
By 1971, Broyles had put into place a blue chip quarterback named Joe Ferguson out of Woodlawn High School in Shreveport. In high school, Ferguson had been recognized nationally for his drop back passing abilities, and now found himself well-fitted to the Hogs' pro-style offense.
December had not been favorable for the Hogs, so no longer would the scheduled date of the Texas game be shifted and played at the end of the season for the sake of television. Broyles saw to it that October would now be resumed as the date for the famous Arkansas-Texas game.
On a overcast 75-degree October 16th, in Little Rock before a crowd of 54,446 fanatical Hog fans, Darrell Royal managed to bring his #10 Longhorns into War Memorial Stadium to do battle against Frank Broyles and his #16 Razorbacks. By gametime, the wind was coming out of the northeast at 4 mph providing only a pleasant breeze for the fans.
The first quarter began as games between Arkansas and Texas usually did with Texas in control. After a 56-yard punt return by 5'-5", 145 lb. Longhorn speedster Dean Campbell to the Razorback seven yard line, Texas would soon find themselves in the lead 7-0. The score had come after a Jim Bertlesen run from the one with 7:07 left in the first quarter culminating a three-play drive. Hog fans had seen this too many times before. It brought back nightmares of how dominating a team Texas had always been.
But this time it would be different, Ferguson would now go to work.
On the very next possession, he would take the Hogs 75 yards in 8 plays to tie the game at seven-all. The final play of the drive had come as a pass to tight end Bobby Nichols on fourth down from the five-yard line. Throughout the drive, Ferguson had kept Texas off-balance as the Hogs moved the ball down the field by mixing sprint draws to Dickey Morton along with rollout passes to Mike Reppond. There was now something different happening with the team from the Ozarks.
With 1:10 left in the first quarter, Texas punted Arkansas back to the Hogs' six-yard line. They would soon find out that this was not far enough. Once again, Ferguson would engineer what would be a 94-yard, 12-play drive. The drive would end when Ferguson kept the ball on a quarterback keeper and ran out of the wishbone for the final ten yards to give the Hogs the lead at 14-7. It was a lead that, once established, would not readily be given up.
With just slightly over a minute left in the half, Ferguson would once again add the final embarrassment in a half that saw very little offense from the #10 Longhorns. In a mix-up between the Texas defensive backs, Reppond slipped through and found himself alone at the 16-yard line leading to a 37-yard pass play and a third Arkansas touchdown. So ended what had been a 56-yard drive in three plays. With no time left, halftime could not come soon enough. Texas would now try and find a way to regroup. As the teams now funneled their way to the locker rooms, the scoreboard showed Arkansas 21, and Texas 7.
The final quarter opened as the scoreboard indicated Arkansas 24, Texas 7. With a little less than six minutes left in the game, Ferguson would end the final scoring drive of 34 yards in five plays with a three-yard pass completion, once again, to tight end Bobby Nichols. Texas would find it difficult to put together any type of scoring drive during the remaining game time. As the clock ran out and the scoreboard lights were dimming, they would now show Arkansas 31, Texas 7. For the first time since the 1965 season, Arkansas had finally beaten Texas before a home crowd (Hogs won in 1966 in Austin). Pandemonium had set in.
After the game Broyles commented that this had been the best "big game" performance by any quarterback that he had ever coached. For his performance in this game, Ferguson won the prestigious national player-of-the-week award. What a great win for a great team!
Arkansas ended this game with 21 first downs and 451 total yards to 10 for Texas and 217 total yards. In the passing category, the Hogs had 249 yards on 14 of 24, while Texas had 77 yards on 6 of 13. For the first time against Texas, this was a game that saw no fumbles and no interceptions. As the only non-Texas team in the SWC, it became apparent that the red-headed stepchild had come through!
After a victory like this, it's only appropriate that the 45-rpm record this month references the October 16th game for the Hogs. Enjoy!
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