Keep the history alive!
It had only been fifteen years since the Arkansas football program had begun, and now they were on the verge of doing something that had never been done before at Arkansas. Hugo Bezdek was in his second year as the head coach of a team headed up by quarterback Steve Creekmore from Van Buren, when Arkansas football would be changed forever.
By November 13, Arkansas would be 4-0 when they would meet LSU in Memphis for what would be regarded as the "mythical championship of the South". LSU came in at 4-1 and had beaten Arkansas 36-4 the year before in Little Rock, so revenge was in the air predicting a different outcome for 1909.
On Thursday November 11, the team left Fayetteville for Memphis by train to play the Tigers of LSU in a game that was drawing more attention with each Arkansas win. It was now becoming apparent that something special was happening in the rural hills of northwest Arkansas. Bezdek realized this and was not one to let this opportunity pass him by. Being the true marketing coach that he was, he saw this as an opportunity to establish the team from the Ozarks as a true state-wide program. The game would be the one that would put Arkansas on the map as a premier team and develop the program to be followed as Arkansas' team.
As the game got underway, a crowd began to gather around the wire office at the Fayetteville train station. The halftime score came in over the wire showing Arkansas leading 5-0. With the halftime score, the fun was soon underway and plans began to be made for the celebration to come. As the game progressed, the crowd continued to grow around the telegraph office. The final report came in indicating that Arkansas had won 16-0 against LSU. At that point the celebrating began.
On the return trip back from Memphis, Arkansas took a side trip to Arkadelphia and would defeat Ouachita College by a score of 56-0. They were now 6-0 and still undefeated.
The team returned to Fayetteville on Tuesday after the Ouachita win to an overwhelming welcome and crowd where Bezdek made his famous quote about the team "fighting like a wild bunch of Razorback hogs".
Phil Huntley, who was the center on the 1909 team, tells a different story about the naming of the Hogs. In his recollection, the team was at the train station in Dallas when somebody yelled "Here come the hogs". It was meant as a degradation of Arkansas, however Bezdek saw it as a positive bringing to mind the lean, evil-tempered Razorback hogs that roamed Arkansas. What probably actually took place was a combination of both where the seed was sown in Dallas and blossomed at the train station in Fayetteville.
It was the birth of the Razorbacks. Arkansas would never be the same again. The team name was officially changed for the 1910 season with the yearbook changing its name from the "Cardinal" to the "Razorback" a few years later.
"Arkansas was now 7-0 for the season and undefeated (a feat no other Arkansas team had been able to accomplish prior to this time). It would not occur again for 55 more seasons, when the Hogs would win the National Championship."
Stagg has been attributed with around 30 innovations to the game, which had been embedded into Bezdek, during his playing days, as one for improvising within the game. The game was played with Arkansas continually moving to the line, running the play, immediately lining up and running the next play, etc. This was a turbo, no-huddle offense on steroids. Arkansas' speed, passing, kicking, and defense led to a 32-0 win in their final game.
Arkansas, for the first time, was now 7-0 for the season and undefeated (a feat no other Arkansas football team had been able to accomplish prior to this time). It would not occur again for 55 more seasons, when the Hogs would again be undefeated and win the National Championship. During this season, Arkansas had outscored their opponents 186-18 points. It was now unquestionably apparent that there was certainly something special happening in the rural hills of northwest Arkansas.
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Keep the history of Hog football alive, don't let it disappear. The new e-book available describes the history of the Razorback football program. It tells of the coaches, legends, "Voices of the Razorbacks", traditions, and of course, the memorable games (most of which have not been previously discussed on hawg-tales.com). This is the first e-book telling about the complete Razorback football program. The e-book is now available through Smashwords.com (click to visit the world's largest distributor of e-books), the Apple iStore, Barnes and Nobles (barnesandnoble.com), Kobo, etc. and is available for virtually all e-readers, smart phones, tablets, and computers. Look for 'Hit That Line!' ."
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