Keep the history alive!
"For it was Street who led the most formidable foe that the Hogs have ever faced."
To put the game in perspective, it would be equivalent to facing Alabama raised to the infinite power. If you weren't there, it's hard to understand or comprehend how monumental this rivalry was. "Texas Week" was unique, it was like none other. A time of celebration, but mostly a time of hope. All tests across campus were cancelled for that week, parties were everywhere, banners flew over Dickson street proclaiming "BEAT TEXAS", and all discussions throughout the whole state were focused on Saturday and the game. It didn't matter what the record was for the season, it was a successful year as long as you beat Texas. After all throughout the whole season, for fans everywhere - your two favorite teams were the Razorbacks, and whoever was playing Texas.
The offense had been developed by then Texas assistant coach Emory Ballard and would prove to be unstoppable in college football. During his career, after being substituted in following the second game in 1968, Street would go undefeated at 20-0 and lead the 'Horns to a National Championship by defeating Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl.
(There is a whole additional side story surrounding this game which is featured in the e-book "Hit That Line" along with many other major Razorback football games.)
The game started just after noon with President Richard Nixon arriving to what he thought was a standing ovation. The crowd was standing and going crazy alright, but in reality it was not for Nixon. It was for the fumble recovery that the Hogs had just made.
Following the initial kickoff, on the first play from scrimmage, Street handed off to halfback Jim Bertlesen for a gain of one. Next, Street attempted to handoff to halfback Ted Koy. The bobbled handoff was broken up by defensive end Rick Kersey resulting in a fumble. Arkansas’ Bobby Field recovered the ball on the Texas 22-yard line. For once, the Wishbone had been figured out as the Hogs played almost faultless defense throughout the remainder of the game.
Hog quarterback Bill Montgomery brought the offense onto the field and would now go to work. After two incomplete passes, Montgomery threw to flanker John Rees who completed the pass down to the two-yard line. Two plays later, running back Bill Burnett followed Bruce Maxwell as he dove over the middle and went in for the score, moving Arkansas ahead for the initial lead at 7-0.
In the third quarter the Hogs would again score off of a 19-yard pass from Montgomery to his favorite receiver Chuck Dicus. With only fifteen minutes left, the Razorbacks went into the dreaded fourth quarter leading 14-0. On the first play of the quarter, Street found all of his receivers covered and scrambled left during what was a busted play for 42 yards ending in the endzone finally putting Texas on the board. Following the two-point conversion by Street, the score would now read 14-8 Hogs.
With new life for the 'Horns, Koy ran 11 yards on the next play for a first and goal from the two. Bertelsen now goes the final two yards for the score. Texas 14, Arkansas 14. Texas kicker "Happy" Feller made his way onto the field while feeling the pressure. The ball was snapped and the PAT gave Texas their first lead of the game at 15-14.
The Hogs had one last chance, when an interception by Longhorn Tom Campbell ended what looked to be a sure scoring drive on the Texas 21. This was Arkansas' second turnover of the game. Texas had six throughout the afternoon. The 'Horns were satisfied now to run the clock out and escape with the one point win.
One point was a big enough lead, late enough in the game for Texas to hang on and win by this margin. The Hogs had expended everything that they had to give on the field that day, but it was Texas, instead of Arkansas, that would now advance to Dallas where they would meet and defeat Notre Dame to become the National Champions.
December 6, 1969, had been a cold, drizzly day throughout the game. And as the dimly lit scoreboard clock ticked down to its final seconds, the sky opened up and the rain began to fall. It was a time when you couldn't tell if it was the tears or the rain drops streaming down the faces of the fans as the stands slowly began to empty and the players made their way to the dressing room all while the Texas band played the "Eyes of Texas" in the background. It had been the saddest day in Arkansas history. It had been the "Game of the Century" - The Big Shootout.
Throughout the state, Arkansas fans and players alike would feel the hurt that was more than just a disappointing outcome for a game. It was an enduring hurt that ran deep. A hurt from a loss that would last decades and often throughout the rest of their life. For many it was the most hurt they had ever experienced and it had all happened on a small field, in a tiny town tucked away in the Ozarks known as Fayetteville. Old timers that were alive during that time have never forgotten what took place on that Saturday afternoon in December as they experienced what truly was the most famous game Arkansas had ever played.
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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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