Keep the history alive!
Now onto the end of one era and the beginning of another!
The year was 1989 and it would be Coach Ken Hatfield's last year at the helm of the Razorbacks. He had led the #10 team to a 10-1-0 season going into the Cotton Bowl. The only loss for the season came, once again, at the hands of the Texas Longhorns by a score of 24-20. The Hogs had won the conference and now would be facing Johnny Majors and his #8 ranked 10-1-0 Tennessee Volunteers in Dallas' Cotton Bowl before a crowd of 74,358 fans.
The weather was ideal for football with a clear day, calm wind, and temperature in the 40s. In 1964, Majors had served as Frank Broyles secondary coach while having Ken Hatfield as one of his featured defenders. And you know how special that year was ending with the Arkansas Cotton Bowl victory over Nebraska (and, by the way if you haven't guessed, the National Championship). However this wasn't all of the team connections, in addition to Majors there was the Volunteer's Athletic Director Doug Dickey who (had served on Frank Broyles' first coaching staff at Arkansas) had Ken Hatfield as his freshman and wide receiver coach in 1969 and 1970 at Tennessee. Now all of these guys would be facing each other across the field in the 54th Cotton Bowl. The tie extends as it also includes the once Tennessee head coach (1941-1945) and former Hog head football coach and Athletic Director John Barnhill who would take the Hogs to their first Cotton Bowl appearance in 1947.
The two teams combined for 1,038 yards of offense (250 yards by Volunteer freshman tailback Chuck Webb nearing the bowl record). The scoring would begin on the opening kickoff to Tennessee when they would drive 61 yards in 12 plays culminating in a 23 yard Greg Burke field goal putting Tennessee ahead 3-0. Not to be outdone, on the next possession Barry Foster would run the final yard completing a 56 yard 11 play possession to give the Hogs a 6-3 lead. However , the PAT snap was bobbled and the ensuing run by Gary Adams failed keeping the score at 6-3.
On the next two Hog possessions, they would suffer devastating turnovers. The first would come when fullback Kerwin Price would fumble at the Volunteer nine yard line. The worst turnover however, came in the second quarter after quarterback Quinn Grovey had moved the Hogs down to Tennessee's two yard line. On second and goal, Grovey takes the snap, rolls right and looks into the endzone for tight end Billy Winston. When the ball is released, Grovey knew he couldn't reach out and get it back. A streaking freshman safety Carl Pickens steps in front of Winston and snags the ball. Pickens then sees daylight and returns the pigskin to the Tennessee 13. On first down, Tennessee goes for three yards. At this point, Volunteer quarterback Andy Kelly opens up and goes long for receiver Anthony Morgan and an 84 yard touchdown. This was the second longest in Cotton Bowl history. After the PAT, the Hogs found themselves down by 10-6. Following a Hog punt, Tennessee would mount a 70 yard, eight play drive ending with a Webb one yard run into the endzone with 3:13 left in the half. Halftime would find the Hogs down 17-6 after a Hog interception inside the five by Patrick Williams with four seconds showing on the clock. Things were not looking good.
The bad luck continued into the third quarter where on the Razorback's first possession Foster would fumble at the Tennessee 32 where it was recovered by Volunteer Martin Williams . Tennessee was now rolling as Webb would break free for 42 yards on first down (could nobody STOP this guy?) The 68 yard, eight play drive would end when Kelly would complete a one yard toss to fullback Greg Amsler. At this point the scoreboard showed Tennessee 24, Arkansas 6.
Grovey would take charge on the next possession as he moved the Hogs 72 yards in nine plays (primarily with the backup running backs, Tim Horton, and Derek Russell) to close the gap to 24-13 following a James Rouse one yard run with 6:58 left in the quarter. On the next possession, the Volunteers would score their final time for the game. Following a two yard gain on first down, Webb would again do his damage as on second down he would go for 78 yards for the score. The third quarter had Tennessee ahead 31-13.
Fourteen seconds into the final period, Foster completes the Hog score with a one yard run following a 74 yard, 12 play drive. He then follows with a two point conversion. Arkansas is now down by ten points at 31-21. On the Hogs next possession, they move down to the Tennessee nine yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Shortly after, the Hogs would miss a 44 yard field goal that would have cut the lead to seven.
The Volunteers would again give the ball to the Razorbacks at the Hog 33 following a punt with 1:25 left in the game. On first down, Grovey, once again, goes to Winston on a 67 yard touchdown pass making the score 31-27. A failed onside kick would end the game making it one of the most offensive memorable games of the Cotton Bowl.
The Hogs had 31 first downs compared to 16 for Tennessee (rushing we had 21, they had 11 - passing we had 10 they had 4, they also had 1 by penalty). Net yards we had 361 rushing, they had 320 (in passing we had 207, they had 150). Arkansas' final ranking would be at #13, Tennessee would end at #5. This would not be the last Cotton Bowl the Razorbacks would play in, but it was the last as a member of the Southwest Conference. It also was Ken Hatfield's last game as a Razorback. During Hatfield's tenure as coach, the Hogs played in a post season bowl game in each of his seasons. He has truly been a special part of Arkansas football history both as a player and as a coach.