Arkansas-UCF Game Preview

The Razorbacks will take on the Central Florida Golden Knights in the first-ever meeting between the schools on the gridiron. Arkansas is coming off a seven-overtime thriller against the Ole Miss Rebels last Saturday. The Hogs have won four straight, the longest current streak in the SEC.

Central Florida is coming off a 57-17 thrashing of Akron last weekend. The Golden Knights have won four of their last five games entering this weekend's contest.

THE RECORDS: Arkansas is 5-3 overall and 3-3 SEC after defeating Ole Miss 58-56 in seven overtimes last weekend in Oxford. Arkansas has won four straight games after opening the season 1-3.

Central Florida is 5-4 on the season. The Golden Knights began the season 1-3 after dropping tough losses on the road to Clemson (21-13), Syracuse (21-10) and Virginia Tech (46-14). Since then, UCF as gone 4-1 with the only loss coming on the road at Utah State (30-27).

THE RANKINGS: Arkansas is not ranked, but is receiving votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls. The Razorbacks garnered 27 points in the AP listing and would rank 30th if the poll was extended. Arkansas tallied 15 points in the coaches' poll and rank 33rd.

UCF is not ranked in either national poll this week.

COVERAGE: For only the second time this season, Arkansas will not play in front of a live television audience. The Razorbacks have appeared on the tube in eight of their first nine games. The only game not televised in that stretch was Arkansas' 42-19 win over Weber State on Oct. 6.

PAUL EELLS will call the action on the 67-station Arkansas Razorback Sports Network. Eells is in his 24th season handling play-by-play for the Razorbacks. Former NFL tight end and Little Rock, Ark., native KEITH JACKSON is the analyst while former Hog quarterback QUINN GROVEY is the sideline reporter.

HOGS IN FAYETTEVILLE: The Razorbacks are 247-95-10 (.716) in games played at Fayetteville. Arkansas has played its on-campus games at what is now Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium since 1938. The Hogs are 127-62-2 (.670) at Fayetteville since playing in their current home. The Hogs are 10-3 at Fayetteville under head coach Houston Nutt.

HOMECOMING: Arkansas boasts a 46-29-4 (.608) record in Homecoming games. The Razorbacks have won four of the last five Homecoming contests including last year's 52-6 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas has never played Central Florida for Homecoming.

UNIQUE HOMECOMING OPPONENT: When Arkansas takes the field for the Homecoming game against UCF this weekend, it will mark only the second time since 1929 the Hogs have played a non-conference game for Homecoming. Last season, Arkansas broke the conference only string when it posted a 52-6 win over non-conference foe Louisiana-Monroe.

Prior to the 2000 season, the last non-league contest staged in Fayetteville for Homecoming was in 1929 when Arkansas topped Centenary 13-2. From 1930-91, Arkansas faced foes from the Southwest Conference. Since entering the SEC in 1992, Arkansas has played Auburn and Ole Miss three times on Homecoming while facing Georgia, Tennessee and Louisiana-Monroe once each.

CRIP HALL AWARD: For the 51st straight year, the Crip Hall Award will be presented to the most outstanding Razorback senior in the homecoming game. The inaugural recipient of the award was end FRANK FISCHEL of Helena, Ark., for his efforts in a 9-6 loss to Rice.

Last season, UA linebacker J.J. JONES won the honor after leading Arkansas to a 52-6 win over Louisiana-Monroe. The award is voted on by the media contingent covering the contest.

UA BOASTS LONGEST CURRENT SEC WINNING STREAK: Arkansas current four-game winning streak is the longest active winning string in the Southeastern Conference. The Hogs upped their streak to four last weekend at Oxford and in the process snapped the Rebels' five-game winning streak. Tennessee owns the second longest streak in the league with three straight wins.

MAKE IT FOUR: The Razorbacks' current string of four straight games is the first since the Hogs won the 2000 Cotton Bowl and then the first three games of the 2000 season. The last time Arkansas won at least four games in a row in the same season was in 1998, when the Hogs won the first eight games under new head coach HOUSTON NUTT.

TELEVISION TIME: For only the second time in the last 11 games, Arkansas won't appear on television when the Hogs host UCF this weekend. The Razorbacks have been regulars on the tube since late last season including seven appearances in 2001.

The Hogs played in front of the national television cameras in the final two games of the 2000 season before appearing on the tube in seven of the first eight games of the 2001 season.

The Razorbacks' appearance on CBS Sports started the string when the Hogs downed No. 24 LSU in the 2000 season finale in Little Rock. Arkansas battled UNLV in the Las Vegas Bowl on ESPN2 last December before meeting the Rebels in a rematch in the 2001 season lidlifter on ESPN. Arkansas hosted Tennessee in a game televised by ESPN2 before battling Alabama on CBS on Sept. 22. The Hogs faced Georgia on ESPN2 on Sept. 29 before playing upsetting the No. 9 South Carolina Gamecocks on CBS. Arkansas downed No. 17 Auburn on Jefferson Pilot Sports on Oct. 27 before besting Ole Miss in an NCAA record seven overtimes on ESPN2 on Nov. 3.

Arkansas' season finale with LSU is the only other game scheduled for television (CBS) this season. Arkansas has appeared on national or regional television 165 times in its history. The Hogs own a 76-87-2 mark in those contests.

NON-CONFERENCE DOMINANCE: Arkansas has been perfect in non-conference games under Houston Nutt. The Hogs are 11-0 in his three-plus years at the helm including perfect non-SEC slates in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Arkansas is 2-0 in non-conference play this season after downing UNLV 14-10 in the season opener and topping Weber State 42-19 on Oct. 6.

Only Tennessee and Ole Miss have longer non-conference winning streaks than the Hogs in the SEC. Ole Miss has recorded 21 consecutive non-conference wins. The Vols have won 14 straight.

SUNSHINE STATE HOGS: Arkansas boasts two players from the Sunshine State on its 2001 roster. Sophomore wide receiver STEVEN HARRIS is from Hialeah, Fla. Harris is sidelined for the season after reconstructive knee surgery following an ACL injury suffered against South Carolina. Junior reserve split end BAM BRYANT is from Bartow, Fla. In addition, UA outside linebackers coach CHRIS VAUGHN is a native of Tallahassee, Fla.

ON UCF'S TURF: While Arkansas and UCF are meeting for the first time on the gridiron this season, the Razorbacks have already played a game on the Golden Knights' home field. UCF plays at the 70,188-seat Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

Arkansas played in the Florida Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 1999 vs. Michigan in the bowl game that shares the same name of the facility. The Wolverines recorded a 45-31 victory in the culmination of HOUSTON NUTT's first season as the Hogs' head coach.

LATE IN THE SLATE: This weekend's matchup with UCF marks the latest non-conference game in the schedule for the Razorbacks since 1995. Arkansas downed Louisiana-Lafayette 24-13 on Nov. 11, 1995 in Fayetteville.

UCF UPSET: The last time UCF battled an Southeastern Conference team, it came away with an upset win over Alabama on the Crimson Tide's home field in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Golden Knights' topped Alabama on Oct. 28, 2000 on the way to a 7-4 record. UCF is 1-9 overall in games against SEC members.

BEATING THE BEST: Perhaps the most impressive part of the Razorbacks' current four-game winning streak is that it includes a trio of wins over teams that were leading their division of the Southeastern Conference at the time of the matchup. In fact, Arkansas is responsible for the first league losses on the slate of both Auburn and South Carolina and the second setback for Ole Miss.

Arkansas opened that stretch with a 10-7 upset of SEC Eastern Division leader No. 9 South Carolina. After an open date, the Razorbacks posted a 42-17 win over No. 17 Auburn, handing the SEC western division leader its first conference loss of the season. The Hogs topped Ole Miss 58-56 in seven overtimes last weekend to complete the string. The Rebels entered the game tied for the lead in the SEC West with Auburn.

SEEKING A HISTORIC WIN: Arkansas will be looking for the 600th win in its storied history when the Razorbacks take on the UCF Golden Knights this weekend. The Razorbacks boast a record of 599-402-40 (.595) in 108 years of football.

BACK TO BACK UPSETS: For the third straight season, Arkansas recorded upsets of ranked teams in back-to-back games. The Razorbacks downed No. 9 South Carolina 10-7 on Oct. 13 in Little Rock before toppling No. 17 Auburn 42-17 on Oct. 27 in Fayetteville. The Hogs did have an open week between the two victories.

Arkansas just missed making that streak three in a row. At the time the Razorbacks downed Ole Miss, the Rebels were just outside the polls at 26th.

In 1999, Arkansas topped No. 3 Tennessee (28-24) and No. 12 Mississippi State (14-9) in consecutive weeks. Last season, the Hogs upset No. 13 Mississippi State (17-10) before ending the season with a win over No. 24 LSU (14-3).

AGAINST RANKED TEAMS: Arkansas is 8-7 against nationally ranked teams in HOUSTON NUTT's tenure. That mark also includes a 2-2 mark against teams ranked in the top 10.

The Razorbacks are 2-1 vs. ranked teams this season. Arkansas lost to No. 8 Tennessee (3-13) before recording back-to-back wins over No. 9 South Carolina (10-7) and No. 17 Auburn (42-17).

ARKANSAS HEAD COACH HOUSTON NUTT: In his fourth year as head coach at Arkansas, HOUSTON NUTT (Oklahoma State, 1981) has compiled a record of 28-16 (.636) with a record of 16-14 in Southeastern Conference play.

Following back-to-back 4-7 campaigns, Nutt came in and in his first three years he posted records of 9-3, 8-4 and 6-6, and joined former coaches LOU HOLTZ (1977-83) and KEN HATFIELD (1984-98) as the only Razorback coaches to lead the Hogs to bowl games in each of their first three seasons. Holtz and Hatfield each coached Arkansas to six consecutive bowl appearances.

In his first season, 1998, Arkansas was 9-3 and shared the SEC's Western Division championship with Mississippi State. The Razorbacks played Michigan in the Florida Citrus Bowl and The Football News named Nutt National Coach of the Year.

In 1999, Arkansas beat No. 3 Tennessee and No. 12 Mississippi State during the regular season, and then dominated Texas, 27-6, in the Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl as the Hogs went 8-4.

Last year, UA finished 6-6, but rallied with two wins over No. 13 MSU and No. 24 LSU in the final two regular season games to earn a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl.

Nutt's bloodlines are in Arkansas. He grew up in Little Rock, signed with the Razorbacks in 1976 and played a year for FRANK BROYLES, then a year for Holtz as a quarterback. He started four games as a freshman. Nutt also lettered as a guard on Arkansas' basketball team in 1976-77, which went 26-2. Following his sophomore year, he transferred to Oklahoma State where he also played football and basketball.

He returned to Fayetteville as a graduate assistant on Holtz's staff in 1983 and was wide receivers coach for the Razorbacks in 1990-92. He became head coach at Murray State where his last two teams won conference championships and played in the I-AA playoffs. He led the Racers to their first-ever playoff victory.

In 1997 he moved to Boise State and posted a 5-6 record in his only year at BSU. The Broncos were 2-10 the previous season and Sports Illustrated had ranked BSU last among the 112 I-A schools in its preseason issue.

His parents, Houston Sr. and Emogene, spent 35 years teaching at the Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock. His father, a 2001 inductee into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, also served as athletic director and head basketball coach. The oldest of four Nutt boys, Houston isn't the only one carrying on his father's coaching legacy. Dickey is the head basketball coach at Arkansas State, Danny is the running backs coach on Houston's staff and Dennis is the head basketball coach at Southwest Texas State.

In his ninth season as a head coach, Nutt owns an overall record of 64-38 (.627).


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