Middle Of The Second

Houston Nutt set the tone for the 2004 football season by leading his Razorbacks onto the field with his index finger raised high in salute to 70,114 fans who had come to watch Arkansas trounce New Mexico State.

Before Nutt reached the Arkansas sideline, Hogs tailback De'Arrius Howard nearly ran him over.

The UA players and coaches were so cranked that they couldn't even keep from adding a tack-on touchdown on straight-handoff plays in the final seconds of a 63-13 win.

As the thoroughly beaten Aggies trudged off the field, they had to listen to Arkansas fans chanting, "We want Texas!"

Well, this Texas-Arkansas rivalry is where many of us Hogs followers came in. It helped drive college football in the 1960s, when one or both of the two former Southwest Conference teams often contended for the national title.

Arkansas sentiments were expressed in October of 1965 by Dr. Andrew Hall, who posted on the First Baptist Church sign in Fayetteville, "Football is only a game. Eternal things are spiritual. Nevertheless, Beat Texas."

The Razorbacks did indeed beat Texas that year, 27-24, on the darnedest late-game, 80-yard drive imaginable, with Jon "Quarterbackin' Man" Brittenum completing passes to Bobby Crockett all the way down the field -- the last one a spectacular grab by Crockett at the Texas 1-yard line -- and then sneaking the final yard for the go-ahead touchdown as an entire state went crazy.

Harry Jones, one of the nine new UA Sports Hall of Honor Inductees, had gotten his indoctrination into the UA-UT rivalry the year before, in 1964, when Arkansas shocked No. 1 Texas 14-13, in Austin, Texas.

"Everybody was singing 'The Eyes of Texas' and I was scared to death, playing free safety as a sophomore," Jones recalled. "I got a 15-yard penalty for piling on on the first play, I was so nervous. And it was a quarterback sneak!"

Loyd Phillips, Arkansas' Outland Trophy lineman in 1966 -- whom Jones still calls "the greatest football player ever to put on a Razorback uniform" -- had similarly vivid memories of his first tussle with Texas in 1964.

Phillips, of Longview, Texas, knew many of the Longhorns, but that didn't cut any ice with them.

"On the opening kickoff, Pete Lammons (of Texas) split my lip," Phillips said. "The first thing that hit the ground was my helmet, falling backwards. I thought, 'Well, (UA assistant coaches) Wilson Matthews and Jim Mackenzie told me it was going to be tough."

I'll save further stories about that 1964 game for a look-back story this week, except for this one by former Hogs wingback Jim Lindsey.

"When we got ready to leave the stadium after the game, Texas fans were all around our bus and we had to walk through them," Lindsey said. "Wilson Matthews started singing our song, 'We don't give a damn about the whole state of Texas.' We were all singing and their fans were rocking our bus.

"Of course, (current Dallas Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones can't sing that song anymore."

What Jerry Jones, another new UA Hall of Honor inductee, can do is reminisce with the best of them.

Before the banquet Friday night in Springdale, Jerry Jones said, "That (1964) game changed us. We came home and looked at ourselves in the mirror differently. When you win a game in the fourth quarter, you've got to have character."

Jim Grizzle of Fort Smith, who preceded Jerry Jones to Arkansas by a year, was a character in his own right.

"Never fear -- Grizzle is here," he would say when he entered the huddle as a defensive end in a tough spot.

Once asked by coaches during practice what he would do if a particular offensive player did a certain maneuver, Grizzle said simply, "I'd whup him."

Naturally, Jerry Jones gravitated to Grizzle for friendship as a lonely freshman. Grizzle took Jones under his wing, invited him to his room at old Wilson Sharp Dorm, showed him a huge stash of homemade cookies and offered to share them if Jones wouldn't tell any other players.

It took Grizzle and Jones two weeks to finish the cookies, after which time Jones went to Grizzle's room to thank him. It was then that Jones saw the note from his mother, who had intended all the cookies for him.



GRANT HALL IS A MORNING NEWS SPORTS WRITER. HIS COLUMN APPEARS EACH MONDAY. E-MAIL: GHALL@NWAONLINE.NET




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