New Hogs Learn Of Texas Rivarly

FAYETTEVILLE — As a kid growing up in Bainbridge, Ga., Malcolm Sheppard had no idea about the history of the Arkansas-Texas rivalry.

In his hometown, college football fans care more about who wins the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party between Florida and Georgia.

They don't talk about Ken Hatfield's 81-yard punt return against Texas in 1964 or tell stories about attending "The Game of the Century" in 1969.

"To be honest, I didn't know anything about it," the Arkansas defensive tackle said of the rivalry. "Since I've been here, I've looked at a couple of history books and watched a couple of old videos about it."

He's not alone, though.

Several Arkansas players, who weren't raised locally or in Texas, have had to get a crash course on the rivalry that dates back to the days of the now-defunct Southwest Conference.

And they've heard even more about the series as they prepare to face the No. 8 Longhorns (2-0) on Saturday for the 77th time in school history.

"That's one of the things you learn when you come up here, is Arkansas and Texas don't get along very well," said Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick, a native of Allen, Texas. "That's something that they take very seriously, obviously."

Coincidentally, Dick was in attendance the last time the Razorbacks traveled to Austin, shocking the then No. 5-ranked Longhorns 38-28 in 2003.

So did that game help convince him that he had made the right decision to play for the Razorbacks?

"Definitely didn't hurt it, I'll tell you that much," Dick said, cracking a smile.

For Texas' players, the series with Arkansas doesn't seem to carry as much significance or bring up as much emotion as their rivalries with Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and defensive tackle Roy Miller, both native Texans, said Monday that Arkansas was a rivalry game. But they said so without strong conviction.

"I think that Texas feels like (it has) a lot of rivals. Our fans usually talk about the game of the week," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "... So many of the kids now at Arkansas and Texas were not alive when some of those games were really important (between the two schools)."

But the rivalry still holds significance for Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette. He's the fourth member of his family to play for the Razorbacks, so disliking Texas has become almost like a family tradition.

His father, Jay Bequette (1980-82), grandfather George Bequette (1954-56) and uncle Chris Bequette (1984-87) each faced the Longhorns as Arkansas players.

At the same time, two of his aunts and both his grandfather and grandmother on his mother's side went to school at Texas. Talk about a house divided.

"I've grown up around this rivalry my whole life. My dad, I watched a couple of his Texas games on film," Bequette said. "My entire mom's family went to UT pretty much, so I'm going to have family rooting for the Razorbacks (on Saturday). I'm going to have family rooting for UT."

Arkansas has faced Texas more than any other opponent in school history, but the two programs will meet Saturday for only the fourth time in the past 17 years. The last meeting was a 22-20 loss in Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 2004.

Still, the series remains an intense rivalry for Arkansas fans, who still tell stories about past games and buy copies of "Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming" at local bookstores.

Even Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino quickly found out how important the rivalry is for some Arkansas fans. Questions about Texas were common during his booster club visits in the offseason.

But Petrino admits he learned a lot about the history of the rivalry from a TV special he watched on Arkansas' 1964 national championship team.

Rather than helping his wife clean the house as he was supposed to, Petrino got a better understanding for why fans still hold a grudge against that other school in Austin.

"You found out in a hurry that not a lot of people in Arkansas like Texas," Petrino said. "It didn't take very long to understand that."

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