Underdog Hogs Hoping To Repeat History

FAYETTEVILLE — Jake Bequette knows a thing or two about the Arkansas-Texas rivalry.

The Arkansas defensive end's grandfather, George, played in three wins against the Longhorns. His uncle, Chris, was part of the team that won at Texas in 1986. And his father, Jay, played for the Razorbacks when they beat top-ranked Texas in 1981.

"I grew up around this rivalry my whole life," Bequette said.

So even though the Hogs are a whopping, 28-point underdog to the seventh-ranked Longhorns on Saturday, the redshirt freshman should at least take solace in the history of the storied series.

Unranked Arkansas has played against a ranked Texas squad 17 times. Most of those games didn't go the Razorbacks' way, but every now and then a surprising performance took place.

In fact, it happened the last time the teams played in Austin in 2003. An unranked and under-the-radar Arkansas stunned fifth-ranked Texas during a 38-28 win. It has happened three other times, too, in 1951 (16-14), 1960 (24-23) and 1981 (42-11).

Larry Beightol, who was an assistant coach on Lou Holtz's staff during Arkansas' win in 1981, said it proves anything is possible.

"That's what makes college football so interesting. There are no crystal balls," said Beightol, who now co-hosts a radio show in Northwest Arkansas. "Do I feel like the Hogs have a great chance to win this week? No. I would think by the numbers and so forth it doesn't look that way. But it is Texas week. It is the Texas game."

There may be no better example than the 1981 game, which is remembered as one of the greatest moments in Arkansas history. The Longhorns were ranked No. 1 in the country when they traveled to Arkansas in October, but were overwhelmed.

Defensive end Billy Ray Smith forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage. Arkansas scored right after that. And they went on to notch their most lopsided win against the Longhorns.

"It seemed like everything we did was right and everything they did went against them," Beightol said. "They were a great team, but our guys fought and competed. It was unbelievable."

Texas brought the best out of the unranked Razorbacks again in 2003, when former coach Houston Nutt's team rolled in Austin.

Quarterback Matt Jones, running back Cedric Cobbs, offensive tackle Shawn Andrews and the rest of a veteran Razorbacks team dominated Texas in the trenches. The Hogs rushed for 265 yards, allowed only 62 and capitalized on three Texas turnovers.

"We just kind of felt like we were the red-headed stepchild," former Arkansas safety Tony Bua said. "That's how they looked at us. So we had a chip on our shoulder going into the game and we definitely wanted to have a good showing."

Texas coach Mack Brown said the Longhorns haven't forgotten what happened during Arkansas' last visit. None of the players on the 2003 team are still competing, but several current Longhorns watched the game in person or were sitting at home.

With that in mind, Brown said he has a remarkable amount of respect for the underdog Razorbacks. His players do, too.

"All bets are out the window in a rivalry game like this," Texas offensive lineman Adam Ulatoski said. "We're going to have to go out there and play our best game against them."

But former Arkansas running back De'Arrius Howard believes the Razorbacks are in a perfect position to pull off a surprise just like the four unranked teams who beat ranked Texas. He said very few predict the Razorbacks will play well against the Longhorns on Saturday, leaving Arkansas' young bunch with nothing to lose.

Howard said Arkansas' win in 2003 taught him just how much a win against Texas means to the entire state. He was one of the most visible players after the game, planting an Arkansas flag on Texas' field and jumping into the crowd to celebrate.

It's something Howard hopes the Razorbacks can repeat.

"They should have no pressure on them," he said. "I'll be rooting for them. I hope they (win). At the end of the game, I hope somebody spikes another Razorback flag on their house."

The newest batch of Arkansas underdogs aren't really concerned about anything like that right now, though.

Instead, Bequette and the Razorbacks would settle for erasing last week's frustrations by adding themelves to a small ist of unranked Arkansas teams to knock off a ranked Texas.

"That was an incredible win (in 2003)," Bequette said. "I remember how much this state just took pride in that victory.

"It would be great to kind of reinvent that feeling."

Long Odds

Arkansas, which is a 28-point underdog this weekend, has been in this situation before. The unranked Razorbacks have played a ranked Texas team 17 other times in school history. Here is a look at how the Razorbacks have fared in those games:

Year Texas Ranking Result

1940 14 L, 21-0

1941 2 L, 48-14

1942 20 L, 47-6

1945 10 L, 34-7

1947 3 L, 21-6

1949 16 L, 27-14

1950 7 L, 19-14

1951 4 W, 16-14

1958 7 L, 24-6

1960 11 W, 24-23

1974 16 L, 38-7

1981 1 W, 42-11

1983 2 L, 31-15

1984 3 L, 24-18

1990 19 L, 49-17

2003 5 W, 38-28

2004 7 L, 22-20

Source: Arkansas Sports Information

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