By Sharp Williams & Rex Crane
As Arkansas and Texas meet today in the Advocare Texas Bowl, the teams meet for the 78th time. Hog Database brings you newspaper accounts of ALL 77 previous games played by Arkansas and Texas in what may very well be the first time anyone has put together newspaper accounts of an entire Arkansas rivalry. The accounts detail the drama, excitement, disappointment in all of the big games through the words of the day.
For Arkansas, Texas has been the most-played opponent throughout its history since football began as a university sport in 1894. The next closest rival is SMU with Arkansas having played 73 games against the Mustangs, followed by 72 against Tulsa and 71 against Texas A&M. Without adding any other games against Texas, SMU or Tulsa, Texas A&M won’t become Arkansas’s greatest rival in terms of games until 2023. The game is big for Arkansas fans not only because of the number of games played against Texas, but for some many years Texas had Arkansas’s number regardless of how good Arkansas was or wasn’t.
On the other hand, Texas, in terms of number of games, has longer series with Texas A&M and Oklahoma that have endured for 118 and 109 games respectively.
Undoubtedly at the worst times, both teams seem to be a source of bitter frustration for the other. No matter how many times this game is played, there’s frequently some measure of shock and surprise. Through the game accounts you’ll see Arkansas’s defeat of Texas in 1936 for the Hog’s first conference championship ever, and two years later, Arkansas managed its largest margin of victory ever over Texas.
At the end of the 1940s, Arkansas retired a jersey which is rare in its history and arguably, the fireworks didn’t start in the series until 1950 when Arkansas upset Texas 16–14. Throughout the 20 years of the 1950s and 60s, the teams traded licks with Texas winning 60% of the games and Arkansas winning 40%.
During those decades you’ll find Arkansas losing by one point to No. 3 Texas. In the following year you’ll find Arkansas beating Texas on a field goal with 15 seconds remaining. Skip two years over and you’ll see No. 1 Texas being Arkansas on a touchdown with 36 seconds left. The following year Texas was No.1 again and squeaked by Arkansas with a four-point victory. But the slugfest wasn’t over, the following year Texas was No. 1 and Arkansas beat them 14 to 13. Cue the next year and the Hogs beat the top-ranked Longhorns one more time 27–24. You’ll find the “The Big Shootout.”
Off the field, you’ll find the account of titans Frank Broyles and Darrell Royal resigning their head coaching positions at their respective schools following the 1976 Arkansas-Texas game.
Toward the end of the 70s, Arkansas and Texas started making hell for each other. Texas defeated No. 3 Arkansas by touchdown and then the following year the Hogs beat the No. 2 Longhorns. Two years later, Arkansas handed Texas it’s most crushing defeat as the Longhorns were ranked No. 1 and Arkansas thrashed Texas in Fayetteville. But then there were plenty of games like the ones that followed. In the following two years, Texas beat Arkansas by margins of 26 and 28 points before the following year when unranked Arkansas’s drive for the win ended at the No. 3 Texas 3 yard line. Or then there’s the game that leaves everyone shaking their heads pass Texas put together five field goals to beat Arkansas’s two touchdowns.
Series wasn’t without more blows. Texas won on the last play the game in Little Rock and the following year, an Arkansas interception with two minutes remaining in the game sealed an Arkansas victory. When Arkansas was expected to win, ranked No. 7, the Razorbacks lost to unranked Texas. Even within the last 10 years, Arkansas found itself driving the field as time is running out, needing only a field goal for a victory when Texas intercepted the ball to seal the victory.
Believe it or don’t, the rivalry with Texas had a sideline story one season — Arkansas playing Arkansas State debate. A reader will probably be shocked as to how long that debate has been really going on.
Hog Database wouldn’t be Hog Database without some numbers. The overall series record has 56 wins for Texas and 21 wins for Arkansas which by the percentages work out to mirror images, for Texas 72.7272… and for Arkansas 27.272727.
For Arkansas over the years, one would think that any Southwest Conference Championship necessarily went through the University of Texas. However, that would be wrong. Arkansas won or shared 13 Southwest Conference championships. In seven of those seasons Arkansas beat Texas while the Hogs lost to the Longhorns in six. On the other hand, Texas won or shared some 22 conference championships during seasons when the Longhorns played Arkansas. Texas won 21 of those 22 games. Four times Arkansas and Texas shared Southwest conference championships, 1975, 1968, 1961 and 1959.
13 times, the teams have played games decided by three points or fewer. The Razorbacks won 7 of those games, but then there’s the ugly. Over the series 29 games had margins of victory of 20 points or more. Texas won 25 of those. Arkansas has been ranked 25 times when playing Texas and won only 12 games while Texas was ranked 40 times and won 33 games. (Of course, rankings over the years are somewhat fungible so this is a guide.)
We hope you enjoy reading about the Arkansas Texas series!
Here are the links to the games for each year. At the bottom of each page are links to the next year and the previous year.
Hog Database makes no claim to the publications listed. Each are cited.