Classic matchup in the Rock
Rebels, Hogs have played some doozies through the years.
There has been one tie in the University of Arkansas’ football series against Ole Miss, but the way the Razorbacks and their fans figure it, there should be two.
Ken Hatfield’s first game as Arkansas’ coach on Sept. 15, 1984, ended in a 14-14 tie against the Rebels at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Hatfield also was at the Arkansas-Ole Miss game at War Memorial Stadium on Oct. 22, 1960 — this time as a fan during his senior year at Helena Central High School — when the Rebels won 10-7.
The Razorbacks are convinced the game should have been a 7-7 tie.
Hatfield, a star defensive back and punt returner as a senior on the Razorbacks’ 11-0 team in 1964, said he’ll be in the War Memorial Stadium stands again tonight when Arkansas plays Ole Miss for the 16th and possibly last time in Little Rock.
Future Razorbacks games at War Memorial Stadium will be against Missouri based on an agreement between the UA administration and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
“I’m excited about seeing Arkansas play Ole Miss at least one more time in Little Rock,” Hatfield said. “We’ve had some memorable games there.”
Among the most memorable was the 1960 game, which ended on the Rebels’ 39yard field goal by Allen Green that lifted No. 2 Ole Miss to a three-point victory.
The Razorbacks were sure the kick was wide left and blamed referee Tommy Bell for a makeup call.
Green kicked a field goal a few seconds before his second disputed kick, but the first field goal didn’t count because Bell called a timeout because of excessive crowd noise.
“The first kick was right down the middle,” Jesse Branch, a sophomore running back and defensive back for the 1960 Razorbacks, said this week. “There was no question about it.
“But when we watched film of the second kick, you can see the Ole Miss players pounding their hands on the ground. They thought they had missed it. Then you see the referee with his hands up in the air, and you’re thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ “
After Bell’s timeout negated the first Ole Miss field goal, the Razorbacks believed Bell signaled Green’s second attempt as being good to atone for his mistake.
“I’ve never been beaten by a field goal that wasn’t good,” Arkansas coach Frank Broyles said after the game, according to an Arkansas Gazette article. “I knew it wasn’t any good, you knew it wasn’t any good, everybody in the park knew it wasn’t any good.
“Why, even the Ole Miss players told our boys it wasn’t any good.”
Hatfield said that from his spot about 20 rows up on the east side of the stadium, he couldn’t tell whether Green’s second attempt was good.
“I was watching the south end zone because the people there had the best view of the kick, and they all jumped up and shouted, ‘It’s no good!’ ” Hatfield said. “Then I looked down on the field and the officials were all running for the exit.
“As soon as that kick started, they just signaled good, and turned and ran their butts off the field.”
According to newspaper reports, several fights broke out in the stands between Arkansas and Ole Miss fans.
“I remember there was a lot of animosity and yelling,” Hatfield said. “It was a melee. I wasn’t involved in any of the altercations, but there were a lot going on around me. Nobody was leaving the stadium. They were wanting the officials
to come back on the field so they could get justice.”
Hatfield said the stadium lights were turned off a few minutes after the game.
“There weren’t enough [security] people around to control the crowd, and everybody was so angry,” Hatfield said. “They turned off the lights to quiet the crowd down and so everybody would just go home.”
Harold Horton, who played for the Razorbacks in 19591961, was on the sideline for Green’s game-winning kick.
“You just don’t think about anything like that happening in a football game, because it was so evident that the kick was wide left,” Horton said this week. “That was a heartbreaker.
“You put your faith and belief and trust in officials, and [Bell] wasn’t honest. He was just wrong. But he didn’t change his mind.”
A happier Arkansas-Ole Miss memory for the Razorbacks in Little Rock is from the 1954 game.
Arkansas used “The Powder River Play” to beat No. 5 Ole Miss 6-0. The play was named after a river in Wyoming,
where Bowden Wyatt coached before leading the Razorbacks in 1953-1954.
Buddy Bob Benson, known as a running quarterback, caught Ole Miss by surprise with a 66-yard touchdown pass to Preston Carpenter off a fake sweep.
Carpenter faked a block on the defensive end, then slipped outside, was wide open for Benson’s pass and scored a touchdown with less than four minutes left in the game.
Eddie Bradford played left tackle for the Razorbacks on the play.
“It was one of the biggest and most successful plays in our football history,” Bradford said this week. “The play was perfectly executed.
“Buddy Bob saw Preston and made a perfect pass, and Preston was big enough, strong enough and fast enough to out distance the opposition. When we scored, the fans went wild.”
The game was played in front of 38,000 — Arkansas’ first sellout at War Memorial Stadium — and is credited with creating statewide support for the Razorbacks.
The Rebels were 105-16-7 between 1952 and 1963 under coach John Vaught.
“Ole Miss was like Alabama of that time,” Horton said. “Arkansas beating Ole Miss in ’54 got nationwide attention.”
The Rebels beat the Razorbacks 21-10 in 1913 in the teams’ first Little Rock game at West End Park, which was home to the Arkansas Travelers baseball team.
Both teams count their 1914 game in Little Rock as a victory. Arkansas claims a 1-0 forfeit because Ole Miss used an ineligible player. Ole Miss denies that charge and in its record book lists a 13-7 victory.
The 1914 game, according to newspaper reports, also resulted in Arkansas coach E.K. Pickering being arrested after he got into a fight with a photographer who he believed was getting too close to the field.
Seventy years later in Little Rock, Hatfield found his Razorbacks fighting for their lives in his first game as Arkansas’ coach.
“I was just so excited standing in the tunnel getting ready to run out on the field and knowing what all of our
guys were going to experience with people from every part of the state being there,” said Hatfield, recalling his playing days for the Razorbacks at War Memorial Stadium. “All that adrenaline was flowing. It was a mountain top high, but it didn’t last long.”
Ole Miss scored touchdowns on its first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead.
“It was 14-0 before we even had made a first down,” Hatfield said. “Being a good accounting major, I quickly added that up and said, ‘We’re going to get beat 112-0 in the opening game, and that ain’t real good.’ ”
Arkansas tied it 14-14 in the second quarter on a touchdown run by fullback Marshall Foreman and Brad Taylor’s touchdown pass to Donnie Centers.
Neither team scored in the second half.
Ole Miss had a chance for a game-winning field goal, but Bill Smith, from Mills, missed a 54-yard attempt on the final play.
This time the Ole Miss field goal attempt was wide right — and the officials called it correctly.
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