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Remembering the Horns, Hogs 1969 'Game of the Century'

Game of the Century
© Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Few games in college football history have ever had the honor of being called "The Game of the Century." One such esteemed contest is that of Arkansas and Texas on Dec. 6, 1969, in a game that would soon be known as "The Big Shootout."

With President Richard Nixon and evangelist Billy Graham in attendance, No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arkansas played in a game that took all 60 minutes to decide.

ABC Flexes 'Game of the Century'

Arkansas and Texas were set to square off in October 1969, but ABC, seeking a marquee matchup to close the 1969 season, politely asked the schools to move the date of the game to Dec. 6. Both parties agreed, and ABC had setup one of the greatest matchups in college football history. With both teams at 9-0, the winner of the December showdown had a clear path to being crowned national champion.

The chilly, icy weather in Fayetteville, Ark., made for a sloppy game. Two Texas fumbles at the start of each respective half granted Arkansas a 14-0 lead, which would've been more if not for an untimely penalty. The stifling Arkansas defense forced 6 total turnovers, making the venerable Texas wishbone offense look like a lost puppy in the thick fog of Northwest Arkansas.

Turning Point

Unfortunately for the Razorbacks, their trip with destiny all came crashing down in an instant.

Texas chopped the Arkansas lead down to 8 on a 42-yard rushing touchdown by QB James Street. After the ensuing 2-point conversion was successful, the pressure was back on the Razorbacks with the fourth quarter looming.

The two teams stayed stagnant on the scoreboard until just under 4 minutes to play, when Texas capped off a six-play, 64-yard drive with a rushing touchdown from halfback Jim Bertelsen. With Texas having gone for two on their previous touchdown drive, the extra point was all the Longhorns needed to take the lead.

Game of the Century
© Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

However, the Longhorns had left quarterback Bill Montgomery and the Razorbacks 3:58 left on the clock to orchestrate a drive that would forever immortalize the Hogs as national champions. Arkansas drove down the field, getting the ball into field-goal range before a Montgomery pass was intercepted, crushing the dreams of the more than 47,500 Razorback fans packed into Razorback Stadium.

Arkansas coach Frank Broyles could never bring himself to watch the film of the gut-wrenching loss.

Heartbroken Hogs

President Nixon would give the Longhorns a plaque to commemorate their status as "the number one college football team in college football one hundredth year." While the plaque celebrated the Longhorns prematurely, it was correct—Texas would go on to win that year's Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame to win the national championship.

The heartbroken Razorbacks, on the other hand, would go on to suffer a defeat in the Sugar Bowl at the hands of Ole Miss and legendary quarterback Archie Manning. Despite all the success Arkansas had in the 1969 season, all it would be remembered for was the heartbreaking loss to Texas.

Other "Games of the Century" have come and gone—LSU vs. Alabama, Georgia vs. Alabama, Clemson vs. Alabama—but few regular season matchups will ever be able to match the intensity of the game played on that foggy, icy day in Fayetteville.

Rivalry Renewed

The Razorbacks and Longhorns will renew their former Southwest Conference rivalry this season after Texas left the Big 12 Conference after last season to join Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference. Texas will travel to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas on Nov. 16 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium for the first matchup between the two teams since 2021. The Longhorns lead the all-time series 56-23.


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