This is the fifth in a week-long series of posts sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
The Razorbacks have certainly produced their share of memorable moments both good and bad over the years, but for the sake of my blood pressure (and yours), I'm only going to focus on the positive ones today.
The list below includes 10 moments that will always stand out in my memory as a Hog fan (some moments are literally moments, others are entire games). I should note that this is a personal list: it's not the best games, or the most important ones...just the ones that particularly stand out to me. Definitely share your own thoughts in the comments section!
So, in reverse chronological order, here we go:
1. Arkansas vs Georgia, 2009 (1st quarter): Introducing Ryan Mallett
The Bobby Petrino era truly began in the first quarter of this game, as Mallett lived up to the hype (and then some) by tossing NFL-style TD passes to Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs in quick succession. Although a now-familiar defensive breakdown cost the Hogs a victory, I'll never forget the feeling of watching bomb after bomb in the early part of the game and thinking, "who are these guys in Arkansas jerseys??"
2. Arkansas vs LSU, 2008 (4th quarter): Casey Dick's Finale
Dick certainly won't go down in history as one of the great Hog QBs, but it was hard not to be moved watching him lead the Razorbacks to a last-second victory over the vastly more talented LSU Tigers in his final game (after being benched in favor of his brother, nonetheless!). A gritty and inspiring performance, and one of my favorite games ever.
3. Arkansas vs LSU, 2007 (entire game): Bringing That Wood
Friday night in Death Valley. #1 LSU. McFadden. Jones. Hillis. The Wild Hog offense. Houston Nutt's swan song as Head Hog. Comebacks on both sides. Multiple overtimes. Dick laying out an LSU defender to spring D-Mac for a TD run. The greatest postgame interview ever. This game had it all, people!
4. Arkansas vs Tennessee, 2006 (1st half): Unveiling the Wildcat
No one quite knew what to expect as UT and ESPN's College Football Gameday came to Fayetteville to meet the 11th ranked Hogs. Could the Razorbacks perform in the national spotlight? As it turned out, they used the occasion to unveil the Wildcat offense and utterly befuddle the Vols in ways that hadn't even been previously imagined. With D-Mac running the show, we were practically scoring at will in the first half. Watching Arkansas abuse Tennessee on the big stage was a sweet, sweet moment indeed.
5. Arkansas vs LSU, 2002 (final minute): Miracle
No words for this one...just watch the clip:
6. Arkansas vs Texas, 2000 (entire game): Ringing in the New Century
Routing the Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl? Talk about getting the 21st century off to a great start.
7. Arkansas vs Tennessee, 1999 (entire game): Clint Stoerner's Redemption
The 1998 game against Tennessee remains one of the most brutal defeats not just in Razorback history, but in all of college football. So to exact some measure of revenge by defeating the Vols the next year by the exact same score just feels right. Stoerner to Lucas for the win!
8. Arkansas vs Alabama, 1995 (last play): Welcome to the SEC
At the beginning of their 4th season in the SEC, the Hogs didn't have a lot of big victories (or success of any sort, really) to their name, so knocking off Alabama on the last play of the game was just what the doctor ordered. (And the fact that Crimson Tide fans still claim it wasn't really a TD makes it that much sweeter.)
9. Arkansas vs Houston, 1989 (entire game): Aerial Assault
I had the pleasure of watching this one from the north end zone of War Memorial Stadium. Ken Hatfield threw out the conservative playbook and let Grovey, Russell, Rouse and crew match Houston's run & shoot offense big play for big play. [video clip is sadly no longer on YouTube]
10. Arkansas vs Texas A&M, 1986 (final defensive stand): Turning Back the Aggies
Ultimately, not a hugely significant game in Razorback history, but I have fond memories of watching this one at War Memorial with my dad. A&M was really good (#7) that year, and drove to the 10 yard line in the final minute with a chance to win, but the Hogs held 'em off four straight times to pull it out. An absolute nailbiter. (Thanks to YouTube user acnhs09 for so many of the great clips.)