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Throwback Thursday: A Memorable Opener

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A look back at Bobby Petrino’s debut at Arkansas.

Arkansas v Texas Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Something new for this season, Throwback Thursdays. A chance to look back at some memorable moments in Razorback Football. With this being the debut of Chad Morris with the Hogs, we decided to take a look back at another similar season opener, with another coaching debut.

August 30, 2008

Ten years ago today, the first game under new head coach Bobby Petrino almost turned into a nightmare in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Instead of this year’s opponent, Eastern Illinois, it was the team from the other side of the state, Western Illinois, who came into Fayetteville and nearly escaped with an upset victory.

The Leathernecks were heavy underdogs but on the opening kickoff, things immediately went awry as Elton Ford elected to take the kick from three yards deep in his end zone out, then subsequently fumbled it to WIU.

Arkansas held them to a field goal, but WIU’s confidence was soaring.

Eventually it led 24-14 with just under 8 minutes remaining, but that’s when senior quarterback Casey Dick decided to take matters into his own hands.

He threw a touchdown strike to true freshman Greg Childs to cut it to 3, then ran in a touchdown himself and pointed to the student section to give the Razorbacks the lead and win, which avoided making Petrino the first Hog coach to lose his debut since the late Frank Broyles in 1958.

Arkansas found itself in similar hot water the following week against ULM (foreshadowing, anyone?), but again Dick figured his way out of it, converting a huge fourth down with a long pass to true freshman Chris Gragg to eke out a 28-27 victory.

Here are highlights from the great WARMACHINE2013 on the WIU game.