Football games last an hour—which is a lucky thing for Texas. One minute short of that hour in its game against Arkansas in Austin last Saturday night. Texas was in jeopardy of losing a whole bundle—the game, its ranking as the nation's top team and, most probably, the Southwest Conference title. But with only 36 seconds left to play, a bulldog of a tailback named Tommy Ford cracked into the Arkansas line for three precious yards and the touchdown that gave Texas the game, 7-3. Even as Ford lay in the end zone, the whole world seemed to explode. Cannons went off. Cushions flew through the air. Bugles blared, horns honked and drums banged. People—and there were more than 64,000 of them in the stadium—screamed and yelled and slugged each other happily while a sad few, Arkansas rooters, cried and silently cut their throats. Texas was the winner and still heavyweight champion of college football.
Not in years has a football game in the Southwest Conference attracted so much excitement. Governor Faubus of Arkansas didn't have a ticket, so he phoned Governor Daniel of Texas, who didn't have one either. When it started raining on Friday, no one seemed to mind. Late into the night the sidewalks were still crowded with happy people, some singing the familiar Eyes of Texas, others piercing the air with the call of the hog, symbol of the Arkansas Razorback.
It wasn't many years ago that the hog call sounded hoarse, tears were in the eyes of Texas and a game between Arkansas and Texas was just another line in the Sunday papers. Then in 1957 Texas hired Darrell Royal, and a year later Arkansas hired Frank Broyles. Since then the two coaches have dominated the Southwest Conference with theír energy, imagination and keen sense of public relations. Arkansas has now won or shared the conference title for the last three years. On the two occasions it shared the title the co-winner was Texas. This season both teams, clearly the dominant powers in the conference, won their first four games, thus setting the stage for their crucial clash at Austin.
The two coaches are about as similar in looks, background and personality as the sound of their last names. Broyles is 37, has reddish hair, was a star quarterback at Georgia Tech, has his own TV show, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink and plays golf in the mid-70s, not quite as well, he says, as Darrell Royal. Royal is 38, has reddish hair, was a star quarterback at Oklahoma, has his own TV show, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink and plays golf in the mid-70s, not quite as well, he says, as Frank Broyles.
There are some differences between the two men, of course. During the football season Royal lives on a steady diet of sleeping pills. Not Broyles. The pills on his desk are for hay fever. Not that Broyles doesn't get nervous. He simply stops eating and loses 15 pounds or so.
Royal and Broyles are good friends, and they often play golf together. They both belong to the coaches' committee that ranks the nation's top teams each week. Last week, after Texas was ranked first, Broyles freely admitted that was where he picked them. Arkansas was ranked sixth, but it received one first-place vote. Royal just grinned.
Thus began a week of psychological warfare. Everything each said or did was suspect and subject to intense scrutiny in the papers. When Broyles said on three successive days that his team had been practicing to stop Texas' strong running game, some people decided he was trying to bluff Royal into passing more often and that Arkansas was really practicing pass defense.
Royal picked a midweek luncheon to begin firing up his team. Casting the alumni and Texas football writers as the villains, he defended his team against what he called unjust criticism. "I'm getting sick of people asking what's wrong with the Longhorns," he roared. "Our players are undefeated and yet they're going around with their chins on their chests." Then, as if to stress the absurdity of the situation, Royal announced five changes in his starting lineup, including the quarterback. "We haven't been scoring enough," he said.
When they weren't trying to outpsych one another, Royal and Broyles were figuring out how to stop the other's attack. The Texas plan, simply, was to keep Arkansas' high-geared offense from going wide, which meant trying to contain the sprint-out pass-run options of Quarterback Billy Moore, the leading gainer in the Southwest Conference. To hear Darrell Royal tell it, Moore combines the better aspects of Doak Walker and Bobby Layne. He is, in fact, a little guy, but he's tough and cocky. Against Tulsa this season he found himself holding the ball on his own 10-yard line when his fullback blew a play. Moore quickly whirled, ducked through the hole the fullback should have taken and ran 90 yards for a touchdown, the longest scoring run in Arkansas history. As a passer, Moore was inadequate as a sophomore, but he has improved tremendously. Royal felt that to stop Moore would be to beat Arkansas.
Broyles was worried about every phase of Texas' game, but what probably worried him most was the rugged Texas defense, of which a major part was Ernie Koy Jr. A sophomore, Koy is one of the best punters in the country, averaging more than 40 yards a kick. Both Royal and Broyles are dedicated field-position men, and to such a game Koy is a tremendous asset. His amazing ability to kick the ball quickly, yet high and far, so that there is no run back, has lifted Texas out of several holes. Broyles hoped to combat Koy's quick kick by keeping his safety man 10 yards deeper than normal and letting him rush up if Texas lined up in a normal formation.
The preparation by both teams was evident in the first quarter of the game. Arkansas forced Texas back near its own goal line, and its deep safety man discouraged Texas from quick-kicking. Texas, on its part, stopped Arkansas' outside attack, the ends doing their job well. On the sidelines Broyles and Royal paced back and forth like expectant fathers, Broyles with his shirttails hanging out, Royal nervously mopping his forehead with the back of his hand.
Early in the second quarter Billy Moore caught Texas guarding too much outside and sent his fullback up the middle for nine yards and a first down. When Texas drew in Moore flipped a little pass for nine more yards. But that was all the big Texas line would permit. On fourth down from the 24-yard line, Broyles sent in a sophomore center named Tom McKnelly and told him to kick a field goal. McKnelly had never kicked one before, but that didn't worry him. He gave the ball a boot, and it shot forward like a rocket. If the goal posts had been 10 yards farther away and only three feet wide, the kick still would have been good. Arkansas led 3-0.
In the third quarter it almost led by more. Playing beautifully, Moore brought the Razorbacks to the three. There he gave the ball to Danny Brabham, a tackle turned fullback. Brabham made it to the goal line, perhaps over, but without the ball. Texas recovered in the end zone, and Arkansas was never to have such a chance again.
In spite of this disappointment, Arkansas looked like a winner well into the final quarter. There was certainly no hint of the drama ahead when Quarterback Duke Carlisle lost five yards on his own 15, with 8:13 left to play. The Arkansas goal was 90 yards away, almost as many yards as Texas had been able to gain in the entire game. Perhaps Arkansas sensed the victory at hand and relaxed. In any event, Carlisle passed for 12 yards and again for 11, and Texas had a first down on its own 33. On opposite sidelines Broyles and Royal were doing the dance of madmen, Royal sending in players to keep the momentum, Broyles sending in players to stop it.
But there was no slopping it. Arkansas intercepted a pass on its own 35 only to be told that it had been intercepted a foot out of bounds. With 40 seconds left, Texas' Johnny Genung was trapped on the nine, but as he was falling he managed to flip a little pass that was knocked down. It was a magnificent effort that stopped the clock.
At this moment Darrell Royal sent Tommy Ford back into the game. Ford got the ball, slanted off tackle and a hole opened up. "All I could see was green grass and the end zone," he said later. Ford fell over the goal line, and the state of Texas went out of its mind.
With the crack of the final gun, Darrell Royal, surrounded by a mob, fought his way toward midfield. Frank Broyles, surrounded by no one, was there to meet him. The two shook hands in the traditional manner, no more, no less. Then Royal began trading hugs and punches with his assistant coaches as the whole group was borne off toward the dressing room. Broyles watched him an instant, turned and walked away, his right hand idly tucking in his shirttail.
Texas' Royal exhorts team in final minutes.
Arkansas' Billy Moore, a hero in a losing cause, hands off to Fullback Jesse Branch.