For four burdensome weeks a sign in the dressing room of the No. 1-ranked University of Texas had read: THEY SAY WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN—BUT WHO SAYS WHEN? Well, Arkansas said. Last Saturday night in Austin, in a football game replete with heroism, frenzy and suspense, the Longhorns surrendered their throne reluctantly but gallantly to the deserving Razorbacks by a score of 14-13. It is only partly true that Arkansas won when Texas gambled on a two-point conversion try and failed in the final minute and 27 seconds. Actually, Arkansas won all night long, to the astonished regret of 66,000 spectators.
Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles finally defeated his good friend and rival, Darrell Royal, in the Southwest Conference's annual big game because his Razorbacks played mistake-free football. They were quick, alert and poised, and they pressed Texas into slight errors on two critical plays. A pass from Texas Quarterback Marv Kristynik to Halfback Hix Green for an attempted conversion after a violent, final-period comeback by Royal's team was just inches too low. When it hit the Memorial Stadium turf incomplete, so did Royal. He knelt, placed his thumb and forefinger between his eyes and stared into the night, frozen, stunned and perhaps relieved. Across the field Broyles was exultant—it was only the second time in seven years that he had beaten Texas and Royal. "The greatest victory in the history of Arkansas," he said.
Kristynik's pass was one of those slight errors. The other occurred early in the fourth quarter when a Texas lineman wearily failed to get off the field on an Arkansas punt with the score tied 7-7. Texas had just scored on a 46-yard drive and would have had the ball again at its own 40—"with momentum," said Royal. But the penalty against Texas for having 12 men on the field permitted Arkansas to keep possession and set up a march that ended in a 34-yard touchdown pass from Fred Marshall to End Bobby Crockett.
While the missed two-point conversion and the extra man on the field combined to destroy Texas, there was a third play midway in the second quarter that set the tone. With the score 0-0, Texas' Ernie Koy, a magnificent player who crashed through Arkansas for 110 yards, punted high and far. Ken Hatfield, whose specialties are punt returns (he led the U.S. last year) and dating Miss America runner-up Karen Carlson, caught the ball on his 19-yard line with burnt-orange jerseys pouring down on him. One tackier missed, then another and, suddenly, Hatfield had an alley right past the Arkansas bench. He was gone, 81 yards and a touchdown.
"He's done that for them for three years," Royal said. "You let up for an instant against a good team, and it costs you. They blocked better than we covered, that's all."
Said Broyles, "In a game between two good teams, something like Hatfield's return has to happen to give one of them that something extra. It carried us in the second and third quarters when we made only one first down. Before the game we thought we could win if we could get some mistakes from Texas, no matter how small. We barely got them, and we barely won."
For years now, Arkansas and Texas have resembled one another, even if Arkansas has failed to win as often. Like Texas, Arkansas' players are lean, fiery types who bounce up after each play, spring from the huddle and pursue ball-carriers in such numbers that it appears whole fraternities have climbed out of the stands. The major difference between the two teams this year, and last Saturday, is that Broyles has embraced the forward pass with more fondness than Royal. He has added the I-slot formation and placed all his trust in a throwing quarterback, Fred Marshall.
"I just believe you've got to be able to throw nowadays," said Broyles. "Texas is the only team I know of that can win without exceptional passing, because they have great timing and they block and tackle so well. They were a great football team on those two fourth-quarter drives, you know."
Darrell Royal's ideas of passing are unchanged this year, however. "A quarterback has just two jobs," Royal says. "He has to move the ball and get it across the alumni stripe (goal line), and any way he can do it is all right." For years Royal's Texas quarterbacks (Kristynik is typical; he was a guard his junior year in Bay City High School) have been laughed at by the pro scouts, but they have been good enough to make Royal the best coach in the land. They have been alert, smart and gutty.
"I don't dislike the pass as much as I've let on," Darrell admits. "I've gone out of my way to make fun of passing because people seem to expect it of me and it's become a joke."
Texas' loss to Arkansas will not change Royal's mind about passing, even if it was a missed pass that did him in. "Kristnyik did a fine job of taking us in there," said Royal. "I was proud that with all the pressure in the world on 'em, they got the touchdown that would have tied the game. The question was not whether to try for two—when you're on top you try to stay there or learn how other folks live—but what play to use. I guess I called a bad one—a pass."
Royal was the first visitor in Arkansas' rowdy dressing room, and he said to his conquerors, "You have a great team and earned it. I hope you bring another national championship to the Southwest Conference, but—remember—we'll be right behind you to pick up everything you drop."
And then while Frank Broyles assumed the burden of the unbeaten that the Texas coach had carried through 15 games, Darrell Royal retired to his own dressing room to think up a new slogan.