They were calling it the Big Shootout again but it wound up being the Big Murder. What happened was that Darrell Royal ordered his Texas Longhorns to quit fooling around with these dreaded Arkansas games and get, as he put it, "body on body." Texas hadn't done that last year, he insisted, and that was why President Nixon and everybody else saw such a close one up in the Ozarks. This would be different, Royal promised the night before the game. "We're gonna get folks on folks and it's gonna be Worster and Bertelsen," he said.
It was that, all right. It was Steve Worster and Jim Bertelsen and Jim Bertelsen and Steve Worster, over and over, and they just kept on coming until a classic rivalry that is always a rather panicky ordeal for both teams was nothing more than a 42-7 ho-hummer for Royal and Texas—a team that proved beyond a doubt it was the best in the country, at least over the regular season.
The shocking thing was the thoroughness. Arkansas is no dog, as most people know, and Frank Broyles' Razorbacks are accustomed to saving their best game of the season for Texas. They were expected to do the same last Saturday, but Royal felt something Arkansas didn't.
"Last year," he said, "we did a lousy job of getting ready. The coaches, I mean. If the kids don't have all that heart, we don't win 15-14. We're ready. We're gonna get body on body and be angry."
It's hard to imagine a team readier than Texas this year. Or madder. From the very start it looked as if some carpenters would have to be called in to un-nail the Texas blockers from the Arkansas defense. Texas owned the scrimmage line on the game's first play, when Bertelsen went 13 yards, and never stopped owning it until Royal's Wishbone I had cut up Arkansas for 464 yards rushing.
A record Memorial Stadium crowd of more than 68,000 people sent up that old familiar chorus of "Woo...Woo...Woo" for Worster, but they should have invented something for Bertelsen as well, not to mention the offensive line. The line just rocketed out as a single torture device and made the normally quick Arkansas rush look first frozen and then flattened.
The linemen deserve mention: Tackles Bobby Wuensch and Jerry Sisemore, Guards Bobby Mitchell and Mike Dean, Center Jim Achilles and Tight End Deryl Comer. These were the fellows who sprang Bertelsen for 189 yards and Worster for 126, the men who blew them in for five touchdowns. Quarterback Eddie Phillips got the other score—and that was only fair, for Phillips wasn't exactly asleep.
Texas simply kept the football, the way Royal loves to, and the Longhorn touchdown drives monopolized what seemed like the entire afternoon. The Horns roared 76 yards the first time they got the ball, and scored. They went 83 yards the third time they got it, and scored. It was 14-0 at that point. Arkansas got back in the game with two screens and an interference call, and it was 14-7. But....
Right here came the game's only truly dramatic moment. A scramble by Bill Montgomery, another screen and another penalty helped move Arkansas to a first down at the Texas three-yard line. Then, out of somewhere, came this old-fashioned thing called the goal-line stand. Arkansas took four running shots at the Texas middle and wound up on the one. That sent Frank Broyles heading for the worst loss of his career. Texas nursed the ball 99 yards—slowly, punishingly, Worsterly and Bertelsenly—to a touchdown that so demoralized the Razorbacks they were never again what they might have been.
"I want to say something about Eddie Phillips," said Royal later. "We kid a lot about the pass around here [Texas threw a barrage of five against Arkansas], but Eddie puts the ball in the air, too. He just throws it sideways on the pitch instead of forward."
Funny, Darrell, funny.
"Let me tell you another thing. You can talk about your drop-back passers and your pro prospects all you want to, but it takes some kind of athlete to run our team the way Eddie does. It takes an athlete to read the option, make the handoff, keep and run as well as he does, or make the pitch and then throw a block. You take the guys with the stats. I want Eddie."
Phillips, who has good looks a bit on the order of Robert Redford and who may now have finally outrun the shadow of James Street, his predecessor, was confident about the outcome before, during and after the game.
"We've never been so well prepared," said Phillips. "I guess it was about as close to perfect as we can play."
There was special significance to the day for Steve Worster. He had been forbidden to play by his mother because he had been injured—a hip pointer, they called it—in the Texas A&M game. Early last week the papers and radio stations were full of gloomy reports. So Woo got a call from his home town of Bridge City in East Texas.
As he remembers the conversation, it went like this:
Mrs. Worster: How bad are you hurt?
Steve: I'm fine. I'll be all right.
Mrs. Worster: You're not going to play. It's not that important.
Steve: It's what?
Mrs. Worster: You're not playing. You'll injure your body.
Steve: My body's not hurt. It's my hip.
Worster thought his body was hurt after the opening kickoff, however. His shoulder, at least. He took a lick on it, and that made the hip start hurting, too. "But I couldn't get any sympathy from anybody," he said, "so I just decided I'd have to play no matter what."
Which is the way all the Longhorns felt on the way to their 30th win in a row and the challenge of playing Notre Dame again in the Cotton Bowl.
"It was the most inspired Texas team we've met," Broyles sighed. "And you'd have to say the best."
That was just the team. You should have seen the town. The pregame madness of a Texas-Arkansas weekend has gotten to be as much fun as anything. Last year, of course, there was a President on hand in tiny Fayetteville and the teams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 and playing for their very lives. But it has been a fairly big shoot-out every year since Royal arrived at Texas and Broyles arrived at Arkansas. Sometimes they might be playing for something ordinary, like one of the seven Southwest Conference championships Royal has now won, but an uncommon number of times a national title has been the prize. Last week Darrell got his hands on another of those—his third.
Unusual mystery was added to the buildup when Royal, for the first time in his career, held private practices every day but Friday.
"Not to put in the spread or the quick kick," he grinned. "Just to keep the kids from being bothered. We'll play each other normal, like always."
Early on, Royal had moaned about injuries, and this amused Broyles. "They'll all play," he predicted, "but Darrell will act like they can't unless Oral Roberts heals 'em."
When Worster's hip bruise progressed to the point where it appeared he could start, Broyles said, "Told you so." Royal said, "I'm damn sure not going to apologize for Steve getting better."
All along Guadalupe Street in Austin, the drag where the street kids spread their wares—pipes, jars, paintings, posters—there were the predictable signs. ARKANSAS WILL COMMIT SOOOEEECIDE, said one. PIGGIES FEET STINK, said another, BEAT UCLA, said the most far-sighted of the lot, this one going beyond Arkansas and Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl to next season's opener.
The day before the game there was one part of the campus which seemed oblivious to the event. Under some trees over near the student union a rock festival went on all afternoon while a couple of thousand students danced and relaxed. At Les Amis, a sidewalk café next door to the Texas Observer office, kids looked bewildered at orange-painted cars honking past, loaded with straight kids yelling "Hook 'em" and all that. One man with a beard and another without a shirt planned to watch the Big Shoot-out from the rooftop of the Dry Creek Cafe, about five miles away in the hills, with several pitchers of beer and some cookies.
The Arkansas team got in Friday about noon and was greeted at the airport by a few hundred fans and a man in a red shirt who stood on the runway and led yells. He was Catfish Montgomery, father of the Arkansas quarterback. "We ready," said Catfish.
The team went on to Georgetown, 30 miles away, for Frank Broyles learned a long time ago to keep his boys out of Austin on the night before a game. Back in 1962, at one of the earlier big ones, the Razorbacks had stayed at a downtown hotel. At 7 a.m. Saturday a golf cart pulled up in front of the hotel, loudspeaker blaring a recording of the Arkansas fight song. It could be heard for blocks. Two sportswriters—well known to Broyles—who had not quite made it to bed yet, wandered over to look at the contraption and sat down in it. Just then Broyles came out of the hotel in his pajamas and a rage. Arkansas has stayed a long way out of town on Friday ever since.
Before last year's game the Texas coach, staff and team were amazed that a send-off pep rally in Austin's Memorial Stadium had drawn 25,000. This time they were even more impressed. Some 37,000 turned out on Friday evening to whoop and holler and hear Royal and team members and, inevitably, a few politicians. The high point of the rally came when Texas' All-America tackle, Bobby Wuensch, got up to speak in a surprisingly high-pitched voice. There were light giggles. Wuensch bristled at the microphone and said, "You can laugh but we're gonna whup 'em good."
Bobby Wuensch was certainly right about that. And when it was all over, when the university tower was gleaming orange in the night, as it does on such happy occasions, even a fair share of Austin's hippies were dancing in the streets. That might have been Royal's biggest accomplishment of the week.
THE DARRELL AND FRANK TREASURY
Beyond their winning teams and the frantic games they play against each other, Darrell Royal of Texas and Frank Broyles of Arkansas are noted for the pungency and point of their coachly sayings. Here is a selection.
You've got to be in a position for luck to happen. Luck doesn't go around looking for a stumblebum.
Luck follows speed.
We don't want any candy stripes on our uniforms. These are work clothes.
If you fight a game all week, you'll give out after the first quarter when you play it.
Three things can happen when you pass-and two of 'em are bad.
At the end of the season they don't ask who you played, just how many you won.
Some of our kids aren't very big, but they'll screw their navels to the ground and scratch and bite and spit at you.
A good team follows the three E's: enthusiasm, encouragement and execution.
We've had some kids, like James Street, where something good sort of followed 'em around and waited to happen.
I'm a secret optimist but a press-conference pessimist--like most coaches.
Every coach likes those old trained pigs who'll grin and jump right in the slop for him.
The tireder you are the more you have to think. And you'd better think fast in the fourth quarter.
Defensing Arkansas is like sticking your hand in a bucket of minnows.
I wish I could be clever like Darrell, but every time I think up something it's three days after I should have said it.
Frank's making enough money in Arkansas to burn a wet elephant.
My wife says it's a shame we always have to play Darrell in games like these.