TUNE IN TOMORROW
Don't trust anybody who claims to know what's going on at Arkansas or what might happen next in this, the Razor-backs' soap opera season. How can you figure a team that loses to The Citadel in Fayetteville but beats Tennessee in Knoxville? Does Arkansas's 25-24 upset of the Vols mean that interim coach Joe Kines, who replaced the deposed Jack Crowe a day after the season-opening Citadel debacle, will be back next season? Or is former Clemson coach Danny Ford, whom Kines brought in as an assistant three weeks ago, going to replace him? Or is Ford positioning himself to step in at another school—like, say, South Carolina?
Whatever, Kines and Ford are doing something right. Since Ford began working with the Arkansas special teams, Razorback punter Pete Raether has gone from having one punt per game blocked to having none snuffed and has raised his average from 41.0 before Ford's arrival to 51.1 afterward. And the decision to shake up the punchless Razorback offense by starting true freshman Barry Lunney at quarterback against Tennessee was inspired. Although the Vols sacked him six times and intercepted him once, Lunney completed 13 of 19 passes for 168 yards and never lost his poise. Late in the fourth quarter, with Arkansas trailing 24-22, Lunney faced a third-and-16 on the Razorback 42. He called an audible and found Tracy Caldwell with a 22-yard pass for a first down.
After moving to the Tennessee 24, Arkansas let the clock run down to :06 before calling a timeout so senior placekicker Todd Wright could line up to try the first game-winning kick of his career. Wright, who had already made field goals of 31, 48, and 46 yards in the game, kept this 41-yarder just inside the right upright. Said Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles, "We are raised from the dead!"
While Tennessee must beat Alabama this week to keep alive its hopes for a spot in the SEC's postseason playoff, the 2-4 Razorbacks are on the road to...where? Maybe a winning season? Maybe a bright future under Kines? "We've got to keep winning for Coach Kines," said senior defensive lineman Owen Kelly. "I want to sit in the stands next year and watch him coach the next team of Razorbacks."
The players from Prairie View A&M and West Texas State had to be looking forward to this one. Both sides figured last Saturday's game at West Texas might be their only chance for a victory this year. Prairie View, which produced NFL greats Ken Houston and Otis Taylor, dropped football after the 1989 season and since resuming it in '91 as a nonscholarship sport has been 0-16. West Texas, the alma mater of former NFL stars Mercury Morris and Duane Thomas, didn't field a team last season, but upon reviving football this fall, also on a nonscholarship basis, continued a losing streak that had reached nine going into the Prairie View game.
Well, West Texas was the one to end its streak, winning 21-15. The game's biggest play was a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Duane Joubert, who had transferred to West Texas from, oh dear, Prairie View. "It's very disappointing to lose this one," said Panther coach Ron Beard. "It was realistically our only chance to win this season."
When Clemson got off to an 0-2 start in the ACC, a local television reporter said that coach Ken Hatfield's option offense was so conservative and predictable that the Tigers couldn't possibly come from behind to win a game. Uh, no. Trailing Virginia 28-0 with 3:54 left in the first half in Charlottesville, Clemson roared back for a 29-28 victory—the greatest comeback in Tiger history.