SI Vault
Willard Rappleye
November 01, 1954
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November 01, 1954

Underdog Arkansas Wins Again

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Arkansas forced pass-minded Mississippi to go on the ground, and there fought the nation's leader in total offense to a standstill for three periods. Then, late in the fourth quarter, the Razorbacks uncorked one picture pass play of their own to down the previously unbeaten Rebels, 6-0, and preserve their own amazing record as undefeated underdogs.

The second time the Rebels got their hands on the ball they drove to the Razorback five. They never got past the Arkansas 20 again. But Arkansas could not get anything started either. Twice in the first half they had to kick from deep in their own end zone, and in the third quarter only had the ball for three scrimmage plays and three punts.

In the final quarter, Arkansas moved to the Mississippi 16, only to stall. Eventually, Arkansas got the ball again on its own 17. The Razorbacks ground out a first down, and then, with third and six on their own 34, and their fans pleading for a first down so they could hold the ball and preserve the tie, they topped the plea.

On a basic single-wing sweep to the left, blocking back Preston Carpenter cut through the line and bore down on Ole Miss Halfback Earl Blair as if to block him. At the last second he straightened up and broke into the clear along the left sideline. Tailback Buddy Benson, swinging wide, suddenly stopped and lofted a long pass down the line. Carpenter, on the Ole Miss 30, took the ball over his shoulder without breaking stride and simply ran away from Blair to score, with less than four minutes left to play.

Later Arkansas' Coach Bowden Wyatt said Mississippi had been fully extended: "I guess they did everything they could to beat us." Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught, still stunned by the sudden score, said: "I never was concerned about losing the ball game. And then"—he shook his head sadly—"that kind of play won't hit for you but three out of ten times."

Next week the Razorbacks play Texas A. & M., their successors as doormat of the Southwest Conference, undermanned but improving fast in their first year under wily Paul (Bear) Bryant. This time Arkansas will be the favorite, and the only way it can spring its weekly upset will be to lose.