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During the 1960s, perhaps no rivalry had bigger conference championship implications than the annual meeting between Arkansas and Texas in the Southwest Conference.
Texas and Arkansas met for the second straight season as top-10 teams on this day 55 years ago. Despite falling behind big early, Texas made a furious comeback, only for the Razorbacks to emerge in the final minutes, 27-24.
Setting the Stage
Although it wasn’t in the AP or Coaches Poll, Arkansas claimed a national championship in 1964. No. 3 Arkansas was 4-0 on the young season but had won 15 straight games overall as Texas came to Fayetteville on Oct. 16, 1965.
With two shutouts in its first four games, Texas came in ranked No. 1 in the country. The lone loss for the Longhorns the year prior had been a 14-13 defeat at the hand of Arkansas. Early on in 1965, it looked as though Arkansas may beat Texas rather easily.
Texas Comes Back
Before the midway point of the second quarter, Arkansas enjoyed a 20-0 lead. The first two Arkansas touchdowns came on Texas fumbles.
After Martine Bercher fell on the football in the end zone to open the scoring, Tommy Trantham returned a fumble 77 yards to give the Razorbacks a 13-0 lead. With more than 11 minutes to play in the second quarter, Jon Brittenum found Bobby Crockett for an 11-yard touchdown to give Arkansas a commanding lead.
The next 24 points belonged to Texas. Sandwiched around two David Conway field goals, Marvin Kristynik scored the first touchdown of the day late in the second quarter. Less than five minutes into the final quarter, Kristynik found the end zone from 14 yards out to give Texas its first lead, 21-20.
Conway’s third field goal of the day extended the lead to four with 4:06 remaining. Down 24-20, Arkansas now needed a touchdown.
The Winning Drive
The final march of the day for Arkansas started at its own 20-yard-line. Brittenum methodically led the Razorbacks down the field with Crockett as his go-to guy.
After the drive started with a 22-yard connection, the two hooked up on completions of 13, eight and 11 yards. Facing a 3rd-and-4 from the Texas 15, Brittenum found a diving Crockett, who came down a yard shy of the end zone. Brittenum cashed in from one yard out on the next play to give Arkansas the lead, 27-24, with 1:32 remaining.
The Arkansas defense did its job with an interception on the final drive as the Razorbacks prevailed in a nail-biter for the second straight season.
Arkansas would cap the season with five straight wins, but finished just No. 2 in the Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the AP Poll. The Razorbacks would fall to LSU in the Sugar Bowl to close the season, 14-7.
The loss to Arkansas would begin a downhill spiral for Texas. The Longhorns dropped four of their final six games and unranked for the first time since 1958. Texas never could seem to recover from the heartbreaking loss that happened on this day 55 years ago.