Halloween Hogs: Arkansas’ Top 10 Spookiest Games

When Arkansas and Texas A&M suited up on Halloween for the first time in a half-century, it reminded us here at Enter the Razorback that the Hogs have quite an impressive history of gridiron battles on All Hallow’s Eve.

Read on for the top 10…if you dare.

10. Unlikely tradition | Oct. 31, 1903 | Texas A&M 6, Arkansas 0

Arkansas and Texas A&M christened their decades-long rivalry at the dawn of the 1900s, an antiquated era of college football, “when the forward pass was illegal and both touchdowns and field goals were worth five points.”

Their duel marked not only the first Saturday Halloween of the 20th century, but also the first game between the schools.

The Aggies were strong that year, while Arkansas — known then as the Cardinals — had to rough up Fort Smith High School (now Northside) to eek out three wins.

This innocuous game between Arkansas and A&M began an unintentional, intermittent tradition, as the programs clashed on Halloween six more times over the ensuing century.

9. Rivalry renewed | Oct. 31, 2020 | No. 8 Texas A&M 42, Arkansas 31

Before their 2020 showdown, it had been 50 years since Arkansas and A&M had suited up on Halloween.

Arkansas couldn’t keep pace with the high-octane Aggies, who scored on their first four drives. A late touchdown made the game seem closer than what the final score hinted.

The 2020 contest also marked the first Aggies-Hogs Halloween duel as SEC foes, as well as Arkansas’ first haunted outing against a worthy opponent since 1998.

The Razorbacks had demolished Eastern Michigan and Tennessee-Martin during Halloween contests in 2009 and 2015, respectively.

8. “Like kissing your sister”| Oct. 31, 1992 | Auburn 24, Arkansas 24

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Arkansas was nearing the end of a humbling inaugural season in the SEC when it made its first trip to Jordan-Hare stadium to face Auburn.

The Hogs didn’t find out until game day that the Tigers were retiring Bo Jackson’s jersey at halftime, a revelation that seemed neither to inspire the team or deflate them.

Despite a career day from Auburn running back James Bostic — 211 rushing yards and two touchdowns —

the game has lingered as little more than a headscratcher for both programs. In describing a tie to The Birmingham News in 2016, former Arkansas quarterback Barry Lunney, Jr., framed it as akin to “kissing your sister, not much to remember about that.”

7. Double dipping | Oct. 31, 1987 | Arkansas 38, Rice 14

The Razorbacks feasted on the Owls for both of their Halloween games of the 1980s.

Arkansas first beat Rice 41-7 in 1981 and then returned to Houston’s cavernous Rice Stadium for a similar thrashing six years later.

The Hogs rebounded down the stretch, despite an ugly loss in Little Rock to Miami (FL) and an absolutely heartbreaking, 16-14, defeat against a lousy Texas team, to reach the Liberty Bowl, where they fell to No. 15 Georgia.

6. Streaking Porkers | Oct. 31, 1964 | No. 4 Arkansas 17, Texas A&M 0

Arkansas scored all 17 of its points against A&M during the first half and then weathered three stoppages in the second half thanks to rowdy Aggies fans.

A&M was the second of five straight shutouts for an Arkansas defense that allowed a paltry 5.8 points per game en route to the National Championship. It was also Arkansas’ ninth straight win over A&M, which still stands as the Hogs’ longest victory steak in the rivalry.

5. SWC champs | Oct. 31, 1936 | Arkansas 18, Texas A&M 0

Dubbed the “passing-est team in the nation” thanks to their prolific aerial attack — throwing a then-unimaginable 29 times per game — Arkansas thumped A&M to spark a mid-season turnaround.

After starting 2-3, the Hogs cruised past A&M and won their final five games, including the season finale against Texas, to capture the SWC crown.

The streak also helped Arkansas break into the Associated Press rankings for the first time in school history, where they finished the season No. 18.

Another bit of trivia: Arkansas’ prolific passing in 1936 bested even that of the vaunted Green Bay Packers, who won the NFL title that year throwing the pigskin just under 22 times per game.

4. No contest | Oct. 31, 1970 | No. 8 Arkansas 45, Texas A&M 6

The rout was on just after kickoff.

Arkansas dominated on both sides of the ball, rolling to a 38-0 halftime lead in College Station thanks in part to two A&M fumbles early in the game.

Led by All-American defensive end Bruce James, the Razorbacks sacked Aggies quarterback Lex James 11 times for -118 yards.

The 39-point shellacking is the largest Hogs victory in the series. It was also part of six straight Arkansas wins on Halloween dating back to 1953, when the Hogs thrashed the Aggies 41-14.

3. Cardiac kids | Oct. 31, 1998 | No. 14 Arkansas 24, Auburn 21

Arkansas did its best to frighten the Razorback faithful who made the trek to Auburn — committing five turnovers and nearly blowing a 17-7 lead — before going ahead on a rushing touchdown late in the third quarter.

The win pushed the Razorbacks to 7-0, their best start yet since joining the SEC, and also marked their first victory at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

CBS also took note of Arkansas’ prowess as a second-half team, noting the Razorbacks needed comebacks to win three of their four SEC games while outscoring opponents 137-33 in the final two quarters.

2. Hogs use “toes to advantage” | Oct. 31, 1925 | Arkansas 12, LSU 0

Led by George Cole — a future Arkansas coach, athletic director and namesake of the Razorbacks’ baseball field — the Hogs used a powerful running game to thump LSU in what was becoming a fierce rivalry settled annually in Shreveport, La.

Cole scored a 45-yard touchdown and booted a field goal to help lead Arkansas to its fourth straight victory in the series, which still stands as the Hogs’ longest win streak over the mighty Tigers.

1. Bowl bound | Oct. 31, 1959 | No. 17 Arkansas 12, Texas A&M 7

Arkansas was in dire need of a victory after back-to-back losses had derailed a promising season when they welcomed A&M into Fayetteville for Homecoming weekend.

But the Hogs, 21-point favorites against the Aggies, found themselves locked in a scoreless tie at halftime.

Thanks to the heroics of future NFL Hall of Fame receiver Lance Alworth and All-American Jim Mooty, the Razorbacks overcame five turnovers to come back from a 7-6 deficit late in the game.

Arkansas rode the momentum to five straight wins, including a victory over Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl.

Arkansas’ 10 worst losses at War Memorial Stadium

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Toledo’s upset of No. 18 Arkansas isn’t the Razorbacks’ only soul-crushing defeat at War Memorial Stadium. There’s plenty of heartache to go around.

Where does the Rockets’ victory rank all-time? Read on to find out.

10) Oct. 18, 2014: No. 10 Georgia def. Arkansas, 45-32

Billed as the last significant Southeastern Conference game to be played at War Memorial Stadium, Arkansas’ plans for an upset were extinguished in the second quarter.

The Hogs started strong on offense, using a two-headed rushing attack to march 75 yards in about eight minutes for a score. But Georgia’s passing attack answered with a devastating counter-punch. The Bulldogs advanced 74 yards in just 88 seconds to tie the game.

Then Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney hit the panic button.

The Razorbacks abandoned the running game and imploded on defense, as Georgia outscored Arkansas 38-0 in the second quarter. Arkansas rallied with four second-half touchdowns but couldn’t overcome its early blunders.

9) Oct. 17, 1959: No. 3 Texas def. No. 12 Arkansas, 13-12

When Arkansas and Texas quarreled in 1959 in Little Rock, it was only the second time in series history that both teams were ranked for their annual showdown.

The game was a slug fest, played mostly on the ground. Arkansas scored first, when Steve Butler caught a 5-yard pass from quarterback Jim Monroe (one of only 10 completions Monroe had all year). The extra-point failed and Arkansas ended the quarter up 6-0.

Early in the second quarter Texas answered after a 14-play drive when Bobby Lackey punched it in from the goal line. The Longhorns booted in the extra point to take a 7-6 lead. Neither team scored again before half time.

Late in the third quarter, Arkansas scored after a 13-play, 89-yard drive. The Hogs tried a two-point conversion, but failed. Arkansas’ 12-7 lead was brief, as Texas scored six seconds into the fourth quarter. The Longhorns attempt at two points also failed, but Texas held on for the 1-point victory.

Arkansas overcame the heart-breaking loss, though, and finished as co-champions of the Southwest Conference alongside Texas and TCU.

Interesting side note: Despite reports of near-perfect weather, Arkansas and Texas combined for 14 fumbles.

8) Nov. 24, 2006: No. 9 LSU def. No. 5 Arkansas, 31-26

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/RICK MCFARLAND--1123//07-- Arkansas Darren McFadden runs from LSU defenders at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge Friday, Nov. 23, 2007.

After a tumultuous season that saw indecision at quarterback and friction between Arkansas coach Houston Nutt and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, fans were primed for a top 10 Battle for the Golden Boot with national championship implications.

The Razorbacks entered the game 10-1, their last loss coming against No. 6 Southern California in the season opener. But questionable play-calling against LSU plagued the Hogs from the opening snap. Quarterback Casey dick was called on to pass 17 times, and he completed just three attempts.

Trailing 24-12 in the fourth quarter, Arkansas narrowed the gap thanks to a spectacular 80-yard touchdown run from Darren McFadden, in which the Heisman candidate barreled straight through the heart of LSU’s defense. But the Tigers countered with a 92-yard kickoff return from Trindon Holliday that put LSU on top 31-19.

The Hogs scored once more to make it 31-26, then forced the Tigers to punt. But four straight incompletions gave the ball back to LSU.

7) Oct. 22, 1960: No. 2 Ole Miss def. No. 14 Arkansas, 10-7

The Arkansas-Mississippi game, played regularly from 1913-1960, was often more contentious than the annual Arkansas-Texas game.

Both fan bases were rowdy and passionate; so much so that the in 1960, a riot reportedly erupted after the Rebels escaped with a 10-7 victory.

With the game tied in the waning seconds, Ole Miss booted a 39-yard field goal to go up by three. There was just one problem: referee Tommy Bell had called time out due to excessive crowd noise. The field goal was waved off and the Rebels were given a another chance. But the second kick hooked left — allegedly — sailing wide of the goal posts.

Still, Bell signaled that the kick was good. Fights broke out in the stands immediately. After the game, Hogs coach Frank Broyles chided officials and threatened never to play the Rebels again. When the series’ contract expired the following year, Broyles made good on his promise. Although the two schools met in the Sugar Bowl in 1963 and 1970, Arkansas didn’t renew its series with Ole Miss until 1981.

6) Oct. 17, 1981: Houston def. Arkansas, 20-17

Arkansas won its first three games in 1981, which included a road victory over Ole Miss. But a puzzling loss the following Saturday to TCU in Fort Worth bumped the Hogs out of the top 25.

A showdown in Fayetteville against No. 1 Texas was looming, and Arkansas regrouped to thump Texas Tech before throttling the Longhorns 42-11. It was the Razorbacks’ second-largest victory over their hated rival. Before the game was over, fans stormed the field trying to tear down the goal posts.

Then came the let down.

The following Saturday, the Hogs fell to a .500 Houston team in Little Rock. The three-point loss pushed Arkansas out of contention for the Southwest Conference and stymied a promising season.

5) Oct. 30, 1971: Texas A&M def. No. 8 Arkansas, 17-9

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Despite an inexcusable loss to Tulsa early in the season, Arkansas was pumping on all cylinders in the fall of 1971 as it inched towards bowl season. The Hogs were undefeated in conference play and had dominant victories over California and No. 10 Texas, the latter of which came on a rainy afternoon in Little Rock when quarterback Joe Ferguson scored four touchdowns.

After walloping North Texas in Fayetteville, the Hogs traveled to back to Little Rock for a matchup with a sub-.500 Texas A&M squad. The Aggies got the jump on the Hogs, though, beating Arkansas by nine points.

The upset lingered, essentially derailing the season. The following week, Arkansas tied with the lowly Rice Owls. The Hogs rebounded to win their final two SWC games, but still finished second in the conference standings behind Texas.

4) Sept. 12, 2015: Toledo def. No. 18 Arkansas, 18-12

With coach Bret Bielema entering his third year at Arkansas and looking to build on the momentum from last season, the Arkansas-Toledo game was supposed to be one of three tune-ups before the Hogs started their Southeastern Conference schedule.

The hype train left the station long before kickoff though, as prognosticators predicted a blowout victory for the Razorbacks on their way to — at the very least — competing for the SEC West.

Toledo’s pass-happy offense kept Arkansas off balance, and the Hogs’ sputtering running game didn’t do them any favors. Just one week removed from looking like world-beaters against Texas-El Paso, Arkansas resembled an SEC contender only on paper against Toledo.

3) Sept. 8, 2012: Louisiana Monroe def. No. 8 Arkansas, 34-31

Following a stellar 11-2 campaign in 2011, Arkansas fans were giddy with anticipation for 2012. That all changed when coach Bobby Petrino “wrecked” his motorcycle in the offseason — inadvertently revealing his extra-marital affair and illicit hiring practices — and the tone was set for a disastrous season.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long hired former Hogs assistant and debt-laden John L. Smith to try and rally the team. After a blowout victory over Jacksonville State in the opener, the Razorbacks still looked like contenders.

But when quarterback Tyler Wilson exited with a concussion against Louisiana-Monroe in week 2, Arkansas’ 28-7 lead evaporated. The Warhawks surged from behind to tie the game with less than a minute left to play in regulation.

Despite starting on offense in overtime, the Hogs were held to a field goal. Louisiana-Monroe answered with a 16-yard touchdown run from quarterback Kolton Browning to seal the upset.

2) Sept. 26, 1987: No. 5 Miami (FL) def. No. 10 Arkansas, 51-7

On paper, this game had all the right ingredients for an instant classic. Both teams were undefeated and ranked in the top 10, had national title aspirations and a unique history between coaches. Arkansas’ Ken Hatfield and Miami’s Jimmy Johnson were former Razorbacks and proteges of Frank Broyles.

But instead of ending up as a perennial replay on ESPN Classic, the game was a route. The Hurricanes swept the Hogs off their own field not long after kickoff.

Miami tallied more than 350 yards of offense in the first half and scored five touchdowns in 12 minutes to take a 38-0 lead at half time. The 44-point drubbing was Arkansas’ worst defeat in Little Rock since losing to Tulsa, 63-7, in 1919.

Miami’s resounding victory jettisoned Arkansas from the top 25.

1) Oct. 17, 1987: Texas def. No. 15 Arkansas, 16-14

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For many Razorbacks fans, nothing tops beating Texas. As Bielema discovered, thumping the Longhorns can provide quite a tingling sensation.

The joy of watching Texas lose is matched only by the sorrow of falling victim to the Longhorns. And in 1987, Texas delivered a knockout punch that still lingers nearly three decades later.

Only two years removed from losing to Texas 15-13 in Fayetteville, No. 15 Arkansas welcomed the Longhorns into War Memorial Stadium with open arms. Despite allowing Texas a first quarter touchdown, Arkansas tallied 14 points in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead at the half.

The Longhorns held Arkansas scoreless in the third quarter and managed a field goal to pull within four points. In possession of the ball during the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, Texas drove into Arkansas territory on the strength of an 11-play, 56-yard drive.

With four seconds left in regulation and Texas facing a 2nd and 15 from the Arkansas 18-yard line, quarterback Bret Stafford delivered a strike to receiver Toby Jones, who caught the ball in the end zone with no time left on the clock to seal the Longhorns victory.