|Hogs' Petrino gets first taste of bitter rivalry|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 26 September 2008 08:55|
On Saturday, he'll stand in the middle of an unfriendly crowd of about 98,000 chanting ``Texas Fight!'' The Longhorns fans will be conjuring up generations of hatred for Petrino's Razorbacks going back to the 1890s.
Petrino isn't from around these parts and he's about to get his first taste of one nasty rivalry in a game that was postponed two weeks ago when Hurricane Ike slammed the Texas coast.
The No. 7 Longhorns (3-0) and Razorbacks (2-1) meet in the regular season for just the third time since 1991. And there have been plenty of old-time Arkansas players and fans telling Petrino about the rivalry's glory days and the pride at stake.
hinged on the outcome.
From 1961-1970, one or both teams were ranked in the top 10 eight times. Texas won two undisputed national titles that decade and the Razorbacks won the Football Writers Association crown in 1964 with an 11-0 season that included a 14-10 win over Texas. No game was more famous than the 1969 matchup that Texas won 15-14 in front of a wild crowd in Fayetteville that included President Nixon.
``I learned quite a bit when I first got here,'' Petrino said. ``They always felt like to win the national championship, to win the conference, they had to beat Texas. So they are fired up about it, and our fans are fired up about it.''
Petrino's polarizing predecessor, Houston Nutt, understood the emotions stirred by this game.
When the Razorbacks beat Texas in the 2000 Cotton Bowl, Nutt rankled Longhorns coach Mack Brown and infuriated Texas fans by flashing an upside down ``Hook'em Horns'' sign.
When Arkansas romped to a 38-28 win in Austin in 2003, Razorbacks players pranced all over the field, waving their state flag in the end zone and digging up pieces of the turf.
Nutt called it ``the greatest game there is in the world.'' It's hard to imagine the more reserved Petrino celebrating with the same gusto.
s again this week.
``This is a game people have been emotional about for generations,'' Brown said. ``They really got after us and whipped us physically.''
Texas won the rematch in Fayetteville in 2004 and fans on both sides have been waiting for the next round ever since.
The current Longhorns say they respect the tradition of the game.
``I'm just ready to play in my first one. It's going to be a lot of fun. That pig sooie stuff, it's big out there,'' cornerback Ryan Palmer said.
``When you see the old clips, it makes you fired up for sure,'' Texas junior center Chris Hall said.
Hall said he was recruited by Arkansas, but ``Thankfully, the Lord led me here.''
Linebacker Jared Norton has a rare situation of divided loyalty in his family and seemed a bit annoyed. His sister Jasmine has committed to Arkansas to play volleyball.
``My dad loves Texas, so he was kind of mad that he had to buy Arkansas stuff because she's going there,'' Norton said. ``She said she's going to be rooting against me. I don't know if she was being funny or what.''
It's the intensity of the rivalry that have few in Texas paying attention to the Longhorn's status as 27-point favorites. Texas crushed its first three opponents - Florida Atlantic, Texas-El Paso and Rice - by a combined score of 146-33. Colt McCoy has thrown for 11 touchdowns.
azorbacks had close wins over Western Illinois and Louisiana Monroe and lost at home to Alabama in a 49-14 rout.