ARKANSAS HOSTS SOUTH CAROLINA ON HOMECOMING WEEKEND: Arkansas returns to the gridiron this weekend when the Razorbacks host the South Carolina Gamecocks as a part of Homecoming festivities on the Fayetteville campus. The Hogs and Gamecocks will kick things off at 11:30 a.m. in a game televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports. The Razorbacks (2-5, 0-4 SEC) will be looking for their first league win of the season after dropping SEC games to Vanderbilt, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Gamecocks (5-3, 3-3 SEC) are coming off an upset of No. 23 Tennessee in Knoxville last weekend. South Carolina has won three straight league games with wins over Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
NOTING THE RAZORBACKS:
* Arkansas and South Carolina will meet for the 14th time and only the third time Fayetteville. All 13 games of the series have come since Arkansas and South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992. Arkansas holds an 8-5 advantage in the series including a edge in Fayetteville. The two schools meet annually as permanent rivals in the SEC schedule rotation.
* Arkansas has played the toughest schedule in the nation according to NCAA rankings this week. Vanderbilt, USC, Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn Georgia have combined to post a 29-9 record (.763). Missouri State isn’t included in rankings since it is Division I-AA. All games against Division I-AA opponents Arkansas and its opponents aren’t included in the ratings. Results against Arkansas are also not taken into the equation.
* Three members of the South Carolina coaching staff are former Razorbacks. USC defensive coordinator John Thompson (1982, 2000-01) and secondary coach Dave Wommack (1979-82, 2001-04) each served two different terms on the UA staff. USC running backs coach Madre Hill (1994-98) was an All-SEC tailback for the Hogs and holds the single-season rushing record at Arkansas. (More details on p. 2)
* USC secondary coach Dave Wommack was on the opposite sideline in last year’s meeting between these two teams. Wommack was on Arkansas’ staff from 2001-04, including as defensive coordinator from 2002-04. Dave Wommack’s son, Kane, freshman fullback for the Razorbacks.
* Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden ranks third in the nation among freshmen with average of 97.4 yards per game. McFadden has earned 100 yards or more in each his last three outings and ranks fourth in the SEC and 28th in the nation in rushing among all players.
* Arkansas has employed more true freshmen on the field this season than any team the nation according to a recent poll of football sports information directors. Razorbacks have played 16 true freshmen in the first seven games of the season. those 16 players, four true freshmen have earned a start on offense or defense.
HOMECOMING: Arkansas will host South Carolina in the 84th homecoming game in school history. The Razorbacks boast a 48-31-4 record (.602) in the previous 83 Homecoming games. Arkansas is 5-2 in homecoming games under Houston Nutt, but the Hogs have dropped the last two including a 20-14 loss to No. 6 Georgia last season.
Although the Hogs and Gamecocks have played in each of the last 13 seasons, South Carolina will become the fifth SEC team to fill the homecoming spot on Arkansas’ schedule since 1992. Since joining the SEC, the Razorbacks have hosted league members Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss and Tennessee in homecoming games.
CRIP HALL AWARD: For the 55th consecutive year, the most outstanding Arkansas player in the homecoming game will be honored with the Crip Hall Award. End Frank Fischel of Helena, Ark., was awarded the first Crip Hall Award in 1950 for his efforts in a 9-6 loss to Rice. Defensive end Jeb Huckeba (Searcy, Ark.) won the Crip Hall Award last season for his performance against No. 6 Georgia. The award recipient is chosen by members of the Arkansas media corps covering the game.
HOMECOMING COURT: Courtney Backus from Little Rock, Ark., is the 2005 Arkansas Homecoming Queen. Backus, the daughter of Kim and Pricilla Backus, is an advertising and public relations major with a minor in marketing. She is a member of Delta Delta Delta and also is active in the Arkansas Booster Club. She will be honored along with
the rest of the homecoming court. Other members of the court include: Adrielle Chruchill (Dover, Ark.), Emily Moon
(Heber Springs, Ark.), Amber Elizabeth Bennett (Carlisle, Ark.) and Shante Roberts (Tulsa, Okla.). Arkansas’ homecoming court is chosen by senior members of the Razorback football team.
SENIOR FAREWELL: Today’s game will mark the final on-campus appearance for 12 Razorback seniors. Arkansas still has one home game on Nov. 21 against Mississippi State in Little Rock, but the South Carolina game will be the final Fayetteville appearance for the senior class. Seniors playing their final on-campus game as a Razorback include placekicker Chris Balseiro, flanker Richard Bracken, linebacker Pierre Brown, tailback Kyle Dickerson, tight end Jared Hicks, tailback De’Arrius Howard, fullback Brandon Kennedy, linebacker Donald Meador, defensive end Clarke Moore, wide receiver Lerinezo Robinson, center Kyle Roper and free safety Vickiel Vaughn. Offensive tackle Zac Tubbs, wide receiver Dedrick Poole and cornerback Darius Vinnett are also seniors, but are eligible to apply for an extra season of eligibility due to injuries this season. James Johnson will also be recognized. Johnson was a player on the Arkansas roster from 2001-04 and is now a student assistant coach. In the past four years, this senior class has combined for 25 wins including a pair of nine-win seasons, two bowl game appearances including a win in the Independence Bowl and an SEC Western Division Championship in 2002.
SERIES HISTORY: Arkansas and South Carolina will meet on the gridiron for the 14th time in history when the two teams play this weekend in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks hold an 8-5 edge in the previous 13 meetings. All 13 of the previous meetings were Southeastern Conference games played since both institutions joined the league in football in time for the 1992 season. The teams did not play prior to joining the SEC. Arkansas and South Carolina have been permanent opponents, playing each season, since joining the league. Arkansas has won five of the seven meetings during the Houston Nutt era (1998- 2005). The Razorbacks have won the only two games in the series played in Fayetteville. Arkansas defeated South Carolina 18-17 in 1993 and 51-21 in 1995. In the 1995 win, former Razorback tailback and current USC running backs coach Madre Hill scored a school record six rushing touchdowns to lead the Hogs to the victory. Arkansas is 5-1 overall against South Carolina in the state of Arkansas. In addition to the pair of Fayetteville wins, the Hogs won games in Little Rock in 1999, 2001 and 2003. South Carolina recorded a win at War Memorial Stadium in 1997.
HOMECOMING TRIO: For three former Razorbacks, Arkansas’ game against South Carolina will truly be a homecoming affair for three members of the Gamecocks’ coaching staff. South Carolina defensive coordinator John Thompson, secondary coach Dave Wommack and running backs Madre Hill all spent time in Fayetteville as a member of the UA football program. Thompson was Arkansas’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2000-01.
Wommack came to Arkansas as an assistant coach (secondary) in 2001 and then was promoted to defensive coordinator (2002-04) when Thompson left for the University of Florida following the 2001 campaign. Hill was an All-SEC tailback for the Hogs in 1995 and helped lead Arkansas to the SEC Championship Game. He still ranks seventh on the UA career rushing list (2,407) and holds the school record for rushing yards in a season (1,387) set in 1995. Hill was working as a graduate assistant in the Arkansas weight room when South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier added Hill to his staff.
JT RETURNS: South Carolina defensive coordinator John Thompson shouldn’t have any problem finding his way around Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Thompson served two seasons as the Hogs’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2000-01. Thompson was on Houston Nutt’s Razorback staff and coached with current UA assistant coaches Bobby Allen, Mike Markuson, Danny Nutt, James Shibest and Chris Vaughn. Thompson coached Razorback All-American linebacker Jermaine Petty in 2001. Incidentally, Petty hailed from Inman, S.C. Thompson’s first tenure at Arkansas came in 1982 when he served as a graduate assistant for Lou Holtz. Thompson attended high school in Forrest City, Ark., and then played college football at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA).
FAMILY REUNION: When Arkansas hosts South Carolina at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday it will mark an unofficial Wommack family reunion. Former Arkansas defensive coordinator and current USC secondary coach Dave Wommack will return to Fayetteville to coach for the first time since leaving the Razorbacks’ staff last December.
Wommack served on Houston Nutt’s staff from 2001-04 including as the Hogs’ defensive coordinator from 2002-04. He also spent four years at Arkansas early in his coaching career. He was a graduate assistant strength coach at Arkansas in 1979 before being named an assistant strength coach in 1980. He served as a part-time coach under Lou Holtz at Arkansas from 1981-82. To make the homecoming even more pertinent, Wommack’s son Kane is a true freshman
fullback on the Arkansas roster. Kane Wommack has not yet appeared in a game and is likely to redshirt his first season as a Razorback.
BACK TO THE HILL: South Carolina running backs coach Madre Hill will return to the campus where he made his name as an All-SEC tailback this weekend when the Gamecocks travel to Fayetteville to take on the Hogs. Hill lettered for the Razorbacks from 1994-95 and in 1998. He earned a school record 1,387 yards on 301 carries in leading the Hogs to the 1995 SEC Championship Game.
Early in the second quarter, Hill suffered an ACL injury and was sidelined with the first of two knee injuries that would plague him during the remainder of his career. Ironically, Hill’s injury came in a championship game matchup with the Florida Gators coached by current USC head coach Steve Spurrier.
Hill still ranks sixth on the UA career rushing chart with 2,407 yards and 25 touchdowns on 541 attempts. His six 100-yard rushing games in 1995 ranks second in the UA record book. He still holds the school mark for most rushing touchdowns in a single game with six rushing scores against South Carolina in 1995. Hill is a member of Arkansas’ All-Decade team for the 1990s. He worked as a graduate assistant in the UA strength and conditioning center in 2004 before being hired by South Carolina for his current position.
LOU TIMES TWO: In addition to this year’s coaching connections, Arkansas and South Carolina also share a former head coach. Lou Holtz served as the head coach at both institutions before stepping down from his post at USC following the 2004 season. Holtz replaced legendary head coach Frank Broyles at Arkansas following the 1976 season. He coached the Razorbacks for seven seasons from 1977-83 compiling a record of 60-21-2 (.735) and leading the Hogs to six bowl games. Holtz took over the reins of the South Carolina football program in time for the 1999 season. He coached the Gamecocks from 1999-2004 leading USC to a record of 33-37 in his six seasons. Holtz now serves as a studio analyst for CBS Sports on Southeastern games.
TELEVISION TIME: Saturday’s game will mark the sixth consecutive time Arkansas and South Carolina have played in a televised game. The first eight meetings were not televised, but each game since 2000 has been carried on live television.
Jefferson-Pilot Sports will televise the Hogs and the Gamecocks for the fourth time (2000, 2002, 2004, 2005). CBS carried the game in 2001 and ESPN broadcast the 2003 contest. Arkansas has appeared on television three times prior to this weekend’s telecast. The Hogs played No. 1 Southern California on FSN earlier this season in Los Angeles. JP Sports broadcasted Arkansas’ games at No. 20 Alabama and No. 4 Georgia.
Other UA-USC Connections:
* Arkansas and South Carolina both entered the SEC in football in 1992. The two teams met in the first SEC game for Arkansas on Sept. 12, 1992, in Columbia, S.C. It was the second league game for South Carolina after opening the 1992 season against Georgia. Led by interim coach Joe Kines, the Razorbacks defeated the Gamecocks 45-7 at
* Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring and USC tight ends coach Rick Stockstill shared the sideline together at Clemson for eight seasons. Stockstill served on the Clemson staff from 1989-2002. During his tenure, Herring coached the Tigers’ linebackers (1994-2001). He served as Clemson’s defensive coordinator from 1997-2001.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Arkansas has utilized the most true freshmen in the nation this season according to a recent survey conducted among football sports information directors. The Razorbacks have played 16 true freshmen in the first seven games. Four of those 16 freshmen have started a game this season for the Hogs. Stephen Arnold (PK), Cole Barthel (QB), Mark Bonner (CB), Freddie Fairchild (LB), Reggie Fish (WR), Elston Forte (FS), Tyrell Graham (LB), Cord Gray (DT), Felix Jones (RB), Jamar Love (CB), Darren McFadden (TB), Will Moore (PK), Mitch Petrus (OL), Marcus Shavers (DT), Brandon Sturdivant (LB) and Jose Valdez (OT) have all played in at least one game in their true freshman season.
True Freshmen Played
1. Arkansas 16
2. Duke 14
3. Kentucky 12
5. Illinois 11
Oklahoma State 11