NEW ORLEANS — The chief operating officer put it best on the first day the Arkansas Razorbacks arrived in New Orleans.
Razorback fans appreciate the tradition of the Sugar Bowl.
After almost two decades in the Southeastern Conference, a team who once defined its season by another traditional bowl tie in Dallas, the Razorbacks return to New Orleans not as the guest, but as the host.
Arkansas makes its fourth appearance in the Cresent City’s classic, but representing the tradition of the SEC. It has great meaning. If there ever was any question about where the Razorbacks belonged, carrying the SEC banner tonight should end that.
As a Louisiana native, I grew up with the Sugar Bowl as the pinnacle of college football. Personally, I have a great affinity for the Razorbacks’ first appearance in 1962. Great things came from that year, both myself and my wife.
Alabama was the host, facing off against the Southwest Conference champion Razorbacks. Bama led by the Fordyce native Bear Bryant had give up only 22 points in the 1961 season. The Razorbacks managed only three, but that was better than most opponents. Lance Alworth’s 24-yard reception set up that lone Arkansas score. Not exactly an offensive explosion by Bama as the Tide won 10-3.
The following New Year’s Day the Razorbacks returned to New Orleans, losing 17-13 to Ole Miss. Arkansas twice tied the game at 3-3 then 10-10 before Ole Miss took the lead for good in the third quarter. Billy Moore found Jessie Branch for a five yard touchdown pass, the first TD for Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
The 1969 game marked the third appearance of the decade, and the first victory for the Razorbacks as Chuck Dicus claimed the Miller-Digby Award as the MVP in a 16-2 win over Georgia. Considering the safety given up, the Hogs were responsible for all the points scored in the game, but only one touchdown.
That came on a 27-yard pass from Bill Montgomery to Dicus to give Arkansas a lead they would never relinquish.
For the game, Dicus had 12 receptions for 169 yards. Montgomery had only 185 passing yards in the game, making Dicus effort even more spectacular. (To see more about the 1969 Sugar Bowl, jump to the Razorback Classics archive.)
Ole Miss hosted Arkansas in 1970, another of the back-to-back Sugar Bowl appearances. The Rebels jumped on Arkansas for a 14-0 lead, but the Hogs came back as Montgomery threw for 338 yards and 2 TDs. One of those was a 47-yard TD pass to Dicus, Arkansas’ longest touchdown in its Sugar Bowl history.
Alabama and Arkansas matched up in 1980, and it led to a national championship for the Tide with a 24-9 win over the Razorbacks.
To learn more about Arkansas’ Sugar Bowl games and the Razorbacks’ bowl history, jump to the on-line interactive Razorback football postseason guide.
THIS MORNING IN NEW ORLEANS
Remember we have TwitTix for the Sugar Bowl. Check out the rules for the giveaway, but make sure you get a move on as the cutoff for consideration is 2:30 p.m. central.
The Allstate Fan Jam for the Razorbacks is 5 p.m. this afternoon at Champions Plaza, which is located between the Superdome and the former Hyatt Hotel.
The interactive blog opens earlier for the Sugar Bowl, and we are looking forward to seeing our BlogHogs. However, due to BCS rules, we can’t do extensive play-by-play.