By Tyler Priddy
HOT SPRINGS — On November 18, 1922, the University of Arkansas played their first homecoming game at The Hill against the Southern Methodist University Mustangs.
Under Head Coach Francis Schmidt’s first season with the Razorbacks, the Arkansas homecoming game was a major success, and an unexpected win for the underdogs at The Hill. Something really pumped up the crowd and the Hogs this game though. With a short supply of players, and a limited number of substitutions, the University began the annual homecoming in order to symbolize not only earning a win for the Hogs, but show the pride and dignity of Arkansas students and athletes. Not only were the homecoming king and queen introduced, but Schmidt himself decided to add a new slogan on a 20-foot banner that read: ARKANSAS NEVER QUITS. The new high-geared attributes to the University of Arkansas have since then been as essential to Razorback athletics as Hugo Bezdek’s alternation from the Arkansas Cardinals to the “Wild” Razorbacks.
One of Arkansas longest career coaches, Fred Thomsen, coached his final homecoming game on November 15, 1941, one month before the United States’ entrance into World War II. Being Thomsen’s 13th and final season, the University of Arkansas was set to play the SMU at Razorback Stadium for their 19th annual homecoming game. This would also be the third and last home game at Razorback Stadium that season, with an attendance of 9,000. With an unfortunate 14-7 loss, Arkansas played a great game and kept SMU scoreless until the second half. Though it was a loss, the 1941 Homecoming Game was known for being the last crowded home game until at least the 1947 Texas Christian University game.
Along with Frank Broyles, Hugo Bezdek, Houston Nutt, and Bobby Petrino, one of the most recognized and prominent names in Razorback football is Lou Holtz. Lou Holtz had one of the best seasons in 1979, that included the November 10 homecoming win against No. 17 Baylor. The game was an excellent win for the Hogs, ending with a score of 29-20. One of the biggest highlights of the Baylor game was a 41-yard field goal that was scored by Arkansas placekicker, Ish Ordonez, who also led the entire conference in field goals with 18 out of 22. After the homecoming game, Ordonez had officially broken the former NCAA field goal record of 12 consecutive field goals. While coaching at Arkansas, Holtz would only lose two homecoming Games, one of which would be against Baylor in 1983.
The Texas A&M Aggies have been a long-time rival of the Razorbacks since their first game in 1903. A win over the Aggies was always a substantial achievement for the Razorbacks. Especially, it was at the 40th annual homecoming game. On November 4, 1961, Texas A&M met Frank Broyles and the Hogs at Razorback Stadium during his fourth season for a serious Aggie upset. The rivalry game ended with a Razorback victory of 15-8. This would be NCAA and NFL Hall of Famer Lance “Bambi” Alworth’s last homecoming game with the Razorbacks before starting an incredible 10-year career in professional football playing for the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys.
The question is if the Razorbacks will break their two-game losing streak against the Tigers at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium this Saturday for the 2021 Annual Homecoming Game. Currently ranked at No. 17, defeating the Tigers would be a key role pushing the Hogs back where they need to be in the SEC. The annual Pep Rally will be held tonight, and kickoff to of the biggest games of the season is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and televised on CBS,