HOT SPRINGS — This Saturday, the Razorbacks are will make history in Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium. This will be the first game in 77 years that the Hogs have played an in-state school, and the first time they have ever faced the Pine Bluff Golden Lions on the field. The Razorback’s last in-state game would be the 1944 Arkansas-Monticello game under Coach Glen Rose’s first season.
The game was set in 2019 between Fayetteville’s Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek and UAPB Athletics Director Melvin Hines. The game is expected to strengthen and unify the University of Arkansas school system and sister schools, along with gaining commercial success and entertainment among Arkansas sports fans. Hines stated in 2019 that, “the opportunity to grow the UAPB brand within the state as well as nationally while strengthening our overall University System.” The game was originally set under former Head Coach, Chad Morris. The game is going to be a meet between Sam Pittman and Golden Lions Head Coach, Doc Gamble who just recently gained the position in 2020.
UAPB football goes all the way back to 1923, where they began in an independent conference, and have switched to four other conferences over time that include the NCAA Division II Independent, the NAIA Independent, the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference, and their current Southwestern Athletic Conference. UAPB has taken home championships that include the 2012 Southwest Athletic Conference Championship, along with a 10-2 record season, and the 2012 Black College National Championship.
The University of Pine Bluff has a deep history behind many former athletes. Over 30 Golden Lions played professional football or have been drafted into the NFL. In 1969, L.C Greenwood was drafted in the 10th round by the Pittsburg Steelers, and began a 17-year career as starting defensive end. A UAPB member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, he played defensive tackle in college for two years, earning the 1968 Ebony All-America Award. Greenwood became a member of what would become the famous Pittsburg Steel Curtain, the defensive line of the 1970’s that would be the backbone of the Steelers success in the NFL. Greenwood played along side “Mean Joe” Green, and gained a total of 78 sacks, 14 fumble recoveries, won four Super Bowls, became a member of the Steelers All-Time Team, and the list goes on.
Former Minnesota Vikings Safety, Gregg Briggs, also played for Pine Bluff for a brief period before moving and being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1992. He was then traded to the Browns in 1993, then played in the World League of American Football for the Frankfurt Galax, where he went to win the 1995 World Bowl. After a season in Germany, Briggs moved to Canada to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League, but shortly switched back to the Cowboys at the Start of the 1995 season. He was traded to the Chicago Bears in 1996, then finished his career in 1998 with the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. Briggs became a two-time Super Bowl champion, and a World Bowl champion. Another major NFL Golden Lion alumnus is Terron Armstead. Armstead made an incredible name for himself both in track and field and in football. While in college, he made the News-Democrat Track & Field Athlete of the Year after taking the Arkansas state title in the shot-put event with a 61-feet, 5 inches. He played for UAPB from 2009-2012, then was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 2013. As an offensive lineman, Armstead ran a 4.7 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine that became the fastest Combine 40 by a lineman since 1982. Armstead was also the highest draft pick ever out of Pine Bluff.
It has been a long month for the Razorbacks, maybe an in-state game might be what they need. This is also going to be the first Razorback game played in Little Rock since the Hogs lost to the Missouri Tigers in 2019. UA will be making history this weekend at War Memorial Stadium with its sister school UAPB. Kickoff against the Golden Lions is set for 11:00 a.m. and televised on the SEC Network.