For the second week in a row Texas quarterback Randy McEachern today engineered a touchdown drive that enabled the second-ranked Longhorn to overcome a previously unbeaten team and remain undefeated.
Texas beat Arkansas in the nationally televised Southwest Conference game, 13-9, as McEachern completed three big passes on the 80-yard drive that produced the game's only touchdown with 4:35 to play.
McEachern a senior nonletterman who practiced this week with the first unit for the first time in his five-year Texas career, produced the big plays into a 20-mile-per-hour headwind in a span of four plays to set-up Ham Jones' one-yard touchdown run.
First he dumped off third-down pass for 14 yards to Jones. On the next play, he connected with Albert Jackson for a nifty 31-yard gain. Then he pulled a fake reverse and lobbed a screen pass that Earl Campbell carried 23 yards to the one.
The execution of the screen pass which Texas had set up by running a number of reverses throughout the game, caught the Razorbecks off guard. it was the first time the play had been run this season.
"It was a complete surprise." said losing coach Lou Holz. "We never expected it. I wish we could surprise somebody sometime."
The surprises were not limited to the Texas offense. The Longhorn defense, the nation's stingiest, took away Arkansas' momentum in the third quarter with two gambling safety blitzes that made the Razorbacks settle for a 9-6 lead on Steve Little's 25-yard field goal.
THat was the game's fifth field goal. Longhorn Russell Exrleben kicked one from 58 yards and one of 52 yards to give Texas a 6-0 lead. Then Little, now with the wind at this back, retaliated with successful kicks of 33 and 67 yards, the latter tying Exrleben's NCAA record set two weeks ago against Rice.
This looked like a day for the kickers to dominate until McEachern took over. Texas' top tow quarterbacks were injured last week against Oklahoma nd he led the Longhorns to a 13-6 win. He said his timing was better today.
And he had ample help from Campbell, who ran for 188 yards in 34 carries to give him a Southwest Conference career record of 3,385 yards.
McEachern began the winning drive after Exrlebon barely missed a 33-yarder that would have tied the score.The quarterback handled the plays sent in by coach Fred Akers with aplomb and described them afterward with the confidence he had shown on the Razorback Stadium carpet.
"I never thought we were going to lose," he said. [WORD ILLEGIBLE] new we had time to score after Exrleben missed."
On the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to Ham Jones: "Lam Jones the Olympic sprinter) was the primary receiver. Ham was running in the flat. They had a safety blitz on, so I had to get rid of it."
On the 31-yarder, which Jackson snatched away from defender Patrick Martin. "They had overshifted their defense I thought Albert could beat him."
On the screen pass to Campbell: They expected the reverse and they left that side wide open."
There was one defender there, defensive end Cornelius Smith, but Campbell put a shoulder fake on him and it was clear sailing to the one.
Texas now undefeated in five games howed its defensive muscle and cunning when the Razorbacks had a first and 10 at the Longhorn 14 late in the third quarter.
Arkansas had been running strong off the tackle to get there. On first down quarterback Ron Calcagni handed off to Mike Forrest, who went off tackle again. Sensing that the Texas defense was being set up for a different type of play, coordinator Leon Fuller called blitzes on the next two plays by strong safety Ricky Churchman.
Indeed, Calcagni sewitched to the quarterback option out of his veer offense. Both times he looked back for the pitch to Ben Cowins and both times Cowins was picking himself up off the carpet some 15 yards b rds behind the play.
"The strong safety is responsible for the pitch man with nobody on him."
"It's called a lightning stunt," said Churchman, who injured his houlder while carrying out his chore. "If it's a pass, I go for the quarterback.Otherwise I take the option man.
"I can't tackle him, because if I tackled him, it would be a penalty. So I just try to block him just get his feet out from under him."
Arkansas settled for a field goal, goingahead 9-6, but remaining in reach of McEachern and Texas.