by: Tyler Priddy
HOT SPRINGS — On November 29, 1996, the University of Arkansas faced their rivals, Louisiana State
University at War Memorial Stadium for what is now one of the games in the SEC.
The game itself was based on either team gaining, or regaining, a geographic shape of championship athletics in the Golden Boot. The origin of the Golden Boot dates back to the same year the Frank Broyles Award was established. The idea of the trophy came from former linebacker of the Holtz/Hatfield era Razorbacks David Bazzel. The cost of the championship trophy is of great value, which was split between LSU and UA. When the idea was approved, Bazzel took his concept to a jeweler in Little Rock. Soon after, the
former Razorback walked out of a jewelry store with a new battle that was 4 foot tall, 200 pounds, 24 karat
gold, and molded geographically in the shape of Arkansas and Louisiana; thus, making it look like a shoe.
This was the official Battle for the Golden Boot championship trophy.
Arkansas played what became one of their best and most notorious games in Razorback history during
the 2002 Battle for the Golden Boot game at War Memorial Stadium. This game was better known by
Arkansas fans as “The Miracle on Markham.” It was a game that left everybody breathless. With 17
seconds on the clock, down 20-14, and waiting on a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship,
quarterback Matt Jones threw a 31-yard pass to DeCori Birmingham tying the game 20-20. Arkansas
then made an extra point with a field goal distance due to being penalized for celebration, which put the Hogs at the winning score of 21-20, and left Little Rock with the Golden Boot.
Houston Nutt made a big name for himself when coaching for Arkansas, especially at his last game
against LSU in 2007 with the Razorbacks. On November 23, 2007, Arkansas took the Golden Boot back
from LSU in Baton Rouge In front of a crowd of well-over 90,000 at LSU’s own Tiger Stadium. The Hogs and Tigers faced off in a gruesome match that led into the famous triple overtime game. The game was so prominent for the underdog Razorbacks, seeing how the LSU Tigers were ranked No.1 at the time. Arkansas running back, and Heisman runner up, Darren McFadden, had rushed 206 yards, scored three touchdowns, and threw one touchdown as well. Both teams went on to play three overtime quarters, one of the longest games in Razorback history. By the end of the third overtime quarter, Arkansas won the game 50-48, and Nutt finished his final season with the Hogs before switching to another Arkansas rival, Ole Miss.
In 2008, Arkansas defended the Boot once again and played what was known now as “The Miracle
Markham II.” Six years before, the Razorbacks won the Boot at War Memorial Stadium with less
than 30 seconds on the clock. On November 28, 2008, they did the same thing. As Bobby Petrino’s first
season with the Hogs did not end with the best numbers, the Battle for the Golden Boot was one of
Petrino’s biggest highlights with Arkansas. On fourth down, former Senior Quarterback, Casey Dick,
threw 24-yard touchdown pass to Razorback receiver, London Crawford. With the Hogs originally behind
30-24, and 22 seconds left in the game, Dick’s pass put the Razorbacks at a tie with the Tigers. After the
last 2008 miracle touchdown, Arkansas scored the last extra point, putting the Razorbacks ahead 31-30;
therefore, giving them the Boot to take back to Fayetteville. Ironically, this game was known as “The
Miracle on Markham II” because Crawford’s last catch was nearly in the same spot Birmingham’s miracle
catch was six years before.
The 2010 Battle for the Golden Boot was another highlight win for the Razorbacks. When the Tigers
traveled back to Little Rock, they played against record-breaking Razorback quarterback Ryan Mallett,
and sophomore running back Knile Davis. The year before, Arkansas lost the Golden Boot at Tiger Stadium in one overtime quarter, with a score of 33-30. In 2010, War Memorial Stadium witnessed Mallett break the school record of 60 career touchdown passes while attending the University of Arkansas. Davis played an incredible game. He rushed for 152 yards, including nine straight rushes on the final Arkansas drive that put them ahead towards the end of the game. Arkansas’s Cobi Hamilton had two touchdowns that were at least 80-yards, and made three catches for a full 164 yards. This was known to be Hamilton’s best game receiving wise. LSU came in the game with the top-ranked defense in the SEC, and was ranked at No. 5, while Arkansas was entered the game at No. 12. Arkansas won the Boot back with a final score of 31-23, and ended their season with a record of 10-3.
This Saturday, Arkansas is going to be fighting for the Boot once again in Louisiana. There has been
years of history worth of The Battle for the Golden Boot, and the Hogs intend to take it back home to
Fayetteville this weekend.