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Ghost passers in the sky

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Preston Carpenter, who caught it, and Buddy Benson, who threw it, are both gone now, and even those who remember it are declining in number. Carpenter's death last week, at 77, is reason enough for old-time Razorback fans to once again celebrate the 66-yard touchdown pass that beat Ole Miss in 1954 and more or less began the modern — that is, "successful" — era of Arkansas football. Benson died earlier this year. People who'd never followed the Razorbacks became fans in '54. The national media, which usually covered only Notre Dame, took notice of Arkansas for the first time. Younger Hog fans can't recall the passion of the Texas rivalry, much less that before Frank Broyles came to Arkansas, Ole Miss, not Texas, was our bitterest enemy. Arkansas football was different after 1954, not that we haven't suffered the occasional disappointment since. Just a few years later, an official awarded the Ole Miss game to the Rebels though they missed the "winning" field goal. A few years later still, his brother-in-law arranged a Tennessee "victory" in the Liberty Bowl. There was the pooch kick. And just last January, Ohio State profited from its use of ineligible players. But cheaters never really prevail, and the games that count are those won honestly: Arkansas 6, Ole Miss 0, 1954.

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