Epic Collision

The setup: Two storied teams, two legendary coaches, two proud states, and two loyal fan bases. One game. Sixty minutes of football. On Dec. 6, 1969, at Razorback Stadium, in Fayetteville, Ark.

At stake: A conference championship, a national title, and state pride.

The backdrop: America was a cauldron of chaos … racial tension, war, soldiers coming home in body bags, President Richard Nixon sitting in the stands, Secret Service everywhere and nowhere to be seen, new music, new birth control method, brutal politics, new challenges to authority … The U.S. was a tangled mess in the late-1960s  — actually, not so different from today.

Why It Still Matters

Right after the game, your life changed, everything changed … recruiting of black athletes in Dixie, new safety rules in football, tighter crowd control, more TV coverage and bigger money in college athletics … Suddenly, for the Arkansas Razorbacks and Texas Longhorns, and players and coaches nationwide, bulbs on a scoreboard no longer defined them. Instead, life came rushing at them.

In a blur, these superior, highly trained athletes were no longer football stars. They were fathers, community leaders, victims of car wrecks and cancer, businesses and marriages gone bad. Some Saturday’s heroes lost their way, others used football to find faith. The competition took on new and different meaning. Who could have predicted such outcomes?

It’s all here, in words of those who lived this epic journey, supported by dozens of period photos and clever original illustrations from award-winning artist Bill DeOre. In his Beyond The Big Shootout – 50 Years of Football’s Life Lessons, author Mark S. McDonald has emerged from his own football past to create a historical narrative on a giant canvas, unlike any other.

For some, the game itself was cruelly damaging. For others, it brought dance-in-the-street joy. But today, looking back, who really won? Was there really a loser?

After reading this one, you will know.

about the game

Mack Bown in Little Rock

Mack Brown

I’ve had seven knee operations, one knee replacement … with all that, I would still play again, because of the lessons that you learn.

— Former University of Texas head coach and ESPN analyst Mack Brown, now head football coach at the University of North Carolina

Worst thing that came from The Big Shootout was what it did to Jerry Moore. Biggest misconception in the history of Razorback football was that Jerry Moore got beat on the play. He did not get beat on the play. That pass was meant to be caught.

— Former Razorback All-American Bruce James

Texas’ Bob McKay (L) and Bruce James of Arkansas, two All-American linemen

David Arledge

There was not a coach in the country who would put me out there at 168 pounds.

— Former UT defensive end David Arledge on defensive coordinator Mike Campbell

It had never happened before, and it could never happen again.

— ESPN’s Rece Davis on The Shootout’s television ratings

Rece Davis


How To Purchase

Beyond The Big Shootout gives more than keen insight about the Arkansas-Texas game for the national championship. Players and coaches of the 1960s tell how the game was played then, and how it has changed since.

More than that, 50 Years of Football’s Life Lessons shows how the players’ lives would change in the aftermath.

This is the perfect item for the sports fan or historian on your gift list.

Savor more than 300 pages of hard-hitting text, period photos and illustrations from the head and heart of award-winning artist Bill DeOre

creative team

Mark S. McDonald

Nobody had to introduce author Mark S. McDonald to the game of football. Growing up in the outskirts of Houston, Texas, a football helmet and shoulder pads came with the territory.

After pee-wee ball, followed by a stint on the junior high gridiron in Roswell, N.M., McDonald stepped into the Friday night lights at oil-patch Midland (Texas) Lee High. Afterward, he started two years in the offensive line at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He came away from his 14 years of organized football without a limp, but with a degree in journalism, life-long friends and a heart full of experience.

McDonald has since escaped starvation while cluttering metro newsrooms in El Paso, Abilene, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. Now back in Midland, he manages his own book-publishing team at dustdevilpublishing.com and on weekends, officiates games from the stands. And, according to him, never misses a call.

Bill DeOre

While still in a highchair in Dallas, Texas, Bill DeOre was spoon-fed lore from the old Southwest Conference. And never lost his appetite.

DeOre graduated from former SWC-member Texas Tech in advertising art and design, and came back to the Dallas Morning News to win numerous awards as a nationally syndicated cartoonist.

An accomplished public speaker, Bill donates countless works to his high school alma mater Dallas (Texas) Jesuit Prep and illustrates children’s books.

Let the record show that for a time, Bill shared the Dallas newsroom with Shootout author Mark McDonald, while both also served as volunteer coaches in youth sports. It follows then, that the “seasoned” duo would once again connect on a project related to … what else … sports history.