DALLAS -- A nostalgic week of buildup for the Texas-Arkansas rivalry being revived in the Cotton Bowl was overshadowed Friday by the suspension of four Longhorns -- including two of the team's top starters.
Kwame Cavil, whose 100 receptions and 1,188 yards this season set school records, and Aaron Humphrey, the Big 12 sack leader the last two seasons, will miss today's game for violating undisclosed team rules.
Defensive end J.J. Kelly and linebacker Jamal Joyner also will be absent when the No. 14 Longhorns (9-4) and No. 24 Razorbacks (7-4) meet for the first time since 1991.
"This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do," Texas coach Mack Brown said with tears in his eyes when he announced the suspensions.
Brown spoke to reporters shortly after the four players addressed their teammates Thursday night. He would not disclose what was said, but he called the meeting "one of the most emotional I've ever been a part of."
"The four men involved are great young men and have done a tremendous job for our team and The University of Texas," Brown said. "We all love and care about them very much."
Brown has been trying to stoke the team's emotion all week -- but not like this.
His aim was to get them caught in the frenzy of a rivalry that dates to 1894.
Both were charter members of the Southwest Conference in 1915. They played annually from 1932 until Arkansas left for the Southeastern Conference after the '91 season.
Although the Longhorns lead the series 54-19, there have been many memorable battles, especially in the overlapping eras of coaches Darrell Royal of Texas and Frank Broyles of Arkansas. During their tenure, the Longhorns were national champions in 1963 and '69 and the Razorbacks in '64.
"They've told us that it was a big thing in the past, and both states really got up for the game," said Texas defensive tackle Casey Hampton. "That's something that we've got to think about."
The Razorbacks also have gone through a crash course in Hogs-Horns history since the game was announced.
Broyles spoke to the team before their first practice and so have several former stars. The best motivation, though, has come from the folks who wear plastic hog hats and scream "Pig! Sooie!"
"Our fans sure have taken it to another level," said receiver Anthony Lucas. "In Arkansas, every time we'd run into fans they'd tell us, `You've got to beat Texas.' They are taking it kind of personal."
Some players have had trouble feeling they're a part of history. After all, they weren't even teen-agers when the teams last played and none, were born when the schools played in "The Big Shootout" in 1969.
"That was a long time ago," said UT safety Greg Brown. "That's probably before my parents even thought of me."
Players also don't view the Cotton Bowl as being as prestigious of a game as old-time Longhorns and Razorbacks remember it.
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