FAYETTEVILLE — Bobby Allen started to believe it was going to be a special day the first time Texas lined up with three wide receivers and one running back.

FAYETTEVILLE — Bobby Allen started to believe it was going to be a special day the first time Texas lined up with three wide receivers and one running back.


The former Arkansas defensive coordinator told linebacker Quenton Caver before the game to be prepared because he was calling to blitz. And if the Longhorns’ pass protection plans didn’t change in bowl practices, Caver would only have the running back to beat to get to the Texas quarterback and disrupt the play.


"Can you beat the back and make the play?" Allen remembered telling Caver before his sack on the Longhorns’ second series of the game. "And sure enough, that’s what happened on that particular play … Like anything defensively, you kind of get rolling and the kids were playing aggressive and playing with confidence.


"We got a little blood in the water and it just kept going."


Allen’s recollection of the 2000 Cotton Bowl is fitting now, considering Arkansas (6-6) and Texas (6-6) will renew their rivalry in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 29. This season marks 15 seasons since the only other Razorbacks-Longhorns meeting in a bowl game and it produced lasting memories for Arkansas fans.


The 27-6 win was the final game of quarterback Clint Stoerner’s illustrious career with the Hogs. Freshman running back Cedric Cobbs burst onto the scene with a two-touchdown performance, which led to an offseason filled with Heisman Trophy conversation. Second-year coach Houston Nutt led a joyful postgame celebration by quickly flashing an upside down ‘Hook ‘em Horns’ sign, drawing the ire of Texas.


But Allen proved to be the most important man of the day after steering the Razorbacks to a record-setting defensive effort. Arkansas collected eight sacks, posted 12 tackles for losses and held the Longhorns to minus-27 rushing yards.


It is remembered as one of the greatest defensive performance in Arkansas’ bowl history. One Allen — who is now the program’s director of high school relations after a 15-year coaching career with the Razorbacks — looked back on with pride last week as Arkansas and Texas prepare to meet again in Houston’s NRG Stadium.


"It was a clear, fresh day, and you’re thinking, ‘I hope the kids are ready to play because this could really be a fun day,’" Allen said. "You could just tell coming out of that little tunnel they were ready …. It was going to be fun."


Allen had never experienced the Arkansas-Texas rivalry before the 1999 season, when he shared defensive coordinator duties with Keith Burns.


The two teamed to work with Arkansas’ defensive throughout the season, But Allen was on his own for the Cotton Bowl after Burns — who called the plays most of the season — left the program after the regular season to become Tulsa’s head coach.


He submerged himself into preparation for the Longhorns, understanding what the game meant to the Razorbacks. But Allen said Arkansas stuck with what made it successful throughout the season, counting on talented players like Caver, safety Kenoy Kennedy, cornerback David Barrett, and defensive lineman D.J. Cooper.


"We’d been together as a staff. It wasn’t like we were trying to run something that we weren’t all comfortable with," said Allen, who also worked with defensive assistants Clifton Ealy and Bill Keopple. "We all knew the defense. I’d had opportunities with Keith throughout the years to be in a situation where I had some input on what we were doing. So it was a matter of just calling it from the field."


And Allen said it was one of those days where every call seemed to work.


Seven different players had at least one sack, including little-used safety Chris Chalmers. Arkansas limited the Longhorns to 185 total yards and the Razorbacks produced a game-changing goal line stand, stuffing Texas on three straight plays from the one-yard line to force a field goal late in the third quarter.


Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. was a graduate assistant on the offensive staff that season and said the performance in Dallas was impressive.


"Our defense was fantastic," Lunney Jr. said. "Our guys were just ready to play, and played with a chip on their shoulder."


Allen credited his players for putting together a near-perfect performance.


Texas averaged 2.9 yards a play in the loss. Arkansas recorded sacks on three consecutive plays early in the fourth quarter, including one that knocked Texas quarterback Major Applewhite out of the game with a knee injury. The minus-27 rushing yards allowed by the Razorbacks was a Cotton Bowl record.


"We were able to get in some situations that day, and the kids executed," Allen said. "I remember Kenoy and David, after that goal line stand, the kids came out and we all got together and they said, ‘Coach, it doesn’t matter. Just dial it, we’ll do it.’


"Our kids just rose up. It’s not like Texas didn’t come to play."


Allen won’t be directly involved this time, although he is part of Arkansas coach Bret Bielema’s staff in an administrative role. But there’s still something special about the teams meeting in a bowl game 15 years after his big day.


Allen’s sons are members of the 2014 team. Brandon and Austin Allen are first and second, respectively, on Arkansas’ quarterback depth chart.


Both quarterbacks were in attendance for the 2000 Cotton Bowl, but Brandon Allen was seven years old at the time. He said earlier this month he couldn’t remember any specifics, but was certain he was in Dallas for the game for his dad’s big day.


"It’s pretty cool. I know how much he coached at these big games and especially against Texas and how much it meant to him," Brandon Allen said earlier this month. "So it’s kind of moving down the line and it means a lot to me to win this game and I think it means a lot to a lot of our players on this team."


Bobby Allen is glad his sons get to "make their own memories" against Texas after becoming bowl eligible. It’s the first time Arkansas has reached a bowl game since the 2011 season and Allen said it’s been rewarding watching players — including his boys — rewarded for their efforts with a chance to play against a rival.


"I’m excited for them," Bobby Allen said. "These kids are really excited like those kids were back in the 2000 Cotton Bowl. The chance to go back to Texas and play, just like that year, it couldn’t have worked out any better for who you’re playing to get excited about it. And I know for this team, they’re looking forward to going out and trying to put together their best 60 minutes. Play the best football we can."


Allen knows what that entails after his own experiences coaching against the Longhorns, helping the Razorbacks with their first bowl game since 1985.


He’d love nothing more than to see Arkansas repeat the feat in the Texas Bowl.


"The beauty about playing in a bowl game and winning is, regardless of what’s happened throughout the year, that taste of winning a bowl game and can stay with you for a lot longer," Allen said.


Texas Bowl Ticket


Arkansas (6-6, 2-6 in SEC) vs. Texas (6-6, 5-4 in Big 12)


When: Dec. 29 at 8 p.m.


Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas


TV: ESPN


Radio: ESPN Radio; Razorback Sports Network


Series Record: Texas leads 56-21


Last Meeting: Texas 52, Arkansas 10 in 2008


Last Bowl Meeting: Arkansas 27, Texas 6 in 2000 Cotton Bowl


Coaches: Arkansas — Bret Bielema (9-15 in second season); Texas — Charlie Strong (6-6 in first season)