The Arkansas Industrial Cardinals football team under John C. Futrall represented the Arkansas Industrial University (renamed the University of Arkansas in 1899) during the 1894 to 1896 college football seasons.
John C. Futrall was the football coach for the Arkansas Industrial Cardinals football team from 1894 to 1896. At the beginning of his tenure, Futrall was 21 years old, a recent graduate of the school, and a newly appointed professor. He later served as the university's president for 25 years from 1894 until his death in 1939.
The 1894 season was the first in which Arkansas Industrial fielded a football team. On Thanksgiving Day 1894, in the program's first intercollegiate football game, the Cardinals lost to the Texas Longhorns football team by a 54–0 score in Austin, Texas.
After the 1894 season, the Cardinals did not play another intercollegiate football game until the 1896 season. On October 24, 1896, Arkansas lost to Drury College by a 34–0 score in the program's second intercollegiate football game. The game was played in Springfield, Missouri.
During Futrall's three-year tenure as the Cardinals' football coach, the team played only two intercollegiate football games, both road games, and compiled an 0–2 record in those games while being outscored by a combined total of 88 to 0. During Futrall's tenure, the Cardinals also played five games against a high school team from Fort Smith, Arkansas, located approximately 50 miles south of the Arkansas Industrial campus. The team compiled a 5–0 record against the Fort Smith High School team, outscoring the high school team by a combined total of 126 to 2.
On November 29, 1894 (Thanksgiving Day), and after playing two games in October against Fort Smith High School, Arkansas Industrial played its first inter-collegiate football game against Texas Longhorns of the University of Texas. The game was played in Austin, Texas, before a crowd of 1,500 persons. Texas easily defeated Arkansas by a 54 to 0 score. The starting lineup in the Texas game was: H. D. Moore (right end); Campbell (right tackle); Braswell (right guard); James (center rush); Rogers (left guard); Kobel (left tackle); Mook (left end); Lindsay (quarterback); McDaniel (right halfback); Hayden (left halfback); and Ward (fullback). Professor John C. Futrall was the team's 21-year-old "manager".
During the 1895 season, Arkansas Industrial played no intercollegiate football games. Its only game was against Fort Smith High School, resulting in a 30–0 victory for Arkansas.
During the 1896 season, Arkansas again played two games against Fort Smith High School. Arkansas won both games by scores of 10–0 and 6–2. On October 24, 1896, Arkansas played the second intercollegiate football game in program history, facing the team from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri. Drury defeated Arkansas by a 34–0 score.
The roster of the 1896 football team included the following players: H. Y. Fishback (captain); L. R. Putnam; Frank James; T. O. Potts; R. P. Rutherford; V. V. Allen; E. Carter; J. W. Pollard; A. J. McDaniel; L. G. Crowley; J. Mitchell; G. W. Gunnel; F. Horsfall; L. F. Owens; and T. A. Edwards. John C. Futrall was the team's "manager", and B. N. Wilson was the "trainer".