Within the 116-year historical past of the Texas–Oklahoma rivalry, Saturday’s sport can be maybe its most memorable. Not essentially for good causes, however in a means that is laborious to even describe.
“For 2020, ‘bizarre’ is beginning to get overused,” stated Darrell Debish, a 48-year-old Texas fan who estimated this was his thirtieth Pink River look. “However I can not consider one other phrase.”
Positive, this was the primary soccer sport between the 2 hated rivals to go greater than two overtimes (it went 4). And Oklahoma’s 53-48 win was the highest-scoring sport within the historical past of the collection. However these aren’t the tales individuals will inform about this 12 months’s Pink River Showdown.
“There was no one yelling at one another or giving soiled appears to be like,” Oklahoma fan Rick Knapp stated. “That was bizarre. It wasn’t that very same intense rivalry that it often is.”
Knapp, who’s the manager director of Oklahoma’s Landing Membership, was attending his 52nd consecutive OU-Texas sport — 51 on the Cotton Bowl and the 2018 Large 12 title sport 20 miles away at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
His seats are proper alongside the divide on the 50-yard line, often one of many rivalry’s most well-known visuals, the imaginary state border the place the mass of burnt orange turns right into a sea of crimson not like in every other setting. With simply 11,250 tickets out there to every fan base for the 92,000-seat stadium, the divide was hardly seen this 12 months.
“There have been as many individuals in our part from Texas as there have been from OU,” Knapp stated. “They only form of melded this 12 months.”
The sport obtained off to an unpleasant begin. With 9 minutes left within the second quarter, Texas’ Keaontay Ingram had fumbled, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler had already thrown an interception and misplaced a fumble, and Texas’ Ryan Bujcevski had a punt blocked. The Sooners led 17-10 in what had principally been scoring off turnovers.
“I do not I do not assume the power was there to begin the sport that is usually there when you’ve got 150,000 individuals in and round that stadium,” Debish stated. “It simply wasn’t there.”
Positive, there have been flashes of a non-pandemic sport. Bevo was on the north finish of the Cotton Bowl. The Sooner Schooner was on the south. Smokey the Cannon fired from behind the orange finish zone and OU’s RUF/NEKs and Lil’ Sis fired their rifles after OU scores on the opposite finish.
However the Schooner did not journey till after the sport, when the stadium had emptied. And the bands solely appeared in previous performances on the video display screen. It was an odd disconnect, listening to “Texas Combat” however seeing an empty subject.
Exterior, there was a small number of truthful foods and drinks stands. However the obvious juxtaposition of the day with years previous was the eerie silence of an empty halfway because of the cancellation of the State Truthful of Texas.
Debish’s 11-year-old son, Colton, was born into the Texas fandom. “I named him after Colt McCoy as a result of he was born on Thanksgiving after we have been beating the Aggies,” Debish stated. Debish stated they have been routed via the shuttered halfway on their strategy to the stadium when Colton describe it completely. “It is a nice zombie land,” Colton stated.
There have been nonetheless signal of life because the Texas Star, the most important Ferris wheel in america at 212 toes tall, continued to spin. Inside a sales space, a lonely ticket-seller sat doing a crossword puzzle. She stated there have been loads of takers earlier than the sport, they usually hoped for extra afterward, however at halftime, its 44 gondolas have been empty. After one $10 ticket buy, I used to be the one rider on it, an achievement I will by no means unlock once more.
Mary Talley and her husband, Tom, personal the wheel and a number of other of the truthful sights and meals stands, in addition to a cellular amusement firm, Talley Amusements. She stated it was essential for her to even have this in the future to let individuals journey the Star.
“That is the primary 12 months in 20 years that I have never lived right here for the month,” Talley stated. “We’re undoubtedly restricted right here. That is all we get.”
After working in her household’s enterprise since 1984 and proudly owning it for the previous six years, she has by no means seen a 12 months like this one due to the crushing blow the coronavirus and the following restrictions have dealt her business.
“That is my legacy,” she stated of the enterprise. “That is my father’s legacy.”
Regardless of the rivalry and the end result, everybody nonetheless was grateful to have the soccer sport in a 12 months when it may’ve been in peril. They have been comfortable it remained on the Cotton Bowl regardless of the truthful’s cancellation. Largely due to one other celebrated custom.
“You gotta have a Fletcher’s Corny Canine while you go to that sport,” Knapp stated. “I stood in line early to get one. You have to have one. It is dangerous mojo in the event you do not.”
The traces on the firm’s stands stretched 40 to 50 individuals deep earlier than the sport and at halftime, when followers took benefit of the shortage of a halftime present to stroll exterior.
“The traces began at 8 a.m.,” stated Amber Fletcher, head of promoting for Fletcher’s Authentic Corny Canine. “One man I spoke to informed me that he is attended video games for over 30 years, and yearly he begins the day with a Fletcher’s Corny Canine for breakfast. We weren’t positive what to anticipate … however individuals discovered us.”
Normalcy, served on a stick. Traditions intact. Identical to bragging rights for OU followers.
Late within the sport, Knapp turned to his spouse, Dr. Teresa Shavney. “It is a traditional sport,” he stated.
“It is solely a traditional while you win,” she replied.
“So for us,” Knapp stated, “it was a traditional.”
In 2020, it may be price celebrating that this one is within the books.
For about 20 years, Brenda Palmer has labored the complete run of the State Truthful of Texas. This 12 months, she simply labored this in the future, as a car parking zone attendant at Gate 12. The Longhorns would possibly discover consolation in her outlook for a full return in 2021.
“Possibly God will bless us subsequent 12 months,” she stated.