November 21, 2011

A Look Back: Memorable Games And Historical Moments That Shaped The Texas A&M-University Of Texas Rivalry

It is a rivalry that has lasted more than a century, one that has united and divided households across the state of Texas. These years are full of memories — of swaying maroon, seas of burnt orange, astounding victories, stunning upsets, unity, tragedy, respect, service, hijinks, record-setting and record-breaking. It is true that there are countless moments throughout the rivalry that resonate with Aggies and Longhorns, but below are some of the most memorable games and historical moments ever recorded between Texas A&M University and the University of Texas.

First Matchup

Oct. 19, 1894: 1894 marked the first year of sponsored football at the then Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, as well as the first matchup against the University of Texas. Texas A&M’s players, referred to as “College” or the “Farmers,” traveled to Clark Field in Austin to take on Texas’ “Varsity” squad. Texas claimed the victory at this first contest with a 38-0 win. The two teams would not meet again until 1898, but the game would begin the third longest rivalry in college football history.

Hex Rally And Bonfire

Hex Rally & Bonfire

Texas holds a Hex Rally to put a "hex" the Aggies, while Texas A&M's Bonfire symbolized the Aggies burning desire to beat the Longhorns.

1909: The first on-campus Aggie Bonfire was burned in 1909 in support of Texas A&M sporting event victories. However, it wasn’t until almost a decade later that Bonfire was burned specifically for the Texas game, symbolizing the Aggies’ burning desire to beat the Longhorns. Texas A&M students joined together to build the structure each year, in a process that would take weeks to complete. The stack of logs was topped with an orange outhouse and then burned after yell practice. If Bonfire stayed standing until after midnight, Aggies believed they would win the game vs. the Longhorns. Bonfire was burned each year until the 1999 collapse.

1941: Shortly before the Longhorns headed to College Station for the 1941 Thanksgiving Day game, a group of Texas students decided their team needed a little extra help — after all, the Longhorns had not won a game at Kyle Field in 18 years. The students visited a local fortune teller, who encouraged the students to burn red candles in the days before the game to “hex” the Aggies. They did just that, and the Longhorns won the game, 23-0. Thus was born the Hex Rally, Texas’ yearly attempt to hex Texas A&M. The rally features the Longhorn Band, the football team, coaches and thousands of attendees pass a flame lighting countless red candles while singing the “Eyes of Texas,” all in the hope of beating the Aggies.

First Football Game Broadcast In Texas

Nov. 24, 1921:  Interest in amateur radio shot up after the conclusion of World War I, and student operators at Texas A&M Experimental Station 5XB in College Station and Texas University Experimental Station 5XU in Austin decided to join forces to undertake a lofty ambition: broadcasting the play-by-play of that year’s Texas A&M vs. Texas game in real time. It took six radio operators, special abbreviations, lots of equipment and Morse code, but amateur radio operators throughout the state of Texas could keep up with the gridiron action. Despite this historic broadcasting feat, neither team could claim a victory — the game ended in a scoreless tie. 5XB, one of the oldest radio stations in the state, is now better known as news talk station WTAW — the call letters stand for “Watch The Aggies Win.”

Upsets

footballPlayersTuTamu

Numerous upsets have been recorded throughout the rivalry.

Nov. 28, 1940: Texas A&M was riding high after winning the 1939 National Championship. Coach Homer H. Norton, the second most winning coach in school history, led his team to Memorial Stadium in Austin, but it took only one Longhorn touchdown to end the Aggies’ 20 game winning streak: the final score was 7-0. The game — the only loss the team sustained that season — also knocked Texas A&M out of an appearance in the Rose Bowl.

Dec. 1, 1984: Coach Jackie Sherrill led the unranked Aggies to a 37-12 victory in Austin over No. 13 Texas, beginning the Aggies’ longest winning streak over the Longhorns. The win was Sherrill’s first against the Longhorns — the Aggies hadn’t won against their rival since 1980. During the game, the Aggies also set records for points scored against the Longhorns in Austin, as well as a record for points scored in the series. The following year, Texas A&M’s victory over Texas would bring the Aggies their first Southwest Conference championship since 1967.

Mascot Theft

Nov. 12, 1963: Over the years, several incidents of Texas A&M students stealing Bevo have been reported — so many in fact, that they spurred this ESPN commercial. However, this particular heist enlisted the help of the Texas Rangers. A group of sophomore cadets drove a stock trailer down to a hog farm outside of Austin where Bevo was kept, loaded him into the trailer under the cover of darkness and drove the captured steer back to College Station. The Texas Rangers were called to help locate the missing mascot. Once he was found alive and well in a College Station farmhouse, the Silver Spurs (the Texas student organization responsible for Bevo’s care) arrived with a special trailer to transport him back to Austin.

Bevo & Rev

Bevo and Reveille have both been stolen by students from the opposing school.

December 1993: Neil Andrew Sheffield, a student at Texas, stole Reveille VI from the Dallas backyard of her handler, Jim Lively, over winter break. Reveille VI, who had recently become mascot after her predecessor went into retirement, was returned unharmed after Sheffield tied her leash to a Lake Travis signpost and called police. Prior to the incident, Reveille was the only mascot in the Southwest Conference who had never been stolen.

Uniting And Remembering

Nov. 26, 1999: The game played at Kyle Field this day was arguably one of the most unifying moments in the history of the Texas A&M and University of Texas rivalry. Eight days earlier, Aggie Bonfire had collapsed, killing 12 Aggies and injuring 27 more. The Aggies had missed two days of practice, as they instead helped search for survivors. Emotions on gameday were raw; the Aggies were playing for more than a win against No. 7 Texas. The game was a tense back-and-forth — the Aggies scored in the first, but the Longhorns jumped into the lead in the second quarter and held onto it until late in the fourth, when the Aggies pulled ahead again. The lead, however, wasn’t ensured until linebacker Brian Gamble recovered a fumble with a minute left in the game, securing Texas A&M’s 20-16 win. On hand at Kyle Field to witness the emotional victory was a record crowd of 86,128 — at the time, the largest crowd to have ever gathered for a football game in the state of Texas.

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Media contact: Krista Smith, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4645 or krista.smith@tamu.edu.

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14 Comments to A Look Back: Memorable Games And Historical Moments That Shaped The Texas A&M-University Of Texas Rivalry

  1. Maurilio Garcia-Maldonado on November 22nd, 2011
  2. Gig’em Aggies!!!

    I witnessed the great year of Aggies footbal, with Kevin Murray as QB, in 1984 as freshman in Computer Science. Those most memorable years of mine. It was only diminishing in the Fall of 1988, samed time when I graduated, we lost to Washington’s Chris Chandler. I wish Kevin Murray is alive and kicking, living well. Does anybody know?

    Cheers,
    Harlyn

  3. Harlyn Sianturi on November 22nd, 2011
  4. Yes, is it sad to see this wonderful tradition coming to an end. Hopefully Texas leaders will soon realize this game is not about a few people at the top, but about all the citizens and alumni of the great state of Texas. Texas realized during their talks with the Pac-12 that their bullying tactics don’t work when you are about to be homeless (i.e., independent). Yes, Texas leads the overall series with A&M by 75-37, but the series is 15-15 over the past 30 years. It is understandable why Texas would not want to schedule a strong A&M team late in the season, but that is what rivalry weekend is about. Hopefully the Little 12 conference will survive, but if Texas can some day become humble, realize you are just another liberal school with misplaced values, welcome to the SEC. So….

    Good-bye to Texas University
    So long to the Orange and the White
    Good luck to the dear old Texas Aggies
    They are the boys that show the real old fight

    Gigem!

  5. Guy G '87 on November 23rd, 2011
  6. Correction on Bonfire information. 1963 Bonfire did not burn. We built it, but Pres. Kennedy was killed a few days before it was to burn.

    BTHO tu and Gig ‘em
    David, ’65

  7. David on November 23rd, 2011
  8. BTHO Texas!!!!

  9. Gunner Wiliams on November 23rd, 2011
  10. Kevin Murray is indeed alive and well and tutoring QBs in Dallas. He has a son that will likely play soon!

  11. David Heath '76 on November 23rd, 2011
  12. It is SAD, SAD, SAD that because of the GREED of one school, or either SCHOOL, that something that is as much a part of Texas as The Alamo, or any other signifcant landmark, must come to an end. There will be no winner on Thanksgiving Day in College Station. The entire state is the loser!… as this RIVALRY draws to a close. I wish the Longhorns well with their Longhorn Network (which by the way can only be viewed by a small parcel of the population), and I wish the Aggies well in the SEC (where they’ll be the red-headed step child for the next 5-7 years – minimum). I hope both schools CHOKE on their GREED!
    Regards,
    D K

  13. Don K on November 23rd, 2011
  14. Without a doubt, the Texas band, holding OUR school flags, pointed to the former students section, singing Amazing Grace at Kyle Field in the ’99 post bonfire game, gives me chills as I type it!

  15. Marshal Reinhart on November 23rd, 2011
  16. Thanks David Heath for the info. I wish the QB son good luck. The Aggies’ Kyle Field legend must be have been a great inspiration for him.

    Gig’em!!!

    Harlyn Sianturi ’88

  17. Harlyn Sianturi on November 24th, 2011
  18. Good luck to Dear Old Texas Aggies.
    May these two teams play their best,and leave it all on the field.There will be another day.
    Farmers fight,farmers fight,fight,fight,farmers,farmers fight.
    Happy Thanksgiving,Gig’em.
    Class of ’78

  19. Kelly Kirkpatrick on November 24th, 2011
  20. Of all the games I witnessed, the 1999 game following the bonfire collapse will forever remain the most emotionally charged game of all time. I have watched it twice since then, and wept openly for the 12 Aggies who perished that fateful day. And for once in my life, I was proud of how the t.u. students and band honored our grief during that time. It was evident that the team “willed” themselves to victory in honor of the 12. Gig ‘em.

  21. Dan Gower on November 24th, 2011
  22. Kevin Murray has his own quarterback coaching program. here is his website: http://www.air14football.com/ssp/home

  23. Dan Bordelon on November 24th, 2011
  24. As an alumnus of The University of Texas and in response to Harlyn Sianturi’s comments as well as others above, I agree that an ending to our historic rivalry in this manner is absolutely ridiculous. As the only sane son of a large family of cult members that went to A&M, I have a deep respect for both universities. Unfortunately, it looks as if greed and power have decided our somewhat friendly rivalry was starting to look more like a “credit default swap”. Perhaps your illustrious former professor, Phil Gramm, may know who destroyed yet another pillar of the “American Dream”. In the end, those with power and the lust for quick money win.

  25. Jeff Phillips on November 25th, 2011
  26. I totally agree with those who think that the end of this nearly 120 year tradition is unacceptable. Not one of us on either side truly “hates” the other team – it is a healthy rivalry that all TRUE Texans look forward to each year. When push come to shove, Texans will always support one another. It’s like a family… we can “mess” with our own brothers and sisters… but if anyone else tries to, watch out! Look at what the Texas band has done on our field in our honor each time something significant has happened… rivals or not, we are all one big TEXAS family and it should stay that way FOREVER!

    Besides, BOTH of our fight songs (war hymn) refer to the defeat of the other team – if there is no annual game, how can we in reality continue to sing them??? Football has always been king in Texas, and the annual Thanksgiving Day game tops the list. I can’t imagine my Thanksgiving without watching “the” game, and I’m sure I’m not the only Texan who feels this way. I would encourage all Texans who think like me to put pressure on those at the “top” who made this stupid and greedy decision to overturn it ASAP!!!!!!!

  27. Stacey W - Class of '94 on November 25th, 2011
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