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

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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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