The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M reignited their rivalry on the gridiron Nov. 17, and this year the stakes were … lower than ever.
After the final official showdown on Thanksgiving night in 2011 (Texas 27, Texas A&M 25), students started missing the rivalry. So this year the UT Student Government extended an offer to the Aggies for a duel where it counts: on the intramural fields.
Watch footage of the showdown in all its glory, courtesy of the Longhorn Network:
Battle-tested warriors from each school’s top men’s, women’s and coed flag football teams descended upon Caven Clark Field on a sparkling Austin afternoon. The national anthem was sung. Flags were velcroed. Hammies were stretched. Ponytails tightened.
The game announcer put things in perspective as the competitors took the field: “Today’s three games match the top flag football teams from The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. The university winning at least two of the three games will take home the SHOWDOWN TROPHY.”
There were no cheerleaders directing the crowd of roughly 200, only moms in homemade T-shirts. Instead of a Gatorade bath, the winners would be doused in very small amounts of bottled water.
There were burnt orange T-shirts and unfortunate “TU” chants. End zone dives and devastating interceptions. First up: the Lady Longhorns trounced their Aggie counterparts 19-0. A 26-6 UT coed win followed. With the trophy now secured for the Longhorns, all that remained was the men’s final.
It was a hard-fought battle, but in the end the Aggies emerged victorious with a 14-12 win.
Regardless of the score or who kept the trophy (Texas), the Lone Star Intramural Showdown gave old rivals — and friends — a good-spirited reunion.
“These are people that we went to high school with, people that we have mutual friends with that we’re playing against, so for our schools there’s a lot of pride on the line,” UT Student Government president Horacio Villarreal III told the Texas A&M student newspaper before the event. “There’s a lot of different factors in it that make it incredibly intriguing.”
Villarreal and Texas A&M student body president Reid Joseph spent much of the day together, swapping stories and cheering on their fellow students in the games they coordinated. “It was really neat to see two leaders from rivalrous schools show such respect and good nature towards each other,” said Alayna Alvarez, a UT journalism junior and Student Government communications director.
— Soncia Reagins-Lilly (@MotherDean) November 17, 2013
And so, with the rivalry renewed and the Longhorn champions in place, the students returned to their respective campuses and then home for Thanksgiving to watch their teams play other schools. The Lone Star Intramural Showdown will resume in the spring for a basketball tournament in College Station. But for now, once again, it’s Goodbye to A&M.