What began as a glorious fall day on the campus at TCU ended up feeling more like a stormy trek around nearby Colonial Country Club during its annual PGA Tour event in May. When the game that included a 3-hour, 6-minute lightning delay finally ended at 12:40 a.m on Sunday, the University of Texas had easily defeated TCU, 30-7.
Other than simply rejoicing that we finally had a game that did not start at 11 a.m., it was obvious upon arrival that having UT fans in Fort Worth was an entirley different ballgame than the garden variety contest against Southeastern Louisiana, the DFW Duel against SMU or the lowly Kansas Jayhawks. When we arrived just prior to 2:30 p.m., some four hours prior to kickoff, we encountered fans from both schools already well into their tailgating scene. Weather reports had predicted gloom and doom and certain rainfall for all afternoon and into the night, so the perfect temperatures were like a gift of sorts.
It was the Longhorns' first trip to Fort Worth since 1994 -- the same year that Forrest Gump won Best Picture at the Oscars -- and they were well represented among the 48,212 fans who packed Amon Carter Stadium as well as in the parking lots before the game. The Founders' lot had several private parties for the upper-crust crowd who were heading straight inside to the suites when the game began, the Bob Lilly lot's perimeter was full of tents, but as usual, we found ourselves in the crowded student lot. With tents scattered throughout, flags from both schools flying and music blasting, it had the atmosphere of a hot nightclub. In the center of it all, we found the Bone Daddy's House of Smoke tailgate complete with its BBQ and extremely attractive ladies.
It only makes sense that the best scene of the year thus far at TCU would come against UT, with the Longhorns being the only school in Texas to make Playboy's 2013 list of Top 10 Party Schools. Ironically, West Virginia, the institution that topped Playboy's list, will be in Fort Worth next week to play the Horned Frogs.
When play got underway, the stadium was packed with the second largest crowd in the history of the venue -- 50,307 against Utah in 2009 still holds the top spot -- and the weather was still cooperating. When Casey Pachall replaced Trevone Boykin at quarterback for TCU's third offensive series, the home crowd gave its biggest roar of the evening, but Pachall's return did not fix the Frogs' issues on the offensive line.
Play was suspended due to lightning at 7:50 p.m. and did not resume until 10:56 p.m. During the delay that consisted of heavy rain at times, TCU opened the doors to Daniel Meyer Coliseum for fans to seek shelter, while others remained in the covered concourse areas. Several thousand fans in the student section originally remained out in the rain before security eventually had them move under the covering for safety reasons due to the large amount of lightning in the immediate area.
Over half of the huge crowd waited out the delay and even a three-minute halftime to see the Longhorns avenge last Thanksgiving's 20-13 loss to the Horned Frogs in Austin. Texas improved to 5-2 and 4-0 in the Big 12, while TCU fell to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play.
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