Texas players feel ‘target on our backs’ in Big 12 road games due to SEC move

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Texas players feel ‘target on our backs’ in Big 12 road games due to SEC move

FORT WORTH, Texas — Texas and TCU fans shared the tailgate just as they did in the past. Divided households from as far away as Indiana showed up.

While the Longhorns’ first Big 12 road game since they accepted an invitation to participate in the Southeastern Conference wasn’t much different from the previous 39 meetings in Fort Worth, the SEC’s background was not ignored.

“We’re right in front of the student section, so you know we’re getting the whole SEC talk,” Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown said after a 32-27 win over the Horned Frogs on Saturday.

“It might be the last time we play against them, maybe not. Wherever we go, we know we have that target on our backs, that people don’t feel like we belong to the SEC or that we can work with them.” play. So they start talking.”

Liliana Ogden, who was part of a leadership group tasked with getting fellow TCU students to work from the front row of the section behind the Texas bench, reveled in the parts when the Texas players responded.

“They’ve been engaging, which fuels us quite a bit,” says Ogden, who isn’t spouting nonsense herself because she’s a member of the TCU Dutchmen. “I can’t repeat the words they said that made me laugh.”

No. Oklahoma, which is going to SEC with Texas by 2025, if not sooner, also played its first Big 12 road game in the state of Kansas.

The cheers of the OU by the home fans were similar to previous years, with a play on a derogatory term. The public address announcer made it a point to mention that Missouri is a former Big 12 member when he gave the score in the Tigers’ 62-24 SEC loss to Tennessee on Saturday.

Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said he wasn’t worried about the reception the Longhorns would get. There were no major incidents and after the game there was a lot of pleasant exchange between players and coaches on the field.

“It was great,” said Del Conte, the AD who brought TCU into the Big 12 in 2012 and is now taking Texas out of it. “People in Fort Worth are wonderful. TCU people are great. Happy to be here.’

Texas fan David Gladbach, who attended the game with a TCU-clad friend from his Little League coaching days near Fort Worth, had a feeling that the Longhorns’ first road game wouldn’t be a big deal.

“There will be no difference,” Gladbach said before the game. “The animosity that is there is there no matter what conference you play in.”

There were a few signs in the student area, but most of them had messages that would have fit each year. The exception was one that read, “Can’t beat the Hogs, won’t beat the Frogs,” a reference to Texas’ 40-21 loss to Arkansas three weeks ago, when the Longhorns were number 15 and the Razorbacks were not in the league. ranking.

Brothers Jairus and Jaydon Boyer traveled with their father from Indiana, not in anticipation of a Big 12-SEC chat, but because one grew up with a heart for Texas and the other for TCU.

Jaydon Boyer, now 19, got hooked on the Horned Frogs ten years ago when they dominated the Mountain West Conference and went undefeated while winning the Rose Bowl. Jairus Boyer, three years older, fell in love with the Colt McCoy-led Longhorns.

The younger Boyer didn’t get mad at his older brother when Texas filed for the SEC.

“I think they’re leaving because they’re afraid to play against us,” Jaydon Boyer said as his father and brother laughed. “That’s what it is.”

In two years, TCU will have four new Big 12 opponents in BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida. The question is whether Texas and Oklahoma will still be members when expansion hits. The Longhorns and Sooners could leave before 2025.

“I still feel like it’s going to fuel the fire and the game is probably going to be great,” said Rachel Bertelson, a Texas fan who attended with a TCU alum. “In people’s minds, this might be the last TCU-Texas game.”

Texas ran back Bijan Robinson, a sophomore who had rushed a career of 216 yards during his first meeting with TCU, heard the chatter as did Overshown. And Robinson was not among those who responded.

“I hear it in the back, bad stuff all the time,” Robinson said. “I don’t care. I just keep smiling to myself and keep worrying about what’s going on, what’s ahead. It’s just nice to see the team come together and do those things to block.”

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