Arkansas -Texas Fans Renew Rivalry

FAYETTEVILLE -- Four fighter jets soared over Reynolds Razorback Stadium before kickoff of the Arkansas-Texas game Saturday night, but it was hard to tell the difference between their subsonic roar and the boos showered on the Longhorns by most of the record crowd of 75,671 soon afterward.

The latest -- and for the immediate future, last -- meeting between the Horns and Hogs brought Arkansas and Texas fans from every corner seeking tickets, no matter where they were.

Bruce Simpsen of Dallas and Andy Watson of Houston, both Texas fans, sat in the belly of the beast on the west side lower level surrounded by thousands of Hog fans in every direction.

The pair rented a lake house on Beaver Lake and said they were having a great time after arriving in Fayetteville on Friday morning and taking a stroll around campus Saturday.

"This is a great stadium," Watson said. "The fans are real spirited and we like that."

So were Watson and Simpsen early on against Arkansas as Texas built a quick 9-0 lead behind a safety and a 49-yard touchdown pass from Vince Young to David Thomas. After Arkansas stormed back to take a 17-16 halftime lead, the Hog fans around the pair let them know about it, albeit gently.

"This lady kept telling me to sit down," Simpsen said with a smile and a nod over his shoulder to a long-time Razorback fan sitting behind him. "I started getting a few more pats on the shoulder as (the first half) went on."

Watson said despite the heated nature of the Arkansas-Texas rivalry, the two had enjoyed a better reception than most places they've been around the Big 12.

"These fans are a lot better than (Texas) A&M fans or Oklahoma fans," Watson said. "Put that in there."

Simpsen said the worst thing he or Watson had endured besides a few catcalls was an elbow to the ribs from an Arkansas fan in the Broyles Complex parking lot known simply as "The Pit."

Even that shove couldn't dim Simpsen's opinion of Razorback fans.

"I bet that guy never attended a class here," Simpsen said.

As cordial as Horn-Hog relations were in the season-ticket holder areas of the stadium, they were anything but in the south end zone where dozens of rival fans sat side-by-side and amongst each other.

The south end zone, where the overflow bleacher sections are set up, had more dueling horns than a battle of the bands between Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

Each play generated frantic Horns up or Horns down from sweaty and slightly intoxicated students mugging for television time or elbow room along the end zone barricades under the careful watch of several Arkansas state troopers.

Mike Hardester of Benton was attending his first Arkansas game after getting the tickets from a friend.

He said the Texas fans were "great fans," but admitted things weren't so nice in the first half when the Longhorns jumped on top.

"They were pretty cocky," Hardester said. "Things have been a little tense."

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