'We don't have anything like this in Texas'

By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Texas fans walked up and down the Grove on Saturday with video cameras in hand.
“Unbelievable,” “crazy” and even “unrivaled” were among the words overheard from Longhorns fans who colored much of the extra-crowded Grove burnt orange prior to the Texas-Ole Miss game Saturday night.
There were dogs in jerseys, jam bands and even a guy playing a banjo in front of the union.
Andrew Durke, 24, drove 12 hours to get to the game, a night’s stay in New Orleans from Houston included.
“It’s pretty impressive. We don’t have anything like this in Texas,” Durke said. “How many people and how everyone comes to the same exact place and does the same exact thing is pretty awesome.”
Durke and two travel friends were amazed by the open arms that received them. A stranger gave them a ride on Friday night.
“We were sitting in front of our RV and all the people that drove by, waved,” said friend Will Rogers, 27. “Some of them were giving us horns, in full Ole Miss gear. Everybody that walks by is so glad we’re in town.”
The traveling trio ranked the Grove as the best of any tailgate they’ve seen, from a list that includes Texas, Texas Aamp&M, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Southern Cal, UCLA, Oklahoma and Colorado.
One Texas fan ranked it above the 2005 Texas-USC BCS title game pregame at the Rose Bowl.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, so many people here, ” said 19-year-old Ole Miss freshman Taylor Savage, a Texas native.
Savage was cheering for her school but wearing a Longhorn logo on her cheek.
Austin, Texas, native Doug McPhaul was wearing red and blue and camped out near the Grove stage under a tent that read “Texas Rebels.”
“This is the biggest crowd we’ve had around here in years. The Grove was full last weekend, but today it’s really hopping,” he said.
Wins, losses or even confusion on wins and losses for Ole Miss didn’t seem to matter to Rogers. Ole Miss has won 7 of 8 bowl games in the past two decades – including three Cotton Bowls in the state of Texas.
“The fact they haven’t had a successful football team in 20 years but they have perfected the art of the tailgate is awesome,” he said.
brandon.speck@journalinc.com

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