DALLAS (AP) — The clusters of players for No. 6 Oklahoma and 11th-ranked Texas were getting closer at midfield 30 minutes before the annual Red River rivalry, and officials were already trying to separate them when a few got too close and started jawing at each other.
Referee Mike Defee flung his flag high in the air and announced penalties on every player for unsportsmanlike conduct. Defee was just getting started with his warning that any subsequent unsportsmanlike calls would mean an immediate ejection Saturday.
During the pregame coin toss, Defee launched into a lecture to the captains about how the 115th meeting of these heated rivals was one of the best games in college football, and “We’re going to play this game with sportsmanship. Am I clear?”
The Sooners (5-0) and Longhorns (4-1) are in the unusual spot of playing for the third time in a year after meeting twice last season. Texas won the Cotton Bowl Stadium game in the middle of the Texas state fair, while Oklahoma took the rematch in the Big 12 championship.
After the flag was thrown, the teams ran to the same tunnel together. There weren’t any noticeable scuffles as OU players bunched up near the entrance while the Longhorns went single file right by them on the way up the ramp.
The tunnel is on the south end of the stadium, which is the side with crimson-wearing OU fans. The stands are divided at the 50-yard line, with burnt orange-clad Texas fans on the north side.
Players on both sides heeded Defee’s warning early. There didn’t seem to be any hint of an unsportsmanlike call into the early part of the second quarter.
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