DALLAS — Clayton Kelley hoped he could keep his girlfriend in the Cotton Bowl until the end.
Kelley, an OU fan, was sitting with Lydia Crawford, a Texas fan, on the Sooners' side as OU whipped Texas 55-17, and Crawford wanted to leave.
But Kelley kept her around through three defensive touchdowns by the Sooners, three touchdown passes by Landry Jones and OU celebrating by planting a crimson and cream flag in the middle of the Cotton Bowl grass.
Then with a group of around 10 friends gathered around them, Kelley pulled out a ring and proposed to Crawford on the field as the Sooners wrapped up their celebration.
“I was ready to go,” Crawford said moments after Kelley proposed. “It's the best day ever.”
Kelley and Crawford have been together for about nine months, meeting not long after he moved from Tulsa to Austin on the weekend of last year's OU-Texas game.
“Not in a million years,” Kelley said of thinking he'd fall in love with a Texas fan. “They were the mortal enemy and really they still are. But you've got to love your enemy, right?”
Kelley grew up in Tulsa, and his family has long held OU football season tickets. Since 2000, he's been to every OU-Texas game. Crawford grew up in Austin and has also been a regular at the Red River game.
This summer, he started jokingly telling friends that he was going to propose during the game. In late August, he decided to go through with it.
He bought the ring in mid-September and kept it close, mainly in his briefcase, before finally moving it just days ago to an office closet in the house they share.
“I had this huge fear that she was going to go looking for something and find it,” Kelley said.
Saturday, the ring stayed in a backpack they brought to the game.
“It was stressful as all get out,” Kelley said. “I just had to make sure I had it with me.”
While everybody in their group knew what was coming afterward, they kept the secret.
“I had no idea,” Crawford said. “I was just thinking, ‘What is he doing?'”
The day went as well as it could've for Kelley, but he insisted it would've been just as great had the result of the game been flipped.
“I would've been just as excited,” Kelley said. “The only thing that would've changed is we would've had to have done it on the other side of the field since the Texas fans would've still been celebrating.”