MARIETTA — Jim and Stacey Hatt of Blanchard have been long-time Oklahoma football fans.
For about the last decade, the couple has held Sooners season tickets.
Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, though, the Hatts will take in the Red River Rivalry for the first time.
“We've had two kid-dogs that have always interfered with our plans,” Jim said. “We finally decided it was time to put them in a kennel and head down for one and see what it's like.”
The game kicks off at 11 a.m. and will be televised on ABC.
The Hatts were among the visitors Friday at the annual Bevo Bash in Marietta, one of the last towns on I-35 in Oklahoma before crossing into Texas.
“We'd heard about this Bevo Bash for years and always wanted to stop by,” Jim Hatt said. “We're loving it so far.”
Stacey is thrilled about the reintroduction of Mike Stoops to the rivalry.
The Sooners defensive coordinator was 4-1 vs. Texas during his first stop at OU, having won his final four games in the series before leaving to become the head coach at Arizona.
“I think he's a big positive,” Stacey said. “He's going to get us back to where we used to be on defense and you already see signs of it.
“Him and Bob teaming together are a great combination. We're glad he's back.”
Mike Weber has lived in Kansas City for the last seven years and still makes it a point to come to Dallas for the annual game.
“I still go to all the games, home and away, when I can,” Weber said. “This is my hobby. It's all I save for and I use all of my vacation time to follow OU football.”
Weber's parents live in Lawton but instead of going south to Wichita Falls, Texas, before taking the highway to Dallas, he and his friend cut over to I-35 for the longer journey.
“We wanted to be part of the group of fans driving down for the game,” Weber said. “It's all part of what makes this the experience that it is.
“I love everything about it — the whole atmosphere — everything.”
Weber expects a tight game.
“I think it's probably going to be closer than I want it to be,” he said. “But I think we'll be able to run on them and it'll be a lower-scoring game and OU will get a turnover or something and win it late.”
Like Stacey Hatt, Weber likes what he's seen from the defense so far, especially in last week's win over Texas Tech.
“I absolutely think that's going to be a difference maker,” Weber said. “The DBs are contesting the ball way more this year. Before, they'd let them catch it and then make the tackle. I'll take a couple of pass interference penalties if it means playing defense like that.”