DALLAS — Two Octobers ago, Oklahoma fan Clayton Kelley managed to persuade Lydia, his then-girlfriend and a Texas fan, to sit through four quarters of the Sooners' 55-17 rout.
She was happy she stayed when Clayton pulled out a ring and proposed as OU players celebrated on the Cotton Bowl field.
The Kelleys also sat through all of last year's 63-21 Oklahoma victory.
“Last year, I joked with him: I got a ring last year, what do I get this year?” Lydia Kelley remembered. “It's hard. He's pretty nice to me after the game. We made a rule, no trash talking right after the game.”
Over the 14-season Bob Stoops vs. Mack Brown era, the OU-Texas game has often determined the Big 12 champion and helped propel the programs to one national title each. But in four of those years — including the last two — the Sooners turned the Red River Rivalry into stunning Red River Routs with 38- or more-point victories.
The Longhorns' five wins over Stoops-led OU teams have been closer, with one exception — a 45-12 drubbing in 2005 when quarterback Vince Young ultimately led Texas to the national title.
Texas entered the 2013 season with lofty goals, including a potential return to national contention, but has already lost two nonconference blowouts and appears mightily overmatched for Saturday's 11 a.m. game against the unbeaten Sooners.
Oklahoma is a two-touchdown favorite, and Texas fans are dumping their tickets for below face-value on the secondary market, with several North-side seats available for under $100.
Moving forward, the Kelleys had agreed to always sit on the previous year's winner's side of the Cotton Bowl. But with Texas-side tickets going for so cheap, Clayton agreed to watch the game surrounded by rival fans.
Although Lydia Kelley has suffered through the entire 2011 and 2012 games, most Longhorn fans have bolted in droves beginning at halftime of previous routs.
“Beautiful sight,” said OU center Gabe Ikard. “Absolutely beautiful. One of the best things you can see as a football player. That whole side of crimson is still there with specks of burnt orange around the stadium.”
Sooner players and coaches insist they don't hold any kind of mental edge entering Saturday's game, despite the last two years and Texas' early season struggles.
“I don't look at it that way at all,” Stoops said. “One year to the next, to me they're totally different teams. They are and we are. That's a long time ago now.”
Oklahoma gained momentum in the past Red River routs by winning the turnover battle. The Sooners only turned the ball over twice in the 2011 and 2012 games combined, while the Longhorns turned it over eight times.
“We can't expect them to turn the ball over like they have the last two years,” Ikard said. “We've gotta prepare for their talent and their ability. If they play well, they're a scary team.”
But that's just the thing — Texas hasn't played to their ability much this season.
Brad Wilson, a 40-year-old OU fan who lives near Thackerville, summed up his mixed feelings heading into Saturday, saying, “I'm normally a nervous wreck and I'm almost scared at how confident I am going into this one.”