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13 things you need to know if you attend a football game at the University of Texas

Thanks to an historic stadium, emphasis on tailgating, and plenty of traditions, the game-day experience in Austin is unrivaled.

Experiencing game day in Austin is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that hundreds of thousands seek out each Saturday during the fall. With an athletic director that has prioritized the fan experience and upgraded Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the Texas Longhorns boast a game day that is arguably the best in college football. From the stadium to the tailgates and everything in between, here are 13 things to know about game day on the Forty Acres.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 17 UTSA at Texas Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  1. This is the 100th season of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium

The first game at Texas Memorial Stadium took place on Nov. 8, 1924 when Texas took on Baylor. The new concrete stadium replaced the wooden bleachers at Clark Field.

2. The stadium and field are named after Texas legends

The stadium is named after Hall of Fame coach Darrell K Royal and dedicated to U.S. veterans. In 2020, the field was renamed in honor of Heisman Trophy winners Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Rice at Texas Photo by David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

3. Home-field advantage in Austin is real

The Longhorns have an all-time record of 394-122-10 as of 2023 with an all-time record at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium of 393-122-10 (.749). This is no small part because of the raucous crowds that enter the gates of the stadium. The stadium capacity is currently over 100,000 and ranks as the seventh-biggest in the country.

4. A series of renovations recently took the stadium to the next level

In 2019, the stadium in Austin underwent a massive renovation. Costing $200 million and taking multiple years, the layout and experience of game day in Austin was upgraded significantly. The south end zone received the biggest upgrades, where the stadium became a true bowl for the first time in its history. Featuring a state-of-the-art Jumbotron and a tunnel shaped like a Longhorn, the south end zone now keeps more sound inside the stadium and brings the video screen closer to fans. Along with these renovations, new turf and burnt orange LED lights were also installed at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Louisiana v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

5. Bevo is featured heavily throughout the game-day experience

2023 University of Texas Spring Football Game Set Number: X164345 TK1

Bevo is the beloved mascot of the Texas Longhorns and featured regularly throughout the game-day experience in Austin. Beginning with the Stadium Stampede, where fans can line up to see him enter the stadium, Bevo is routinely part of the action. After his entrance into the stadium, the most famous live mascot in the country enters the field with the Longhorn band during the pregame festivities. He is stationed in the right hand corner of the south end zone where he fiercely inspires his team.

6. Bevo BLVD is a top-tier tailgating experience

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Oklahoma State at Texas Photo by Allan Hamilton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The biggest tailgate opened to the public, Bevo Boulevard, is named after the big guy and opens hours before kickoff. At Bevo BLVD, fans can find some of the tastiest food and drinks from Central Texas. Bevo BLVD is also the location of the player entrance, a time where fans can greet Longhorn players as they enter into the stadium.

7. Smokey’s Midway is a fun pregame area for both kids and adults

Since 2019, Smokey’s Midway had been a fan favorite, particularly with kids. The stretch outside the north end zone features carnival games, fair foods, and plenty of energy. Smokey’s Midway is named after Smokey the Cannon and also gives fan the ability to visit the Texas Hall of Fame located in the north end zone.

8. The Showband of the Southwest pregame march on the field is a must see

The Longhorn band, colloquially known as the Showband of the Southwest, performs before the game in a must-see for first-time attendees or annual ticket holders. Before the team arrives on the field, the band performs numerous songs, including March Grandioso, The Eyes of Texas, and more. The band is also accompanied by a huge flag of the state of Texas, which is on the field for the national anthem. Lastly, during this performance, Bevo and the team enter the field. As a whole, the pregame atmosphere during the performance is something truly magical.

Texas v Texas Tech Photo by John Weast/Getty Images

9. Don’t be afraid if you hear Smokey the Cannon being fired

Throughout the game, a 1,200-pound artillery cannon is fired from the south end zone of the stadium to signify important events during the game. Smokey is fired at every Texas kickoff, score, and the end of each quarter. It’s also fired at the end of the singing of The Eyes of Texas. The cannon is a Texas tradition manned by the Texas Cowboys and positioned in the south end zone.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

10. Be ready to flash “Hook ‘em Horns”

One of the most iconic signals in the entire world of sports is the “Hook ‘em Horns.” Game day in Austin is not complete without seeing thousands of Longhorn fans flash the gesture. Raising the famous hand signal can be done at any moment, but is routinely done during The Eyes of Texas, before kickoffs, and during any stressful moments.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Texas Tech v Texas Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

11. Make sure to look out for “Texas Fight”

One of the more involved traditions during a Longhorn game is the yelling of “Texas Fight” by fans in the stadium. While sometimes led by cheerleaders, it can also be started spontaneously. During this chant, half the stadium will yell “Texas” while the other half responds with “Fight.” This tradition reminds the players to stay focused and that they have the backing of those in burnt orange.

12. Stay in your seat after the third quarter concludes

Heading to the bathroom or concession stand in between quarters may seem like a perfect time given that you won’t be missing any of the action. However, at the end of the third quarter, turn to the Jumbotron for a tradition loved by Longhorn faithful — a video of Austin ending at the UT Tower is played with a voiceover that gives Longhorn fans’ chills and the energy to root for victory during the final quarter.

13. Lighting the tower

After a victory, the UT Tower is lit burnt orange to signal the pride and celebration of being victorious on the gridiron. The lighting of the tower is a wonderful end to any game day in Austin.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 24 Baylor at Texas Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images