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Saturday, November 16, 2013

A&M Beats Rice 13-6 in 1963 Game, But Fight To A Draw At Half-Time

As I went through the Dallas Morning News archive recently, I ran across the attached file.   I attended this game and remember it well.  (I've attached an aerial of Rice Stadium to help set the scene of the crime.)
(Dallas Morning News article)
(Photo from Houston Area Digital Archives at the Houston Public Library)
Bruce and I went with our parents who met a salesman and his wife and sat with them in the upper deck of the east stands.  Bruce and I bought end zone tickets.  Probably a $1 a piece.  We sat in the south end zone a few rows down from the top.  It was a muggy day, not particularly cold for November, but not particularly warm either.  I always liked going to the Rice-A&M game because they always played in mid-November when the sun's vertical angle in the sky gave daylight a definite autumnal glow.

A&M was pretty dismal during the early 1960s, so Rice was the favorite.   The article says 48,000 attended, and the score was 6 - 3 at the half with Rice leading, but note the paragraphs I've highlighted in red.  I remember the incident well although a little differently than how the article recounts it.

After the bands had performed at half time, Rice students (all male) poured out of the stands to make a path from the tunnel to the benches on the sideline.  I went to a lot of Rice games in those days, but I don't remember that the Rice student body did this as a rule.  As Rice students were forming parallel lines, the Corps poured out onto the field from their seats in the northeast corner of the stadium and ran down the field toward the tunnel.  They began forming a path to the Aggie benches on the east side of the stadium.

The newspaper account says the melee started when an Aggie began tearing the 'B' off a sign saying 'Beat A&M.'  That's probably true, but I didn't see it. As I casually scanned the field, I happened to see a Rice student start running from somewhere near the mouth of the tunnel and race behind the Cadets as they began forming a line.  Without breaking stride, the weanie grabbed an Aggie's cap and continued running back toward the Rice students lined up around mid field.

Of course, a mob of Aggies tore out after him and fisticuffs began. They spread all across the field.  I was 13-years old and thought it was the most amazing sports spectacle I'd ever seen.  The whole south half of the field was one big fist fight, and more students from both sides began pouring out of the stands to join in.

I vaguely recall some fat old Houston cops trying to stop it as the article says, but I definitely recall the A&M band playing the Star Spangled Banner to bring the mayhem to a grinding halt.

After the game, Bruce and I walked the concourse to meet our parents in the east stands, so we had to pass the Rice student section as it emptied.  I saw lots of broken glasses, split lips, black eyes, etc.  The weanies were pretty impressive, however.  They held their own even if the Owl football team lost the game. 

1 comment:

  1. I was there and remember it well. I was 7 years old