The Red River Showdown is always one of the more intense rivalries in college football. It was certainly no different today, as Oklahoma and Texas got into a serious scuffle ahead of the game.
Luckily, things didn’t escalate too far. The two teams had to be separated, but officials kept things from getting overly ugly.
After the two teams were separated, the entirety of both teams were issued unsportsmanlike penalties. That meant that any player flagged for it during the game itself would be ejected.
Referee Mike Defee than addressed the two teams’ captains at the coin toss and drove home the point that the game was going to be played with sportsmanship and he wouldn’t allow for it to get out of hand.
Things were chippy, especially early, but ultimately the game was played without another major incident. Still, Defee was not happy with what transpired before the game.
He was interviewed after Oklahoma’s 34-27 win in Dallas, and expressed his discontent.
Big 12 referee Mike Defee to a pool reporter: “What happened out there is an embarrassment to everyone. It shouldn’t happen. At the end of the day, that’s why we did what we did.”
(He added much more. See photos.) pic.twitter.com/YKBLhMzPSC
— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) October 12, 2019
From the report, via the pool interview:
Q: Once you got to the coin toss, it seemed like you had had enough. Can you talk about how you addressed the captains and what your mindset was there?
Defee: At the end of the day, I guess disappointment to a certain extent. We’ve got two of the best teams in the country, let alone the Big 12 COnference. This is the 115th playing of this great game and to have that kind of thing happen is disappointing. We can’t control that as officials. The primary responsibility of the officials is two-fold outside of just the playing rules. one is player safety and two is the integrity of the game. What happened out there is an embarrassment to everyone. It shouldn’t happen. At the end of the day, that’s why we did what we did and issued a warning. unfortunately you put that UNC (unsportsmanlike conduct) on everybody and any action that results in an additional unsportsmanlike results in a disqualification.
We all like a fiery rivalry game, but it is good that things didn’t escalate beyond that.