In a recent and highly anticipated college basketball game, Brigham Young University (BYU) students showcased their competitive spirit and creativity when their team faced off against the University of Texas in Provo, Utah. This particular matchup garnered extra attention as it featured two new Big 12 rivals, although the rivalry is set to be brief with Texas’s impending move to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) next season.
The scene at the Marriott Center was electric, especially in the front row of the student section, where fans made a pointed statement. They donned T-shirts that collectively spelled out “Horns Down,” a phrase known to ruffle feathers among the Texas fanbase. This choice of attire wasn’t just a random pick; it was a well-thought-out jab at the visiting team. The phrase “Horns Down” is notably a sensitive subject for Texas fans, and its use has stirred controversies in the past.
Interestingly, Texas’s coach Rodney Terry has a recent history of expressing displeasure toward the “Horns Down” taunt. He labeled the University of Central Florida (UCF) players as “classless” after they celebrated a victory in Austin with the “Horns Down” hand gesture. Given Terry’s and Texas fans’ known sensitivity to this taunt, it seemed BYU students were deliberately trying to provoke their opponents with their T-shirt choice.
However, this display of school spirit and gamesmanship was abruptly curtailed. During the game’s first media timeout, the nine students who were wearing the “Horns Down” T-shirts were asked to remove them. This request, as reported by KSL-TV’s Mitch Harper, raised questions about who exactly initiated this action. Was it someone affiliated with Texas or BYU? Or did the game officials make this request? The answer to this remained unclear immediately after the event.
The BYU students in the front row with 'Horns Down' painted on their shirts were asked to remove the shirts after the first media timeout, per @Mitch_Harper.
— CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 (@CBSSportsCBB) January 27, 2024
On the court, BYU, ranked 21st, triumphed over Texas with an 84–72 victory. This win was significant, improving BYU’s season record to 15–5 (3–4 in the Big 12), while Texas’s record fell to 14–6 (3–4 in the conference). Despite the earlier T-shirt incident, Texas’s coach Terry praised the game atmosphere at the Marriott Center as “great.”
The victory for BYU and the spirited display from their students suggest that the “Horns Down” gesture might continue to be a recurring theme as the season progresses, especially with Texas’s looming transition to the SEC and the intensifying rivalries within the Big 12 Conference.