Throwback Thursday: In 1942, UT waged a football war on TCU

Marisa Charpentier

About 72 years ago, UT students paraded down the Drag for a particularly lively pep rally. Students gathered a few days before the upcoming football game with one purpose in mind: to rally against TCU. 

With the TCU football game a week away, The Daily Texan takes a look back at how students prepared for this age-old battle at a time when the U.S. was a part of a larger-scale feud — World War II. In November of 1942, the Texan published an article describing a parade, or “spirited pep session,” that saw an increase in participation from previous rallies. About 1,600 people marched behind the Longhorn band while “Texas Taps” — what the fight song was commonly known as — echoed down the street.

Because men were being drafted for the war, fewer were available to play sports across the nation. Students did not know if UT football would be played the next fall.

Yell leader Bob Bush told the crowd, “It is probable that we may not have intercollegiate football next year, and it is the duty of every student to back the team to the fullest extent.”

At the rally, students shouted, “Hail! Hail! The gang’s all here,” and sang “My Gal’s a Hullabaloo,” a more conservative version of the contemporary “Give ’em hell.” The group ended the night with the standard ritual of singing “The Eyes of Texas.”

The student body president at the time, Bill Barton, spoke to the crowd.

“In 1941, TCU caught us unaware of the powerhouse team they had, but, this year, they will find us so confounded, mad and so determined to beat the Frogs, we cannot lose,” Barton said.

The previous year, Longhorns had lost the game with a score of 7-13. At the rally, water boy Billy Andrews gave a speech regarding the loss. 

“The players are so nervous tonight they have called on me to speak for all of them,” Andrews said. “The boys don’t want to say anything about what happened last year. The boys will be playing a hard game.”

Longhorns do not currently have the same reason to be fearful. At the TCU game in 2013, Longhorns won with a score of 30-7. Today, TCU is ranked No. 1 in the Big 12, and UT is No. 4. 

The wartime-inspired morale at the 1942 pep rally was created by a crowd much smaller than the mass that will flood the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Thanksgiving, but students were still determined to “beat the devil out of TCU.”

This Thanksgiving, fans can be thankful for living in a time and place where the future of football is certainly not threatened. The motivation to win that was present in the past has not changed. 

As Bush said once, “The tower lights will not be turned on until we win another big game.”