The rally begins with trumpeters sounding off from the top of the tower for all of Austin to hear. The Longhorn Band and Texas football team enter to the beat of the band as student’s erupt in wild cheers and begin the rally. Student spirit groups then raise the energy of the crowd with their electrifying dances and cheers leading up to the most anticipated part of the night. Head Coach Mack Brown, two players, and strength and conditioning coach Jeff “Maddog” Madden speak to the students and stir them into a frenzy as “Maddog” does his infamous “Ooooooooo TEXAS!” cheer. Next, as Longhorns have done since 1941, a Hex is put on the other team. The “Eyes of Texas” is sung three times as the thousands of students pass on the flame from candle to candle until the Main Mall is illuminated.
Wondering how this tradition started?
On Thanksgiving Day in 1941 UT was to travel to College Station to take on the Texas Aggies. Texas A&M was having a banner season. Undefeated and ranked second in the nation by the AP, the Aggies had already won the Southwest Conference Championship. They also had a jinx on the Longhorns.
Since 1923 - for 18 years - the Longhorns had been unable to win a game at Kyle Field. Desperate to break the College Station "jinx," UT students consulted Madam Agusta Hipple, a local fortune teller. She instructed the students to burn red candles the week before the game as a way of "hexing" the Aggies and putting a stop to the jinx.
Through the week of Thanksgiving, Austin shops found it difficult to keep red candles in stock. Candles were burned in store windows along the Drag, in the fraternity and sorority houses of west campus, in the lounges of University residence halls, and in the windows of Austin homes. Madam Hipple knew what she was doing! By uniting the football team and its fans with such a visible show of support, how could the Longhorns fail?
And lo and behold the Longhorns won! Texas went to College Station, defeated the no. 2 ranked Aggies 23 - 0, ended the 18-year jinx, and restored their pride as the AP’s final poll listed Texas as number 4.