Longhorns Gaming narrowly bested OU Esports 4-3 at this year’s Esports Red River Rivalry
The event was the third annual collaboration between Longhorn Gaming, a registered student organization at The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Oklahoma Esports & Co-Curricular Innovation department. This year was especially riveting because students did jobs related to their future degree fields to put on this event.
Both OU Esports and Longhorn Gaming streamed the exciting gameplay on their Twitch channels. They also hosted two excellent student-led panels that focused on the students and their experiences in gaming and with the clubs.
The games kicked off on Saturday, October 23 with Rocket League, Rainbow 6 Siege, and Valorant. They then finished up on Sunday, October 24 with Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and League of Legends.
Students led every single aspect of the event, with hours going into coordination, planning, and execution. This led to the most exciting Red River Rivalry yet.
The day started off with the panel “Origins of a Gamer” hosted by Brandon Villarreal. Brandon interviewed Michela Owen, OU Esports News Director, Joshua Riesenberg, OU Esports Overwatch Coach, and Daphnee Grignon, Longhorn Gaming Esports Director. They discussed the work they do to further their esports programs, the future of esports, and their history with video games. The discussion was really fun, but also showed the deeper emotional side of video games and how they can positively affect lives.
When asked about the panel, Daphnee “Rune” Grignon said “I loved being a part of the panel. It was a blast to have a conversation about these important issues with other college students.” Grignon also said that the event felt very smooth and that the production quality was great.
Afterward, the competition kicked off with a tense game of Rocket League on Longhorn Gaming’s channel. Both teams brought their A-game with some close matches, but Longhorn Gaming ultimately won 4-2 over OU Esports. OU brought it back, however, in Rainbow Six. They brought an incredible offense that allowed them to take the game 0-2.
Finally, Longhorn gaming brought it back with Valorant. OU won the first game, but the Longhorns managed to turn the tides in their favor in a 2-1 victory over OU.
The games continued Sunday, but not before two panels on OU Esport’s channel. The first was hosted by Mike Agular, Director of OU Esports, and Daniel Killough, President of UT Longhorns Gaming. They discussed how far both programs have come and the continued development of collegiate and professional level esports. Afterward, Brandon hosted another student panel that focused on how the pandemic affected esports. The other panelists included Jack Boyd, OU CoD Warzone Coach, Rodger Allen, OU caster and media writer, and Isaac Nudelman, Longhorn’s digital producer. They discussed how they were affected personally by the pandemic and video games, as well as how video games can help people connect.
Next, the games kicked off with Call of Duty. The Longhorns played incredibly well and won 0-2, each teaming showing off awesome skills and impressive shots. The Rivalry went back to OU’s channel for CS:GO. This time it was OU’s turn for incredible plays. OU played impeccably, with exciting and skillful play all around, winning the game 0-2.
In another sweep, OU won Overwatch 0-1. They played a phenomenal offense and defense, totally shutting down the Longhorns in the process.
It was all tied up, with League of Legends to determine the winner of this year’s Red River Rivalry. The tension rose as the two teams both won very close games. The stakes couldn’t have been higher.
Brandon co-commentated the whole League of Legends match and said he could feel the hype in the chat. All of Red River rode on this match, but in the final round the Longhorns made a devastating push to win. The Longhorns won LoL 2-1, and also Red River Rivalry 4-3.
“It felt like an honest show match that you would watch between your two favorite esports teams. In the same vein of thought, the competition was fierce. None of the matches felt one-sided.” said Grignon. “Ultimately, this fueled the rivalry, but at the same time there was an undertone of camaraderie present of just appreciating the ability and growth of the teams.” The event was thrilling and kept us on the edge of our seats for the whole weekend.
With that, the 3rd annual Red River Clash came to a close. It brought exciting matches and tense, heart-pounding moments, as well as some thought-provoking panels. It was really exciting to see the results of the entirely first student-led Red River. It was exciting to see such a professional-looking student-led event, knowing it will get better and better every year.
After all was said and done, OU Esports Student Director of Production Austin Nguyen said, “Next year will be better.” Then Brandon then said, “You have to celebrate your victories still, so pat yourself on your back and be proud of the work and time you put into this event because you did it!”
A huge shoutout to all the students who worked so hard to make this a success. The Red River Clash will continue, (hopefully in person!) next year.