Oct. 23--LUBBOCK, Texas -- Grudges don't disappear easily in West Texas.
In the days of gunslingers and outlaws, differences were settled in the street.
Nowadays, they're settled on the gridiron -- at least when it comes to the grudge between a quarterback and his former school.
But while Saturday's game between No. 16 Oklahoma and Texas Tech was billed as Baker Mayfield's return to his former school, the majority of the fans were more concerned with their own football team than someone who was once a part of the program.
Sure, a few shirts emblazoned with 'TRAITOR' across the front dotted the stands, but most Texas Tech fans wore gear with their school's logo or 'Wreck 'Em' slogan.
The first time Mayfield entered the stadium two hours before kickoff, the students filling their designated section barely twitched. He warmed up for a bit and then left through the same tunnel, and again, the fans didn't stir.
A little while later, Mayfield reemerged wearing his game jersey, leading the offense out of the tunnel. But it wasn't until he got to the 15-yard line that the fans, marinated in tailgate juice and baking in the sun, took notice. The boos rained down, but by that time, at least 15 teammates separated Mayfield from the crowd.
Of course, amid the indifference were the passionate fans, the ones that would never forgive Mayfield from walking away from the Red Raiders in 2012.
Sitting in the front row, eating nachos, Texas Tech sophomore Trey Parker said he strongly disliked Mayfield.
He wasn't a student during Mayfield's short tenure and subsequent departure, but as a Lubbock native, Parker has been invested in the saga from the beginning.
"Even if we lose tonight, if we hit him 10 times, it's a win in my book," Parker said.
A couple sections over, junior Pablo Spivey proudly wore a Traitor shirt of his own. But even though he was fired up to hate on his former quarterback, he admitted that the anti-Mayfield movement lacked bite this year. It certainly wasn't the same venomous crowd that led Bob Stoops to lend Mayfield his bodyguards to get back to his car during his season on the sideline two years ago.
Plus, Mayfield already hosted his old school last year and helped his new team to a 63-27 win.
"Nobody really cares anymore, not as much as it was a couple years ago, especially not since last year," Spivey said. "We already played him."
There were still expletives shouted with Mayfield's name when he finally took the field, but that was about the extent of the ill wishes.
Less than two minutes into the game, Mayfield silenced a packed house that he once brought to its feet with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon. A couple minutes later, a 49-yard touchdown pass elicited more cheers than taunts. It surely wasn't the Texas Tech fans cheering for their one-time quarterback, but the Oklahoma fans, including Norman resident Lori Thurman wearing a customized 'Shake and Bake' t-shirt, managed to drown out any negativity from the home crowd.
It seemed as though the passage of time made the old grudge, or lack thereof, fade away.
"This is West Texas," said Debbie McNeely, a Texas Tech fan from San Antonio. "Everybody's friendly. They don't hold grudges."
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