AUSTIN (KXAN) — Early Thursday morning UT’s Naval ROTC left campus and headed to Dallas with the game ball. It’s a time-honored tradition before the rivalry game with the University of Oklahoma on Saturday.
Wednesday night the Texas Exes started the tradition by holding the Texas Fight Rally. This year organizers decided to cancel the torchlight parade due to the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia. UT football coach Tom Herman still gave ROTC members the game ball.
“We left right after being given the ball and I ran about 16 miles overnight,” says Midshipman Steven Keenan, UT ROTC member.
Support teams in vans follow closely behind ROTC members who take turns running between 20 and 30 miles at a time.
One of those runners is Midshipman Stuart Bayliss, one of the students Kendrex White is accused of stabbing back in May. Bayliss was stabbed in the back while standing on campus talking to friends.
“Doing this run means a lot to me to represent my school and ROTC,” Bayliss says. “While that was a horrible day, I’m glad I can be here to take part in this event.”
Bayliss is currently a junior at UT and says he’s mostly healed from his injuries. He still has trouble moving his right hand, which was cut after he pulled the knife out of his back and White grabbed it from him. He says the knife missed his kidney and spine by millimeters.
“I was really lucky,” he says.
He still plans to become a Marine upon graduation focusing on being part of the infantry.
Upwards of 50 ROTC members will complete the run to Dallas by Friday night.