One of the traditions of the Red River Showdown is the stream of University of Texas fans driving north through Waxahachie on Interstate 35E. Another tradition will take a detour through town: the running of the game ball.

Students from the UT Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps battalion will be running the football in Waxahachie on Thursday en route to the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas for Saturday’s annual clash with the University of Oklahoma.

The midshipmen will start their run beginning at 5 p.m. on South College Street, and will end the run at Indian Drive near Lumpkins Stadium about an hour later.

Each year for the last 21 years, in advance of the annual game in Dallas, NROTC midshipmen from UT and OU take off on foot from Austin and Norman respectively, carrying an official game ball.

The event kicks off on the Wednesday prior to the Red River Showdown, when the Longhorn head football coach passes the game ball to the battalion. Members of the battalion take turns carrying the ball and running it north, from Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, to the Cotton Bowl. Members of OU’s battalion will do the same, running south.

After a day of rest, the two battalions will play a flag football game on Saturday morning with bragging rights for the year on the line.