Friday, December 29, 2017

That's a wrap from the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

   A classic matchup of two of college football's blueblood programs resulted in some classic performances.
   Both Ohio State and USC were conference champions, but it was the Buckeyes who earned the honor of Cotton Bowl Champions.
    And another memorable Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is in the books. Safe travels, everyone!

   For a look back at more images from the entire bowl week, click on our Photo Gallery.


Ohio State's Barrett, Webb take MVP honors

   Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett voted the Sanford Trophy winner as the outstanding offensive player, as selected by the media.
J.T. Barrett
    Ohio State safety Damon Webb was voted the McKnight Trophy as the outstanding defensive player.
Damon Webb

The Party's Over: Ohio State 24, USC 7

Fans stroll among the confetti following the celebration of Ohio State's win
   Ohio State won in convincing fashion, 24-7, over USC. There was no scoring in the second half, thanks to a stingy Buckeyes defense.
   Time and again, USC would begin to gain momentum, only to be thwarted by a sack or heavy pressure from the Ohio State defensive line. The Buckeyes registered eight sacks.
   USC was 1-of-4 on trips inside the Ohio State 20 yard line. The Trojans committed four turnovers, several of them caused by the Ohio State pass rush.
   Amazingly, USC outgained Ohio State, 413 yards to 277. USC also had 23 first downs to just 13 for Ohio State. But Ohio State's defense turned up the intensity when it got close to its own end zone, and the Buckeyes offense often worked with short field thanks to USC turnovers.
   "Our defensive line won that game," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "That quarterback (USC's Sam Darnold), I have a lot of respect for him, but the best way to disrupt a quarterback is get after him, and we did."
   Darnold, who has been predicted to go in the top two picks if he declares for the NFL draft, was 26-of-45 passing for 356 yards with one interception.
   Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was 11-of-17 passing for 114 yards and was sacked three times. Barrett also ran 16 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

Maybe it's just not USC's night

   USC put together a nice drive deep into Ohio State territory. If the Trojans could get some points early in the fourth quarter, it could change the complexion of the game.
   Welp, didn't happen. Chase McGrath's 28-yard field goal attempt bonked off the right upright.
   Ohio State 24, USC 7 with 13:03 left.

After three quarters, Ohio State still holds 24-7 lead

   No scoring in the third quarter so Ohio State will begin the fourth quarter protecting a 17-point lead.

Cotton Bowl driver program turns 50

Cotton Bowl driver Lauren West, right, was the personal driver for Cotton Bowl Athletic Association Chairman Jay McCauley this week.

   This year's Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic marked the 50th year for the driver pool program. With vehicles provided by local auto dealer Fin Ewing and his family, around 60 drivers provide transportation for coaches and administrators for the competing teams every year.
   To commemorate the oldest and most successful driver program among all bowls, Fin Ewing's mother, 84-year-old Gail Ewing, had the honor of doing the coin toss before tonight's game.
   The drivers are college students, such as Lauren West of the University of Texas pictured above, who put in long hours to provide a key facet of the Cotton Bowl's famed hospitality. Over the years, drivers have gained valuable friendships and contacts through participating in the program. Some former drivers are now Cotton Bowl board members, and even a few marriages have resulted from first meetings in the driver pool.

Dak, Zeke among the stars in attendance at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (left) and running back Zeke Elliott are on the sidelines at AT&T Stadium.
   Spotted on the Cotton Bowl sidelines: former Ohio State star and current Dallas Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott, along with teammate and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.
   Elliott, a star of Ohio State's national championship game win also at AT&T Stadium, was greeted with applause when shown on the massive video screen.
   Former NFL and SMU great Eric Dickerson is also in attendance, greeting fans and evoking memories of when he played in the 1983 Cotton Bowl against Dan Marino and Pittsburgh.
  Another Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, former Dallas Cowboys great Tony Dorsett, is also at the game and received a warm reception when shown on the big screen.
   Also, Denver Broncos GM John Elway and former coach/current scout Gary Kubiak are in the AT&T Stadium pressbox. They are no doubt here to see USC quarterback Sam Darnold, a top draft prospect.