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.

USC gets on the scoreboard, trails Ohio Sate 24-7

   After commiting several turnovers themselves, the USC Trojans finally benefitted from an Ohio State giveaway.
   A muffed punt return set up Ronald Jones' one-yard TD run with 1:59 left in the half. Jones hails from nearby McKinney, Texas.
   The USC scoring drive took just 56 seconds and covered 15 yards in three plays.
   It could be the start of something for USC. But first the Trojans will have to stop Ohio State's two-minute offense as the first half nears its end.

Ohio State in complete command, 24-0

   After a third USC turnover, Ohio State has taken full control of the game with another JT Barrett touchdown run.
   USC has moved the ball, but the Ohio State pass rush has come through several times with intense pressure on key third downs.
   The last Ohio State scoring drive coveted 59 yards in just two plays for a 24-0 lead with 5:27 left in the half.

Just like that, Buckeyes lead 17-0

   Ohio State scored both methodically and with lightning-quickness to open the second quarter.
   On the first play of the quarter, Sean Nuernberger booted a 26-yard field goal (above) to give the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead. The field goal capped a long drive for OSU: 13 plays, 83 yards in 5:06.
  Ohio State's next score didn't take nearly as long. Buckeyes safety Damon Webb picked off a pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown. The Pick Six by Webb, who earlier had a fumble return to set up Ohio State's first touchdown, gave the Buckeyes a 17-0 lead with 14:42 remaining until halftime.

End of the first quarter: Ohio State 7, USC 0

A view from the AT&T Stadium pressbox

   After one quarter, it's still Ohio State holding a 7-0 lead. However, as the quarter expired the Buckeyes were lining up for a field goal attempt.

Kilgore Rangerettes keep Cotton Bowl tradition alive

   The world famous Kilgore Rangerettes dance/drill team performed before the game and at halftime, marking their 68th appearance at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
   The Rangerettes have become part of the fabric of the Cotton Bowl. In addition to performing at the game, Rangerettes serve as hostesses and greeters at various Cotton Bowl functions during the week and during the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame inductions.

Ohio State strikes first

   Ohio State won the toss and deferred. USC completed a third down pass, but fumbled and Damon Webb returned it to the 19.
   Five plays later, Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett crossed over from the one for the game's first score: 7-0 Ohio State.

Damon Webb comes up with the first turnover to set up a Buckeyes TD

Anthem time

   We've had the national anthem and are moments away from the kickoff of the 82nd annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between Ohio State and USC.

The bands are here - kickoff is near

USC Marching Band
Ohio State Marching Band

Thursday, December 28, 2017

USC, Ohio State marching bands at the Battle of the Bands

Ohio State's Meyer, USC's Helton come together on the eve of the big game

USC coach Clay Helton (left) and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic trophy.
   Thursday morning, USC head coach Clay Helton and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer got together for one last press conference before Friday's Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
   A transcipt of the news conference can be found here.
  (All photos by Ian Halperin/Cotton Bowl Athletic Association)

Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame Class announced during Goodyear Big Play Luncheon

Former USC head coach John Robinson

ARLINGTON, Dec. 28, 2017 – Six individuals who helped shape the tradition of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and college football history will be inducted into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame during enshrinement ceremonies this spring at AT&T Stadium.

The honorees in the 11th Hall of Fame Class include Texas A&M linebacker Quentin Coryatt, Arkansas/Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, USC head coach John Robinson, Penn State running back/linebacker Wally Triplett, Texas running back Ricky Williams, and Oklahoma strong safety Roy Williams. 

The induction ceremony for The Class of 2018 will be held on the west concourse of AT&T Stadium in Arlington the second week of May. The hour-long ceremony is free and open to the public. The exact date is still to be finalized.

“Those extraordinary individuals whose unique talents formed the pageantry and prestige of one of college football’s most historic postseason bowl games are showcased in the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame,” said Jay McAuley, Chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association (CBAA). “The Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame allows fans to revisit the rich tradition of outstanding college football played annually here in North Texas.”

A judging committee comprised of media representatives and athletic administrators voted from a ballot consisting of 60 nominees that included former players, coaches, bowl administrators and others who have made special contributions to the Classic.

Selection criteria for the Hall of Fame include the following:

• Voting is based solely upon an individual’s performance in – or contribution to – the Classic rather than on the person’s overall college or professional career.
• An individual is eligible five years after their final Classic appearance.

Since its first game in 1937, the Classic has hosted:
•  139 College Football Hall of Famers
•  9 Heisman Trophy winners
•  7 Walter Camp Award winners
•  4 Davey O’Brien Award winners
•  4 Lombardi Award winners
•   27 Pro Football Hall of Famers
•   7 Maxwell Award winners
•   6 Outland Trophy Award winners
•   4 Johnny Unitas Award winners
•   3 Doak Walker Award winners
John Robinson

1992 Classic: Florida State 10, Texas A&M 2
  Defensive Statistics: 15 tackles, 10 unassisted
  Tackles For Loss: 3 tackles for -12 yards
  Safeties: 1 safety for -2 yards

Quentin Coryatt always arrived at the football in a hurry. The Texas A&M linebacker could pack a punch, too. Coryatt’s sack of Florida State quarterback Casey Weldon in the 1992 Classic has become legend. Following an Aggie turnover that gave the Seminoles the ball just outside of the goal line, Weldon rolled to his right. With jet speed, Coryatt closed swiftly and trapped the Seminole quarterback in the end zone, sacking the Heisman runner-up for a safety to give Texas A&M the first score of the game. It was a spectacular play and was one of 10 solo tackles for Coryatt. The Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year ended the day with 15 stops, three of them resulting in -12 yards in losses. In a word…Quentin Coryatt was sensational.

2000 Classic: Arkansas 27, Texas 6
2002 Classic: Oklahoma 10, Arkansas 3
2009 Classic: Ole Miss 47, Texas Tech 34
2010 Classic: Ole Miss 21, Oklahoma State 7
  Classic Record: 3-1-0

Coach Houston Nutt knew the route to the Cotton Bowl Classic better than almost anyone. He is one of five head coaches to guide more than one university to the bowl, and is one of only three to carry home a victory for both institutions. It all started in 2000, the Classic’s “Turn of the Century” game, when Arkansas defeated Texas 27-6. The Razorbacks held the Longhorns to -27 yards on the ground to become the first team ever to hold Texas to negative rushing yards in a game. More success followed as head coach at Ole Miss. His Rebels went toe-to-toe with Texas Tech in 2009 before pulling out a record-setting 47-34 victory. A year later, Ole Miss knocked off Oklahoma State 21-7 to win back-to-back Classics and the first in AT&T Stadium. In four appearances, his teams were 3-1.

1995 Classic: USC 55, Texas Tech 14
  Classic Record: 1-0-0

When John Robinson served as head coach at USC, the Trojans were in a class by themselves. His career record of 104-35-4 is an amazing resume. Under Robinson, USC won nearly 75 percent of its games. One memorable victory took place in the 1995 Cotton Bowl Classic when USC handed Texas Tech a decisive 55-14 defeat. The Trojans were simply unstoppable. USC set records for total offense, passing yards, total points, points in one quarter and points in one half. The Men of Troy rolled up 578 yards in offense. Defensively, they stymied Tech at every turn. It was a classic display of an explosive offense joining forces with a dominating defense. Robinson and his Trojans logged one of the most incredible performances ever in the Classic.

1948 Classic: Penn State 13, SMU 13
  Receiving: 1-6, 1 TD (Additional Statistics Not Available)

Wally Triplett made history at Penn State. A heralded offensive threat at tailback and a hard-hitting linebacker on defense, he also was the Nittany Lions’ first African-American football star. In the 1948 Cotton Bowl, Triplett and fellow teammate Dennie Hoggard did more than play football. They broke down racial barriers in Texas. When asked to consider leaving the team’s two black players at home, their teammates’ quick response was one of solidarity…“We are Penn State, there will be no meetings.” Triplett played as advertised against SMU and reeled in the game-tying touchdown with a six-yard catch in the third quarter. The game ended in a 13-13 tie. The final score aside, Triplett, Hoggard and Penn State had taken a stand that New Year’s Day, one for a more just society.

1999 Classic: Texas 38, Mississippi State 11
  Rushing: 30 attempts, 203 yards, 2 TD
  Receiving: 5 receptions, 45 yards

Ricky Williams was precision in motion. The explosive Texas running back with hydraulic thighs and blazing speed was the buzz of college football as the landslide winner of the Heisman Trophy as his senior season came to an end. All eyes turned toward Dallas for his career finale against Mississippi State in the 1999 Cotton Bowl Classic. Three plays into the second half, the decorated Longhorn running back broke loose up the middle and sailed 37 yards for his first score of the day. As he crossed the goal line, Williams pulled up and struck the classic Heisman pose and sparked a celebration of major proportions. Powered by Williams’ 203 rushing yards, Texas cruised to a 38-11 decision over the Bulldogs and its first New Year’s Day bowl victory in 17 years.

2002 Classic: Oklahoma 10, Arkansas 3
  Defensive Statistics: 6 tackles, 5 unassisted
  Tackles For Loss: 3 tackles for -17 yards
  Quarterback Sacks: 2 sacks for -8 yards

They called him Superman, and it was easy to see why. Oklahoma safety Roy Williams dominated Arkansas in the 2002 Classic. No matter where the Hogs tried to run, Williams stood in their way. The Defensive MVP was equally as effective on deep pass routes as he was at the line of scrimmage. He was in on six tackles, five of them unassisted, including three tackles for -17 yards in losses and two sacks for minus-eight yards. A sure tackler, when Williams got his hands on a ball carrier, that player went down at the point of contact. His Sooners held Arkansas to 50 yards in offense, two pass completions, and collected nine sacks to win 10-3. No wonder he became the first player to win the Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe awards in the same season. Versatile was his middle name.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

USC players pose with Tommy Trojan sculpture made of recycled tires

   The Tommy Trojan statue made of recycled rubber tires got the seal of approval Wednesday morning by a group of USC football players.
   The Tommy Trojan sculpture as well as one of Brutus Buckeye, both done by artist Blake McFarland, were unveiled Wednesday at the Dallas Omni hotel.

Dallas police display Buckeye spirt while escorting team to practices

  The motorcycle escorts that lead Ohio State's team buses to practice have a familiar look to them. Dallas police officers have decorated their helmets with Buckeye stripes and stickers to get into the spirit.

Making news: Trojans, Buckeyes meet the media

  One of the duties for both bowl teams is daily news conferences. The media gatherings are held at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl's media headquarters, in between practices and other bowl events. USC takes the early shift with reporters while Ohio State steps in front of the cameras and microphones in the afternoon.
   Wednesday, in addition to the news conferences, both teams are making visits to children's hospitals, an annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl tradition that warms the hearts of players and patients alike.
   USC will visit the Texas Scottish Rite hospital, while Ohio State will visit Children's Medical Center, both in Dallas.

Ohio State's Tuesday practice report from AT&T Stadium

   After initially practicing at a local high school facility (above), the Buckeyes have moved into AT&T Stadium for workouts under the big screen.
   Here's a report from Tuesday's practice:

Trojans putting in work at AT&T Stadium

     Here's a look at USC's Tuesday practice at AT&T Stadium:

Mascot Masterpieces

   These sculptures of Tommy Trojan and Brutus Buckeye are more than meets the eye. They were painstakingly crafted out of used rubber tires by artist Blake McFarland.
   The amazing works of art were unveiled Wednesday morning at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic's media hotel, the downtown Dallas Omni. Be sure and stop by and take in the sculptures in person so you can see the amazing detail.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Fans can see the Ohio State and USC marching bands perform in public rehearsals

   Not only does the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic feature two of the most decorated and revered football programs, it also features two of the most accomplished and admired marching bands.
   And you can see the Ohio State and USC bands perform their Cotton Bowl shows without even buying a ticket.
   The bands will rehearse at local high schools and the practices are free and open to the public. NOTE: All times are approximate. Rehearsal dates and times can changed based on weather and travel issues.

   The Ohio State University Marching Band will rehearse at Wildcat-Ram Stadium on the campus of Lake Highlands High School, 9449 Church Rd., in northeast Dallas.
   The Buckeye band will practice:
   10:30 am to 12:30 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 27
   10:15 am to 11:45 am on Thursday, Dec. 28
   1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Friday Dec. 29

 The USC marching band will rehearse at Eagle-Mustang Stadium on the campus of Richardson High School, 1250 W. Belt Line Rd. in Richardson, TX.
   The Trojan band will practice:
   9:30 am to Noon on Thursday, Dec. 28
   9:30 am to Noon on Friday, Dec. 29

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Buckeyes, Trojans already at work and play for the 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

The Buckeyes go through their first workouts in Texas
   Both the Ohio State Buckeyes and USC Trojans arrived in North Texas on Saturday and immediately got to work. Ohio State and USC held their first practices at local high schools before moving to AT&T Stadium on Monday.
   Before departing for practice, the head coaches of both teams took a moment to reflect on the importance of a game featuring two storied programs. Not to mention that they are the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences, who traditionally have met in the Rose Bowl.
   “When you talk about a USC-Ohio State matchup, I think everybody in college football was excited,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “If you’re a college football fan, that’s what you love to see, is to see the best teams play on the brightest stage down here in Dallas at AT&T Stadium. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
   Ohio State coach Urban Meyer had similar sentiments.
   “I can’t imagine two better tradition-rich programs facing each other,” Meyer said. “It will be great for college football. I imagine the fans will really enjoy watching this. And we’re going to do our best to put on a great event for Ohio State and USC, two great conferences, the Big Ten and the Pac-12.”
USC players take in the Cowboys-Seahawks game on Sunday.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer addresses his team.