Bowl weeks for teams are typically filled with cool sight-seeing trips and fun activities in between those practices and preparation.
For Ohio State and USC, that means getting a chance to check out some of the cool things in DFW.
By far, the coolest attraction has been attending the Dallas Cowboys’ game against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium on Christmas Eve. Both the Buckeyes and Trojans have practiced at the stadium, too, in advance of the Cotton Bowl at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Arlington.
“That was pretty sweet,” said USC quarterback Sam Darnold. “I haven’t been to an NFL game in so long ... shoot, since I was a little kid we went to a Chargers game in San Diego. I vaguely remember it. I think it was when LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] was playing.”
USC offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn said the atmosphere at AT&T Stadium was “awesome.”
“When you walk in the stadium and see how they pack it out,” Lobendahn said. “Everybody loves the Cowboys here and around the world. The passion of the game was pretty evident.”
The players were sitting in the upper level of the stadium, but that didn’t bother them.
“When you look down on the field it looks like they’re moving a lot slower than they actually are so I can’t imagine watching a college game from that high up,” Darnold said. “It’s awesome. That stadium is great.”
Trojans tight end Tyler Petite had never been to an NFL game despite growing up in Lafayette, Calif., which is less than an hours drive to see either the Raiders or 49ers play. His dad was a Giants fan.
“It’s a definitely change of pace because of all of the huddling, it’s a lot slower than what you’d think it be,” Petite said. “We watch games on TV all the time but you can flip channels and go to different games or do something else instead.”
The teams have had a chance to attend Mavericks games, tour the The Star facility in Frisco and hang out at Main Event. But the Cowboys’ game was the clear winner. Even for local kid Ronald Jones, USC’s tailback from McKinney North.
“Last time I saw [the Cowboys] play it was a completely different team,” he said. “They had [Tony] Romo and [DeMarco] Murray. To be able to see Zeke [Elliott] and Dak [Prescott] back there was cool.”