Oklahoma's Sooner Nation ready for Cotton Bowl
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Friday, January 04, 2013
1/04/13 at 5:37 AM
IRVING, Texas - The Cotton Bowl is a Friday night destination for a former Oklahoma All-American player, parents of an OU senior playing his last contest and an alum attending his first Sooners bowl game.
The Sooner Nation began appearing around town on Thursday, wearing crimson and cream and dripping with confidence for Friday's 7 p.m. game against Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Much of the attention has gone to Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. That's OK, former OU defensive tackle and College Football Hall of Fame member Tony Casillas said.
"This is a great situation and opportunity," said Casillas, who graduated from East Central High School in 1981. "No one expects the defense to hang with them. They can use that and play with a chip on their shoulder.
"It's all about tradition. Look at Oklahoma and Texas A&M. We're the ones that have won seven national championships and Big 12 championships. Let's use that and let people know who we are."
Casillas, who has lived in Dallas since 1991, is a fired-up alum. Joining him is Tulsan John Godwin. The 1994 Oklahoma graduate will attend his first OU bowl game on Friday night.
Godwin wants the Sooners to pull off a 6-0 season against Texas schools in 2012. He also hopes his favorite team can slow the hype of "Johnny Football."
"I'm excited about this game because we get to play against him and see how good he is," said Godwin, who will be sitting in Section 319 at Cowboys Stadium. "We're playing an old Big 12 opponent that we typically dominated before they stepped into the SEC.
"There's bad blood with teams that left, and we want to show we're on top."
Leo and Debra Way will be sitting with family during their son's final game at OU.
Tress Way, a Union High School graduate, will punt one final time for the Sooners. His Sooner career will end where it started - Cowboys Stadium. He was OU's starting punter in the 2009 season opener against BYU.
Debra Way said ticket requests came fast and furious. The six tickets she had were exhausted in no time.
The Ways have had a busy week. On New Year's Eve, they were in Memphis watching their son, Cole, punt in TU's win over Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl.
"It's been great," she said. "We went home and took off the blue, red and gold and changed to crimson and cream.
"This has been so much fun. We've made so many new friends and have had a chance to do so many new things. It's just been a blessing."
Original Print Headline: Fans ready for game action
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
Kevin and Jennifer Jones of Mustang walk through the Gaylord Texan Resort on Thursday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World