The formal introduction of Brodrick Brown took place in Dallas.
Three years later, he'll be closing his career back where it all began.
Brown was thrown into the spotlight in the 2010 Cotton Bowl, stepping in for the suspended Perrish Cox on the eve of the game. Little known at the time, after being limited during the season due to a broken arm, Brown made his first career start against Ole Miss.
“I guess I've got to end it in Dallas, where I started,” he said. “Hopefully, that's a good thing.”
Brown, a starter ever since, admits he was more than a little anxious in his starting debut.
“I was probably going to be the third man in the rotation that day,” he said. “But as time went by and I found out that Perrish was no longer going to be with us, it was a shocker to me. At the end of the day, if it's your time, you've got to step up to the plate. And that's what I did.
“I was nervous the whole time I was in. Then again, you've just got to go out there and play. They tested me that day. I was ready for it.”
Brown played well, too, although the Cowboys lost 21-7 in a defensive struggle that saw the Rebels aided by seven turnovers, including a fumble return for a touchdown.
“I dreamed about the game,” Brown said. “I guess that's why I had some success in the game, because I dreamed about plays that I was going to make, how I was going to play, stuff like that.
“It was fun for me.”
OPPONENT WATCH: QB MARVE PLAYING HURT
Purdue might not be in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, if not for the grit and determination of quarterback Robert Marve.
A sixth-year senior who has suffered three ACL injuries during his career, Marve is playing out the season with a bum knee. His latest ACL tear came in Week 2 of the season.
Yet during the Boilermakers' three-game winning streak to become bowl eligible, Marve threw seven touchdown passes with just one interception in wins over Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. In and out of the lineup during the season and missing three games entirely, Marve's been there for his team down the stretch, drawing the respect of an OSU quarterback who knows something about playing through pain — J.W. Walsh, who returned from a fractured kneecap.
“Anytime you can play with that amount of pain and that kind of injury,” Walsh said of Marve, “it speaks measures for your courage for your team. It's really special to have a guy who can play through an injury like that.”
WALSH KEEPING AN EYE ON GUYER
Walsh has two big games to worry about — his in the Heart of the Dallas Bowl, and the Texas Class 4A state title game, where his dad, John Walsh, is the coach at Denton Guyer.
A former Guyer star himself, J.W. admits to being a little anxious in watching Guyer's latest playoff run from afar.
Guyer defeated Tyler-John Tyler 57-53 last week to advance to the finals against undefeated Georgetown on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. J.W., along with OSU receiver Josh Stewart, led Guyer to the 5A Division II finals in 2010, falling 24-21 to Cibolo-Steele. Guyer has never won a state title.
“When I was playing for him, we got close to winning a state championship, and it hurt,” J.W. said. “What I think would be even more special than winning that one is actually seeing my dad be able to win one.
“With how long he's been coaching, he deserves one. I think this year might be the chance.”
RECRUIT ROSS SHINES DOWN STRETCH
While John Tyler's season ended against Guyer, it was still a good playoff run for future Cowboy Fred Ross.
A 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver committed to OSU, Ross thrived in the postseason. Against Guyer, he had 132 receiving yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions. A week earlier, Ross had 13 catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-24 win over Frisco Centennial to advance to the semifinals.
Ross, the Cowboys' highest rated prospect in the 2013 class, was primarily recruited by Doug Meacham, so the departure of offensive coordinator Todd Monken is not expected to impact his commitment.
By John Helsley and Scott Wright