. A college football game day experience - Cal vs Ohio State : Budget Travel Adventures

A college football game day experience – Cal vs Ohio State

Ohio Stadium The Horsehoe field Ohio State BuckeyesOhio State 35, Cal 28.  Me – once in a million lifetime experience.  Ohio State gave me a game day experience that is rare for a travel writer.  I’ve experienced some of the best rivalries in college football (Army/Navy, South Carolina/Clemson) but I’ve never seen a game like this.

On Saturday, I experienced a college football game from a unique perspective.  This is one hundreds and thousands of people experience every season.  However, people like you and me rarely get a perspective like this.

As Ohio State and Cal took the field on Saturday, I watched the teams warm up from the press box at Ohio Stadium overlooking the historical Horseshoe.  As the teams ran onto the field, I joined television crews on the camera deck as the “The Best Damn Band In The Land” formed “Ohio” and dotted the “i”.

And that was just the beginning.

On the field – a unique college football game day experience

As the first quarter started, I made my way down to the field and stood on the sidelines for the game.  Since I had an all access press pass as a photographer for the game, I took photos that made me feel like I was playing the game.

I saw how big, fast, and strong these college football players were.  I felt the roar of the crowd and experienced what it was like to have 100,000 people screaming down on you as you snap the football.  At times, the noise was deafening.  Yet I also knew that this was nothing compared to some B1G games and the big Ohio State and Michigan rivalry.

I walked the sidelines and sat on the edge of the end zone.  I walked behind the Ohio State and Cal benches, heard the coaches yelling, and the players talking.  I saw plays being diagrammed and could almost feel the sweat and the pressure inside the huddles.

I am not a sports photographer or journalist.  However, on this day I was just like them and took some photos that were good enough to be featured in any newspaper or sports magazine in the country.

I stood a few feet from Jake Stoneburner as he caught a touchdown pass from Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and celebrated right in front of me. A few minutes later Braxton Miller dove into the end zone for a two point conversion as I snapped one of my favorite photos of all time.

Ohio State Braxton Miller dives into the endzone 2 point conversion Cal game

Ohio State Braxton Miller dives into the endzone for a 2 point conversion against Cal

Ohio State rallied and scored a late touchdown to beat Cal 35-28 in an exciting, back and forth college football game.  After the game, I stood inside the Ohio State press conference room as Urban Meyer shared his thoughts on the game.  I snapped a few photos of players and listened to reporters and journalists ask questions.  I also learned what these guys have to do every week to fight for position to take videos and photos.

After the game was over, I reflected on my game day experience.  I was given full access to one of the biggest stadiums in college football for one of the most storied programs.  I dined in the press box, rubbed elbows with sports reporters, and stood just a few feet away from some of the best athletes in college football in an exciting game.

I am not sure I will get another game day opportunity like this again.  Thanks to Ohio State Sports Information Director Jerry Emig and Assistant SID Adam Widman for giving me a press pass and an exciting perspective for this College Football Travel Tour with Expedia.

Check out a few of my photos and videos from the Ohio State – Cal game day experience. 

Get all the stories, travel tips, and unique perspectives on my College Football Travel Tour page as I attend 9 college football games this season.  Get travel guides for each college town that I visit and great deals on travel on Expedia’s College Football page.

College football game day experience dotting the i Ohio The Horseshoe Ohio State

dotting the "i" in Ohio - a tradition at Ohio State

Ohio State cheerleaders The Horseshoe Cal game

Ohio State cheerleaders

Ohio State sideline The Horseshoe Ohio Stadium

Ohio State sideline

Braxton Miller Ohio State offense Cal defense

Ohio State's Braxton Miller gets ready for the snap

Ohio State Braxton Miller Jordan Hall Cal football game

Ohio State's Jordan Hall and Braxton Miller

Cal Center Brian Schwenke Ohio State

Cal Center Brian Schwenke prepares to hike the ball against Ohio State

Cal lineman sidelines Ohio State

Cal lineman huddle on the sidelines against Ohio State

Ohio State cheerleader letter O O-H-I-O

Ohio State cheerleaders leads the crowd in the O-H-I-O cheer

Cal Keenan Allen fair catch Ohio State

Cal's Keenan Allen makes a fair catch on a punt

Ohio State Cal referee umpire

Ohio State cheerleader

Ohio State Cal halftime Cal players locker room

Cal players head to the locker room at halftime

Cal offense Ohio State defense Ohio Stadium The Horseshoe

A view of Cal and Ohio State from the camera deck at Ohio Stadium

Ohio Stadium The Horseshoe end zone Ohio State students TBDBITL Script band

Ohio State students and marching band in the end zone

Ohio State offense Cal defense The Horseshoe

Ohio State offense vs Cal defense

Ohio Stadium upper deck Cal fans American flag USA

Cal fans watch from the upper deck of Ohio Stadium

Ohio State Braxton Miller Cal defense umpire The Horseshoe

Ohio State's Braxton Miller leads the offense against Cal

Ohio State Jake Stoneburner touchdown Cal

Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner catches a touchdown pass against Cal

Ohio State touchdown Jake Stoneburner Cal

Ohio State players celebrate a touchdown

game day experience Ohio State Urban Meyer sideline Cal

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer on the sideline

game day experience Ohio State huddle Urban Meyer Braxton Miller

Ohio State huddle on the sideline with coach Urban Meyer


Ohio State QB Braxton Miller dives for the 2 point conversion

Cal QB Zach Maynard Cal offense Ohio State

Cal QB Zach Maynard tried to rally Cal against Ohio State

game day experience Ohio Stadium The Horseshoe end zone view

A view of the field from the end zone

game day experience Ohio State cheerleaders students Ohio Stadium The Horseshoe

Ohio State cheerleaders lead a cheer in the student section

Cal QB Zach Maynard Ohio State 35 Cal 28 scoreboard

Brutus Buckeye Ohio State mascot The Horseshoe

Brutus Buckeye - Ohio State mascot

Ohio State football players Urban Meyer sing Carmen Ohio

Ohio State football players and coach Urban Meyer sing Carmen Ohio

Ohio State Script Band TBDBITL Marching band

The Ohio State Marching Band

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer press conference Cal

Ohio State Urban Meyer press conference against Cal

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Filed Under: College Football Travel TourFeaturedOhio State University

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  1. Okay, you know I don’t love football, but wow these shots are AWESOME!!!

  2. Leah Travels says:

    Call me Kermit because I am GREEN with ENVY. Amazing, Jeremy!

  3. Gorgeous shots. Dislike OSU and Urban Meyer. A team I can really root against.

    • As a UT fan, I can understand. I dislike Meyer for what he did in 2006 when a player was busted for pot but Meyer suspended him for the next game. That player, Jarvis Moss, blocked 2 kicks, including the game winner as time expired, against South Carolina to win 17-16 – the year of their first title.

      I wanted to dislike OSU as well. However, the fans were pretty good.

  4. Erik says:

    Another great post in this series! (Even though as a Michigan State fan, I hate everything Columbus!)

    • I bet you didn’t enjoy that game this past weekend in East Lansing did you? Ouch! Got to stop Braxton Miller! OSU offense will live and die with him.

      I hope to make it to East Lansing. Had a chance to go to Michigan/Michigan St this year but my schedule got changed. Maybe next year!

  5. Adam Pervez says:

    We talked this summer. I told you that you’d never be the same after experiencing The Shoe. Glad it was an amazing experience – and yes, pre-season games have nothing on Big Ten games… and Big Ten games have absolutely nothing on the M*ch*gan game.

    • It was a great experience. Largest stadium I’ve even been to. I can’t imagine what Michigan would be like. I will say this – I doubt I would think of Buckeye fans as hospitable and kind if I went to that game :)

  6. Cassie says:

    Awesome photos! I really hope you can make it on the field for some more of your upcoming games! BTW, Kevin just pointed out where he is in that Cal upper deck photo :)

    • So glad I got to hang out with you while I was there. We had a lot of fun. Three games down, six to go! I did get on the field for Air Force as well (pics coming soon – posted a few photos from the field and a story on my experience there today). I just got credentialed for Oklahoma/Texas today! :)

  7. Awesome photos Jeremy!! I would have preferred a sea of Carolina Blue, but I guess red will do!!

    I think you could be a sports photographer

    • Garnet and black are actually better colors than the red and scarlet gray :)

      I had the chance to be on the field for a few games this year and it is definitely a different experience. It’s work – always having your camera ready, looking for that shot, not wanting to miss a key moment in the game. You don’t experience the game the same way you do in the stands. I am not sure I could be a sports photographer especially when I saw the photos and equipment of the guys around me. Their shots were awesome!

  8. Vera Marie Badertscher says:

    As an Ohio State alum, of course I loved this article.

    The football fever in Ohio is like nowhere else in the country. It is impossible to describe to people elsewhere, who THINK they have enthusiastic fans. For example, if you drive through rural Ohio on game day, you’ll see Ohio State banners everywhere.
    If you drive into the state from a neighboring state, you’ll know you’re in Ohio because the stores and filling stations will be sporting Ohio State signs and banners. Game day doesn’t start when the team comes on the field. It doesn’t start when the fans file into the stadium. It starts a O-dark-thirty as people stream toward the campus for pre-game band concerts, rallies and beer.
    I realize we’re the team to hate, but, hey, I think that’s the price you pay for seasons like 2012– undefeated in 12 games.
    Your coverage was great, and you have the job my husband wishes he had with your college football tour.

    • I was impressed with the passion of Ohio State fans. For such a big state, it is unique to only have one major team in the state. That’s why the whole state gets behind the team. Having grown up in the South, I do understand the passion of football fans. I am a South Carolina grad and we live and breathe football 365 days a year. In our state, the interest is divided between us and Clemson – something Ohio State doesn’t have to contend with.

      As for doing this, yes it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been the envy of many. Look forward to next year. Will be interesting to see if Ohio State can duplicate what they did this year. I have high hopes for my Gamecocks too :)

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