ARLINGTON -- For one scorching hot Saturday in August, the home of the Dallas Cowboys morphed into Baton Rouge West as tens of thousands of LSU Tigers fans took over DFW for the fifth edition of the annual Cowboys Classic college football game.
For the TCU Horned Frogs, it was more about the quality than quantity as there was a plethora of beautiful ladies clad in purple who made the trek to Arlington for the big game.
With the LSU football team staying at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth, Tigers fans were all over Sundance Square on Friday evening and they simply shifted the action to North Arlington on gameday. If the LSU fans outnumbered TCU's fans 60-40 inside the stadium -- a conservative estimate -- then the tailgating scene belonged to the Tigers by a margin of 80 to 20 percent. The perimeter of the stadium's parking lots was covered in gold tents as the LSU faithful celebrated the beginning of another college football season with DJs, flat screen TVs, food and, of course, plenty of beer.
One of the hot spots on the grounds was the Nissan Heisman House Tour that kicked off its season with a Chalk Talk and autograph session featuring TCU legend and 1999 Doak Walker Award winner LaDainian Tomlinson and hosted by ESPN anchor Neil Everett. Following LT, 1987 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown dropped by to discuss his career with Everett. Current Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne -- the Jim Thorpe Award winner during his 2011 All-America campaign at LSU -- wrapped up the action by chatting with Everett and signing autographs for a long line of Tigers fans. Fans were also able to take pictures with the Heisman Trophy. The Nissan Heisman House Tour is making stops at 10 marquee match-ups this season including the Texas A&M-Alabama rematch in College Station on Sept. 14.
Familiar faces spotted at the game included former Dallas Cowboys Bradie James, Jay Novacek and Super Bowl XXX MVP Larry Brown. TCU grad Brown and LSU grad James took the field as fans representing each school attempted to kick multiple field goals as part of the halftime entertainment hosted by Jeff K. 2011 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial champion and LSU alumni David Toms was also on hand for the big game.
While thousands of LSU fans sang along to Garth Brooks' video Callin' Baton Rouge that was shown on the huge videoboard 30 minutes prior to kickoff, they kept their excitement going and the stadium was full of an electric atmosphere. And while they were outnumbered, the TCU fans did get loud and made their presence felt inside the $1.2 billion football palace.
As for the actual game, TCU kept it close, but in the end, the No. 12 LSU Tigers beat the No. 20 TCU Horned Frogs 37-27 in front of 80,230 fans at AT&T Stadium. Next up, TCU hosts Southeastern Louisiana at 11 a.m. on Sept. 7 at Amon Carter Stadium.
Upcoming college football games at AT&T Stadium include Notre Dame vs. Arizona St. on October 5, Texas Tech vs. Baylor on November 16 and the AT&T Cotton Bowl on January 3, 2014.
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