More than 1,000 miles north of Dallas, a stadium-like atmosphere reached the Ohio Union, where Ohio State fans on campus attended a watch party Monday night to cheer the Buckeyes on to their eighth national championship.
About 1,000 Ohio State fans wearing scarlet and gray gathered at four locations in the Ohio Union for the official College Football Playoff National Championship watch party.
Students who attended the watch party were treated to free pizza, cookies, drinks and snacks. More than 300 people watched the game in the Union’s performance hall, the biggest of the party’s four locations.
Other events were held in Meeting Room Three, the U.S. Bank Conference Theater and Woody’s Tavern.
“It’s awesome; everyone is electric in there,” said Mike Jones, a first-year in business.
Jones said traveling to Texas was too expensive, but he still took the opportunity to cheer on the Buckeyes from home.
“I would rather be there (in Texas) than here, but this will suffice for now,” he said.
For the majority of students attending the watch party, which was hosted by the OSU Office of Student Life, the atmosphere was by far the best part of the evening.
“Everyone (was) really excited and hyped about it, and it’s really fun to watch it with a bunch of other Buckeyes,” said Laura Fernandez, a second-year in public health.
Linda Rager, a first-year in biomedical engineering, said she enjoyed having a place on campus at which to watch the game.
“It’s really fun, it’s awesome to support the team and be with friends,” she said. “You can always get all angles of a game when you watch it on TV.”
Rager said even though the atmosphere at AT&T Stadium could not be beat, she thinks the Union watch party was a close second in terms of Buckeye spirit and fan excitement.
“The atmosphere (at the Union) is really cool,” she said. “The stadium is better, but this is the second thing that comes close.”
Rager said she couldn’t get a ticket for the game through the student ticket lottery, but thinks the watch party “absolutely is a good replacement for Dallas.”
There were 1,000 student tickets to the National Championship that were available to students at no cost through a ticket lottery. Five hundred of these were provided and paid for by Taco Bell in cooperation with the College Football Playoff and the other 500 were paid for by the university.
Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said the event, which had a budget of about $6,000, was “the largest organized event of this type” in recent years.
Megan Neary contributed to this story.