December 25, 2012
Russell, Shavers ready for Texas
The requests haven't stopped since Purdue learned of its bowl destination.
Starters Ryan Russell and Akeem Shavers have been inundated, via text, via phone call, via email, via social media.
They are going home, after all, when the Boilermakers play Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1.
"It's very cool," said Russell, who grew up about 35 minutes from Dallas. "I've been telling my teammates, 'You're going to go to the greatest state you've ever been to.' I'm really excited. I know I've got a lot of family and friends coming, and I definitely want to make them proud."
Russell said teammates have been helping him meet ticket requests by giving him some of their allocation. Shavers has tried that route, too. But mostly, Russell and Shavers have had to flatly tell people to buy their own tickets if they want to come to the game.
And that will work.
"Texas football is huge. Everybody is going to come, watch me in the parking lot on TVs, do whatever they have to do," Russell said with a laugh. "I definitely have a great fan and support base."
Shavers, too, has been trying to explain how important football is in Texas to his Midwestern-based teammates.
It's hard to do.
Playing at the Cotton Bowl, especially, will be a treat.
Shavers said he grew up watching the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry games played there. Russell said it didn't matter what you were doing - you stopped and watched the Cotton Bowl games.
"We would always want to either go to Texas or Oklahoma so we could play in the Cotton bowl," said Shavers, who grew up about two hours from Dallas. "Now, I get my chance at Purdue, so I couldn't ask for anything better.
"Hopefully I get to go home now and go out with a bang."
Purdue played in Houston last season against Rice, but that's the only time either Shavers or Russell has been able to play in his home state since being a Boilermakers.
"It's a huge thing, growing up in Texas. Football is next to religion in Texas," Russell said. "(College football) is almost bigger than NFL football, really. That's a huge thing for me to play there."
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