NEW ORLEANS - Ohio State's plane to the Sugar Bowl was a little late, but the Buckeyes didn't mind. They got a taste of the jetsetter's life on the two-level chartered United 747 that carried them to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

NEW ORLEANS - Ohio State's plane to the Sugar Bowl was a little late, but the Buckeyes didn't mind.

They got a taste of the jetsetter's life yesterday on the two-level chartered United 747 that carried them to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

"It was the biggest plane I've ever been on in my life, the biggest plane I've ever seen," said Adolphus Washington, a junior defensive tackle.

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The plane contained 350 seats - 10 per row separated by two aisles. Fifteen flight attendants worked the trip.

"First class was very comfortable," Washington said. "You could get up and walk with room. There was so much space. The seat turned into a bed. I've never seen that before. I slept very well - when we didn't hit turbulence, because that scared me."

Even coach Urban Meyer seemed in awe of the plane.

"First time I've been on one of those," he said. "I actually walked upstairs to see what it looks like."

Ohio State's plane was supposed to land an hour before Alabama's arrived from Tuscaloosa, but it was delayed on the ground in Columbus and barely beat the Crimson Tide's plane to the airport.

Meyer said he didn't know the reason for the delay in the takeoff.

"You'd have to ask our pilot that," he said. "We were on time (to the airport)."

With a smile, he added, "I tried to get him going."

All accounted for

Unlike last year, when defensive end Noah Spence didn't go to the Orange Bowl because of a failed drug test, Meyer said that every player who was expected to make the trip did.

He said the health of the team is good. The only question mark, he said, is Dontre Wilson. The sophomore H-back suffered a broken foot against Michigan State on Nov. 8. He was wearing a boot as he exited the plane.

"Dontre is 50-50 for the game," Meyer said. "We're still hoping to get a few plays out of him in the game."

For Alabama, running back T.J. Yeldon has been limited in practice because of a hamstring injury.

"He has practiced the last two days," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "He had a significant amount of time off, but he seems to be making progress now, and we're hopeful he'll be able to make a contribution in the game."

Not a New Orleans fan

Alabama receiver Amari Cooper probably didn't endear himself to the locals when he said he was not thrilled to be in the Big Easy.

"No disrespect to the place, but I don't really like New Orleans," said Cooper, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. "There's too much going on. I don't really like Bourbon Street. It doesn't smell good."

brabinowitz@dispatch.com


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SUGAR BOWL OHIO STATE VS. ALABAMA

When: 8:30 p.m. ThursdayWhere: New OrleansTV: ESPNRadio: WBNS-FM/AM (97.1/1460)