For the first time in their NFL career, former Ohio State teammates Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott will face off against each other. They haven't been on the same field since their last practice before the Fiesta Bowl playing against Notre Dame in 2016.
They have more extensive ties than just being former Buckeyes.
When they both arrived at Ohio State as freshmen in 2013, they roomed together.
"Joey Bosa, that's my brother," said the Cowboys running back to the media. "We came into college young men at 17. A lot of shared experience, a lot of great times together."
They grew close. When each media asked them both about their experience living with the other, both had huge smiles on their faces.
For some reason, "Step Brothers" is the first thing that pops into one's mind of the way they must have lived together. They must have had a lot of room for activities.
Naturally, the question that must be asked is, which one was the messy one?
"We both were messy," said a laughing Elliott. "We both big Mama's boys. So, we weren't the best cleaners. We both had our moms come do our laundry on weekends when they came in town for the game. So, I say both of us were all of the above."
Does Bosa agree?
"We were both terrible," explained Bosa. "There was not a winner on that. I mean, I remember, like stepping over boxes like this to get to my couch and be like, 'I'll figure it out later.' Luckily, that's changed over the years. No, no more pizza boxes and everything lying around."
The image is just too clear.
Both would go on to be two of the best Buckeyes in school history. The special season for them was in 2014. Elliott had established himself as the top running back in the country, rushing for over 1,800 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns. Bosa had sacked the quarterback five times, had 16 tackles for loss, and even intercepted a pass.
That season, Ohio State was ranked fourth in the nation and squeezed into the first season of the current National Championship format. The Buckeyes stunned the world, upsetting Nick Saban's Alabama.
They faced Oregon in the National Championship, where Elliott went off rushing for 246 yards and scoring four touchdowns on their way to routing the Ducks 42-20. Elliott and Bosa hoisted their first National Championship trophy.
"We basically became men, you know, on that campus together and able to win a national championship here in Dallas so, it was fun," said Elliott.
In 2016, they were drafted one spot from each other. Bosa went third overall to the Chargers, who needed a pass rusher opposite Melvin Ingram. At four, the Dallas Cowboys selected Elliott as their next workhorse after DeMarco Murray had left and Darren McFadden wasn't seen as the future.
"Step one was just to make it to the NFL to for all this to happen is unbelievable," said Bosa. "It is a dream come true."
They have since turned the NFL upside down. Elliott has had all-pro level seasons, especially his rookie season, where he rushed for 1,631 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. He has rushed for over 6,400 yards in six seasons and scored 46 touchdowns.
While Bosa has been getting after the quarterback in 64 career games, he has 48.5 sacks along with 68 tackles for loss and 111 quarterback hits.
"I'm really proud of him, and we've come a long way from being in the dorm rooms back in 2013," said Bosa.
The Chargers played the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2017, which would have been their first opportunity to play. Elliott missed the game due to serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
Bosa's Chargers won the game 28-6.
They have dominated the NFL. They both became the highest-paid player at their position for the time being of their signed contracts. Elliott signed a six-year $90 million contract in 2019. At the same time, Bosa signed a five-year deal worth $135 million contract in July 2020.
"I don't think any of both of us we both sat down go I want to be the highest-paid dude," said Bosa. "I don't think that conversation happened, but I think the way we kind of carried ourselves and worked at Ohio State kind of brought us to where we are."
The Cowboys media asked the former Buckeye if he would give the team any inside information on slowing down Bosa.
"I don't know how much I really got to offer at this point," said a smiling Elliott. "We haven't been in college for six years now. He's totally different."
Both players have come a long way since rooming with each other in Columbus. They both helped bring a championship to a school with a rich history of producing great players.
On Sunday, Elliott will try to help his team avoid a 0-2 start, while Bosa will try to help his team start 2-0 for the first time since 2012.
"It'll be awesome," said Bosa. "Last time we played against each other it was, it was a practice, and we didn't take it easy on each other then, so I'm sure we won't this weekend. Yeah, it'll just be good to see him."