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Cotton Bowl: Studs and duds in USC's loss to Ohio State

14 January, 2018, 12:32 | Author: Joan Malone
  • Top-ranked tight end Jeremy Ruckert joins Ohio State in 2018

That began a 24-0 run for the Buckeyes which was only halted by a muffed punt which set USC up in the red zone to score a relatively easy touchdown before the half. It's not a stretch either to imagine Ohio State and USC both competing with, if not beating, some of the four teams that nabbed playoff spots ahead of them. This is the first Cotton Bowl matching conference champs since New Year's Day 1987, when Big Ten co-champ Ohio State beat Southwest Conference victor Texas A&M.

All-American center Billy Price will be gone next year, as will starting tight end Marcus Baugh, a valuable target for Barrett the past two seasons.

However, USC has great defensive talent such as CB, Iman Marshall, and LB, Cameron Smith, who are also expected to be drafted in 2018.

But as a factor affecting players and coaches, history is overrated.

While the streaming confetti this time was for a Cotton Bowl victory instead of a title celebration like three seasons ago, coach Urban Meyer still got a special feeling from the fifth-ranked Buckeyes' defensively dominant 24-7 win over No. 7 Southern California. "It's something that's a true blessing to be able to do that at a huge university that's tradition rich like Ohio State".

While the other programs losing might not be a big deal, their champion getting clubbed under a national spotlight is a bad look for the conference.

When USC played Notre Dame earlier this season, the safety was coming down to the line of scrimmage for run support which sets up the deep ball; when they went back to stacking five at the line, Notre Dame pounded the ball. Normally, the winners of those leagues would face off in the Rose Bowl, but that is one of the national semifinals this season. This game could help this team move forward after falling short of expectations.

"Ultimately at the end of the day, he wants to win".

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It's no guarantee either way.

Spread: The biggest question entering this game is how the Buckeyes will play after being left on the outside looking in at the playoff. Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams, a possible first-round pick, and teammates DeShon Elliott and Holton Hill all chose to sit out the Texas Bowl.

USC can't win the game by putting it exclusively in Darnold's hands, and Ohio State will have an issue pulling this one out if it can't contain the talents of Jones on the ground. Ohio State also ranks 20th in points allowed, surrendering 19.9 PPG.

From the beginning, the Trojans fell behind when Deontay Burnett fumbled the ball after a big first down.

After Sean Nuernberger's 26-yard field goal gave OSU a 10-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter, the Buckeyes benefitted from another USC turnover. He was sacked eight times by Ohio State. Barrett is a better runner than passer and that was evident once again as the second half progressed. Here are three takeaways from the Buckeye's victory over the Trojans.

After watching the redshirt sophomore struggle mightily for most of the night against Ohio State's defense, those apples seem rotten.

In a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, OSU had a 13-10 lead with 8:10 left in the third quarter but had only a field goal in the last 23 minutes.

As a result, there will be plenty of pride on the line as the two programs look to show the selection committee that they got it all wrong - especially the Buckeyes, who missed out on the College Football Playoff by one spot despite winning the Big Ten Championship.

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