USC: Darnold, who became the first Trojans quarterback ever with more than 4,000 yards passing in a season, has until January 15 to decide if he will head to the National Football League or return to USC for another season.
USC and Ohio State had a goal other than the Cotton Bowl in mind when the season began. After having weeks off in between games, the tendency for teams that rely on their passing game is that they're out of sync by the time they play their bowl games. For both, it was a distinct possibility as they entered Championship Week. Ward, a native of Nordonia, is projected to be a first-round pick and one of the first players at his position selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
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Basically, three wide receivers did most of the heavy-lifting when the Trojans looked to move the ball through the air. Michael Pittman Jr. and Tyler Vaughns could also have big games. Barrett is not a great passer but the Buckeyes can win this game on Barrett's legs alone. When you become that kind of person, you have to really be cautious of who you're around and who you're with. He's also had had two significant injuries at OSU and J.K. Dobbins is a better back. In their last victory, the Trojans laid claim to the Pac-12 title when they beat in-state rivals the Stanford Cardinal, 31-28. USC players knew from experience that they were in for a game that would match the intensity and level of play of the playoff bowls when they heard they'd be pitted against another traditional power in Dallas. But USC's offense put the team in a hole early with backbreaking turnovers, a hole that the Trojans couldn't dig out of.
Obviously, Ohio State would rather be 505 miles to the east in New Orleans playing in a College Football Playoff semifinal. This victory snapped an OSU losing streak to USC that dated to January 1, 1974, when Archie Griffin led the Buckeyes to a 42-21 pounding of the defending national champion Trojans in the Rose Bowl. That meant Ohio State was able to close out the victory over USC by that same 24-7 margin.
All four touchdowns scored in the first half came after turnovers.
With Buckeyes All-America junior cornerback Denzel Ward sitting out in the wake of choosing to go into the National Football League draft, kindred guarded back Damon Webb restored a capture attempt for a touchdown subsequent to recouping a bungle to set up an early score.
Up 17-0, the Buckeye defense wasn't done yet. Considering the Big 12 is in the playoff, they can be thrown in the group as well. Nick Bosa is their star defensive lineman and will hopefully follow in his brother's footsteps. The junior RB has had a sensational season as he has 242 carries for 1,486 yards and 18 touchdowns. It's been a recipe for success, and the offense has to be licking its chops getting ready to go against a Trojan defense that ranks No. 56 against the run.
Sam Darnold throws for over 300 yards and at least three touchdowns. When all the dust settled, the Buckeyes finished with an 11-2 record and went 8-1 in the mighty Big Ten. Electrifying tailback Ronald Jones kept the offense balanced and racked up plenty of yardage along the way.