Snubbed from the four-team playoff this season, the Buckeyes cashed in four turnovers by USC quarterback Sam Darnold for 21 points in a 24-7 win over the Trojans in the Cotton Bowl Classic Friday night at AT&T Stadium. "That is the way we won that amusement".
But the second half of the season commenced a turnaround by the Trojans, who won their final five games en route to a Pac-12 championship, their first conference crown in nearly a decade and a fulfilling finish.
"Our defensive line won that game".
"I really respect all three players, and that's the kind of depth that you need", Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Thursday. "There's nobody that's maybe more loved on this football team than Sam". While there were the bad plays, he made some exciting throws at times and even tried to cut the deficit late in the fourth quarter with some incredible passes, but another fumble would ultimately doom him. USC's lone trip was on January 2, 1995, when it scored a bowl record 55 points in a 41-point victory over Texas Tech.
Meyer said OSU's defense was "dominating and relentless against an excellent quarterback".
"These fifth-year guys are not just fantastic players, they are the nuts and bolts of this program", he said.
"I think my focus is going to be on the game".
Ward's father, Paul, a middle school principal in Bedford, Ohio, died past year of a heart attack at age 46.
When USC fell behind to Ohio State on Friday night, what did Helton bring in these situations? Barrett is a better runner than passer and that was evident once again as the second half progressed. The unit held Ohio State to 237 yards, limiting Barrett to 71 passing yards.
Queiro nabbed a Stephen Johnson pass near the right sideline, tippy-toed to stay inbounds and raced 26 yards for the clinching score with 7:49 left in the game.
The Buckeyes are No. 2 in the country in Rushing S&P+, No. 1 in Rushing Success Rate, and No. 8 in yards per carry.
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was involved in one of the weirdest sagas of the season. What we can learn, though, from the excitement around this game and the potential for a worthwhile matchup is that missing out on a title shot might not be the travesty some want to believe it to be. The Ohio State offense did start slow due to a few turnovers, but near the end of the first half the Buckeyes' offense began to roll.
Marvell Tell finally flopped onto the ball on the 15-yard line, pounding it into the turf as he shouted in excitement, and the offense lined up in the red zone for the first time.
"Whenever you turn the ball over that much it's hard to win games", Darnold said. He has 17 TDs and four interceptions in the last eight games.
Ohio State's J.T. Barrett celebrates with fans following the team's Big Ten championship earlier this month. Most importantly, Barrett was able to complete a post-season with a Big Ten championship and a win in a New Year's Six game. And it didn't have to wait long.
After Ohio State started the second half with a field goal, they scored 10 points in 13 seconds when Darnold made an ill-advised throw on the first play of the ensuing drive, and Damon Webb took it to the house for an interception return for a touchdown.
Second, Ohio State must withstand USC's pass rush.
Tyquan Lewis sacked the third-year junior and jarred the ball loose and Jerome Baker recovered it at the Buckeyes' 41-yard line.
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