Abril 21, 2018

Ohio State Cotton Bowl melee results in plenty of weirdness

12 Enero 2018, 08:22 | Gerardo Tarin


QB J.T. Barrett shown earlier this month leads the Ohio State Buckeyes against the USC Trojans in Cotton Bowl 2017 on Friday Dec. 29

If Ohio State shows up scared against USC and runs Barrett up the middle on most of their plays, they could get dominated by the Trojans, but this year I have also seen an Ohio State team capable of beating USC by double digits.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 champions would usually play New Year's Day in Pasadena instead of deep in the heart of Texas, but the Rose Bowl is a College Football Playoff semifinal game this season. He finished 11 of 17 for 114 yards passing and rushed 16 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns and won Sanford Trophy, presented to the Cotton Bowl's best offensive player.

The elder Helton led the Cougars to just one bowl appearance in seven seasons as a head coach but he had a major impact on his son, who on Friday will be making his fourth appearance as a head coach on the sidelines of a bowl game.

When Barrett can be a factor is on read option keepers, play action passes, and roll out passes, especially when the rest of the ground game is strong.

Through the first four weeks the Trojans got the job done.

Sam Darnold, the redshirt sophomore quarterback, could be playing in his final game for the Trojans.

Ohio State's senior class completed a ridiculous 49-6 four-year run with the win, setting a program record for most wins by a class in history, and Urban Meyer improved to an absurd 73-8 overall as Ohio State's coach.

Ohio State and USC are both playing at the Cowboys' stadium for the second time.

Barrett beat an incredible nine top-10 teams in his Ohio State career, by far the most in school history, and was 4-0 vs. Michigan, including a pair of top-10 Wolverine teams. They need him to have his signature big runs and get him involved in the passing game to keep Ohio State unbalanced and to take some pressure off Darnold.

"It's been such a dream of mine to play in the National Football League that whether I go or whether I stay at USC, to be able to have the opportunity to even play in the National Football League and achieve that dream of mine is something that I've always looked at", Darnold said. There were throws off his back foot, missed timing routes, even a deliberate throwaway which was almost intercepted. USC can not afford to turn the ball over.

Plenty of questions can be made about Ohio State's offense.

How did Ohio State lose and give up 55 points to Iowa? Tonight was all about J.T. Barrett and the Buckeye defense.

Too many things have to go right for USC to pull this out.

It was an off-kilter and off-brand night for the USC offense. SC QB Sam Darnold threw for 356 yards, but they were mostly empty yards as Darnold was often running for his life as the Buckeye defensive line was in relentless pursuit of a kid some feel may be the No. 1 selection in the 2018 draft if he leaves school.

Of note, Ohio State will return to AT&T Stadium on September 15 to do battle with TCU, who beat Stanford 39-37 in Thursday night's Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

When it comes down to it, both teams have potent offenses that can beat you in a variety of ways, and both teams are desperate to prove they belonged in the college football playoff. Darnold said he has not reached a decision about his future, but he is eligible to enter the NFL Draft. You don't have to be as in sync offensively if you lean on your running game. The Buckeyes' front is led by Rimington Award victor Billy Price. And there are examples of teams which didn't want to be there winning bowl games. The Buckeyes average 523.6 yards (7th in the country) and 42.5 points (fifth) per contest, while the Trojans put up 490.0 (ninth) and 34.5 (20th), respectively.

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