Ohio State vs. USC Football

Lynette Rowe
January 14, 2018

Two of the top teams in the nation meet in the Lone Star State when the (7) USC Trojans battle the (5) Ohio State Buckeyes in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

It should be one of the best bowl games of the season, and you can watch for free on Hulu Live, which is the best way and cheapest way to watch NCAA Football and bowl games this season. The Texas Bowl is now held at the actual Cotton Bowl - Texas beat Missouri in that Wednesday night. After opening as 7-point favorites on December 4, the Buckeyes are now 9.5-point favorites, according to Westgate Superbook.

The Trojans are 1-4 against the spread in their last five bowl games, are 2-8-1 against the number in their last 11 games overall, and are winless at 0-4 at the betting window in their last four non-conference games. Instead, that went to Alabama, which didn't even win its own division in the SEC. Four plays later Barrett ran one yard for a 7-0 lead. Most experts expected the Trojans to make the College Football Playoffs but the season didn't pan out like the Trojans expected.

This is the 24th meeting between the two schools, with USC leading the series, 13-9-1. And, just as obviously, USC would rather be playing in the other semifinal in the Rose Bowl, just 15 miles from its campus in Los Angeles.

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.

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

Elliott, who told reporters Wednesday that he was planning to go, helped lead the Buckeyes to the national title the last time they played at AT&T Stadium in 2015, scoring four touchdowns and racing for 246 yards.

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The Buckeyes were disappointed they missed out on the College Football Playoff, but USC was too. For all the mixed feelings fans and media had for him, it's good to see Barrett, the game's offensive MVP because someone had to be, go out on a high note. Electrifying tailback Ronald Jones kept the offense balanced and racked up plenty of yardage along the way. People forget he's had a 1,000-yard season. Texas A&M's Nick Starkel threw for 499 yards and four touchdowns, completing 42 of 63 passes.

They win by being more successful on offense. Even though the offense produced well, the defense gave a lot of it back. The Trojans scored 34.5 points per game, and allowed opponents to score 26.3 per game. The secondary is vulnerable, surrendering nearly 247 yards a contest (98th).

Best player: J.T. Barrett. They were outgained by a wide margin, 413-277, Barrett passed for just 114 yards on 11 completions, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber combined for just 57 yards on 18 carries, and the Buckeyes converted just 2-of-12 third-down opportunities. The dual-threat player also toted the rock 150 times for 743 yards and 10 more trips to the back of the end zone. Both had visions of playing for a national championship this season in mind. He was asked to be the bell cow for Urban Myers offense.

According to ncaa.com, Ohio State ranks eighth in the FBS in total defense whereas USC is ranked 77th. Hill brought in 55 passes for 546 yards and three touchdowns.

Darnold put up some big numbers (356 yards passing) but was clearly bewildered by a relentless pass rush.

The Buckeyes' defense showed up early causing two fumbles and a pick-six interception by Damon Webb.

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