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Rushing attack needs to be present in Cotton Bowl

14 January 2018
Rushing attack needs to be present in Cotton Bowl

But for this USC Trojans team that entered the season at No. 4 in the preseason polls and with quarterback Sam Darnold going off as the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, 2017 felt like a bit of a letdown.

Barrett, playing his final college game about a two-hour drive from his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas, surpassed Drew Brees' Big Ten career record for total offense with 12,697 yards.

The Buckeyes have weapons at all of the skill positions with players who can run with the ball as well as catch it.

Ward, a highly-touted potential first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, announced just minutes before kickoff he chose to skip the Cotton Bowl, sighting a "very hard decision". Meanwhile, the OSU defense laid an egg against the likes of Iowa and Oklahoma, but it has more often than not been able to make teams one-dimensional by nearly completely shutting down the likes of running backs Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin). But this is a conference that is 1-7 in bowl games and full of mediocre teams.

This is could be the final game at USC for third-year sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold, an expected top National Football League pick who hasn't said yet if he will return to the Trojans or declare for the draft.

Sam Darnold will likely still be a top pick if he leaves for the draft. For the Buckeyes to win, he'll have to be at his best with his arm, but also with his ability to bail the offense out on the ground like he's done so many times before. Other receivers are Steven Mitchell Jr., Michael Pittman, Velus Jones Jr., Jalen Greene and Tyler Vaughns. Sure, they would have been replaced for each program by quarterfinal games with higher stakes that included the potential for a championship.

Without him, the No. 5 Buckeyes defeated the Trojans? 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. The Buckeyes - with that terrible misfortune at Iowa after an early difficulty to playoff group Oklahoma - were the principal group forgot this season. If USC comes out fired up, their offense could lead them to victory.

Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes arrive in Arlington with a lot to prove to the nation, as the College Football Playoff Committee controversially left them out of the playoffs in favor of the Alabama Crimson Tide. 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. This was exacerbated on Friday by where Ohio State got the ball when USC gave it away.

J.K Dobbins, a true freshman, ran for 1364 yards along with 7 scores on only 181 carries.

"It was great watching J.T. come back so quickly from his injury before the MI game and watching him and warm up before the game in Indianapolis and then to play throughout the entire game and be so strong", Drake said. Teammate Mike Weber complimented Dobbins quite nicely, running for another 608 yards and 10 more touchdowns. Barrett will also need to use his legs to get outside the pocket to beat the Trojans with his legs and arm.

Up 17-0, the Buckeye defense wasn't done yet.

This formation forced the Badgers' weak-side defensive end to bump out a couple of yards from his normal position. The Buckeyes defense will also have to watch out for Trojans' star RB Ronald Jones II. Eberle made 16 for 18 field goals during the regular season, but missed three in the Arizona Bowl. 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.

Nick Bosa has 1-2 sacks.