Buckeyes crush Trojans in Cotton Bowl

Doug Mendoza
January 14, 2018

On the third play of the game, cornerback Kendall Sheffield, who took over the No. 1 cornerback role in Ward's absence, forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Damon Webb. The Buckeyes didn't make it. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay updated with the latest news and exclusive giveaways!

Larry Phillips is the Managing Editor of Richland Source.

"I really respect all three players, and that's the kind of depth that you need", Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Thursday. "That quarterback (Darnold), I have a lot of respect for him".

This was a tale decided by two quarterbacks.

The Cotton Bowl could be his last game in a USC uniform as the redshirt sophomore faces a decision on whether to declare for the NFL Draft.

OFFENSE: B+. It was typical Ohio State, as the staff fed the Trojans a steady diet of J.T. Barrett left, J.T. Barrett right, J.T. Barrett up the middle with a few passes mixed in. In a battle of potential (Darnold) over performance (Barrett), it was no comparison. "He's a member of the Meyer family".

Ohio State was up 24-0 when Barrett ran 28 yards for another touchdown after the first of Darnold's two fumbles when stripped while being sacked. It came within an extra point of tying when Johnson scrambled 9 yards for a touchdown with 37 seconds remaining. That statistical advantage was compiled against far better competition, too, and it showed.

Trailing 20-13 New Mexico State tied the score when Tyler Rogers hit Jaleel Scott in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown with 6:31 left in the fourth quarter.

"The strip mishandles, when I'm in the pocket, those are intense", Darnold said. "But I don't worry about (possibly going to the draft). It was a bad play on my part".

Milestone watch: There was a time earlier this season when Barrett was breaking career records every week.

He was a sophomore when he blitzed OR in the first College Football Playoff championship game.

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Ryan Finley passed for 318 yards and a touchdown, and Nyheim Hines rushed for a career-high three touchdowns in North Carolina State's victory over Arizona State in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

Alas, Meyer was in no mood to cry over spilled milk. His brother Joey was a first-team All-American at Ohio State and now leads the Los Angeles Chargers in sacks.

Darnold said after the game he is still undecided about his future.

Then again, USC lost to a pass-heavy team (Washington State) and a run-heavy team (Notre Dame). He shattered Drew Brees' conference total offense record with 12,697 yards.

All-American center Billy Price will be gone next year, as will starting tight end Marcus Baugh, a valuable target for Barrett the past two seasons.

"I think it's not just myself - there's other leaders that we have on this team", Barrett said.

"I just want to forget that whole (Alabama) game to be honest". I like betting Big Ten teams in bowl games.

Playoff-censured Ohio State got the opportunity to bring another trophy up in the building where the Buckeyes won a national title.

Slowing the Buckeyes running game is easier said than done of course (No. 15; 249.4 yards/game).

The third Arizona Bowl started with some early fireworks on special teams. "Obviously, I've heard his side of the story, so I worry about him".

"So when I hear "Hang On Sloopy" and see the former players and knowing that we in our own little way have done some very good things for this great university, that's one of those feel-good moments".

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