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Cotton Bowl Preview: USC Trojans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Cotton Bowl Preview: USC Trojans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

The unit finished their year ranked 8th in the country in total yards allowed (292).

ARLINGTON, Texas - There was disappointment at stages of USC's season. Even with the win, USC fell short of a chance to play in the College Football Playoffs. Others pointed to the few signs of progress and little incremental improvement.

"I was out on the road recruiting, and I come back and a lot of people are pulling", Meyer said. He led the Buckeyes to a place in the Big Ten Championship before his own injury saw Cardale Jones lead the team to a national championship.

"He would lose a year of eligibility if he plays in that game, and we didn't have it ready, but it was always kind of in the back of our minds".

Though schedules have been expanded throughout major college football, a victory Friday would give USC 12 wins in a season for only the seventh time in school history.

Where was this defensive effort when the Buckeyes were furiously rallying to beat Penn State 39-38 or when Oklahoma pulled away for a 31-16 victory or when they were getting lit up in a 55-24 loss to 20-point dog Iowa? The Buckeyes - with that bad misfortune at Iowa after an early difficulty to playoff group Oklahoma - were the principal group forgot this season. "And the big smile on his face at the end of the game said it all".

Jones, a sophomore, started 13 games this year but twisted an ankle in the Pac-12 championship game earlier this month. This is the first Cotton Bowl matching conference champs since New Year's Day 1987, when Big Ten co-champ Ohio State beat Southwest Conference victor Texas A&M. A defensive score like this was crippling to the psyche of the Trojans, who never recovered. Darnold said he has not reached a decision about his future, but he is eligible to enter the NFL Draft.

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. His passer rating against ranked teams was fourth in the nation this season.

Barrett only threw for 114 yards in the game, but he rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns, and that was all the Buckeyes needed.

On the Trojans' first offensive play after the field goal, Webb stepped in front of Burnett for an interception and went 23 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead with 14:42 left in the first half.

TUCSON, Ariz. - New Mexico State won its first bowl game in 57 years as Larry Rose III scored on a 21-yard touchdown run in overtime to lift the Aggies past Utah State in the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium.

While new Giants GM Dave Gettleman may have said "as of now" Eli Manning is the Giants' starting quarterback for 2018, that doesn't preclude him from potentially drafting the 37-year-old Manning's successor.

Of course, there were times when Darnold showed why he's in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick.

Fun diversion: Defensive end Nick Bosa said the team visited Top Golf in Dallas on Tuesday. This is the eighth postseason meeting between the Buckeyes and Trojans and the first seven were all in the Rose Bowl, the last one 33 years ago. His work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com, FOXSports.com, CBSSports.com and many others. Joe's claim to fame since joining NCAA.com: he's predicted the correct national championship game twice... and picked the wrong victor both times.

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