Another look at the Tyquan Lewis sack and Jerome Baker fumble return. Sam Darnold is having a rough night.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- No. 5 Ohio State thumped No. 8 USC 24-7 on Friday night at the Cotton Bowl in the battle of teams that kinda, sorta had a case for being in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes scored the first 24 points of the game and turned the Trojans over four times on the night before grounding the Pac-12 champions down the stretch in the second half.
J.T. Barrett and Co. leaned heavily on their run game for most of the contest, pounding it 38 times for 163 yards, which amounted to only 4.3 yards per carry against a USC defense that was ranked No. 67 in the country in yards per carry against. The Trojans did a tremendous job for most of the night, limiting the Buckeyes' offense to just 17 points (plus a pick-six).
The big story on Friday, though, was what the OSU's defense did to a top 25 offense led by potential top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft in Sam Darnold. The junior quarterback was harassed all night as Ohio State notched eight sacks and 14 tackles for loss. As a result, the turnover-prone Darnold fumbled twice -- once in the red zone -- and tossed one of the worst pick-sixes of the calendar year.
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.
2. No protection for Darnold: I know the Ohio State defensive front is solid, but USC made it look like Darnold was facing his first NFL team on Friday. As a result, he was dancing all night, coughed up a two fumbles and generally looked about as comfortable in the pocket as Eminem does in the broadcast booth. I don't know that USC would have won if Darnold would have had a clean pocket, but it would have at least had a chance. He wasn't good by any means, and some of his throws were genuinely jaw-droppingly poor, but life's not easy with Nick Bosa in your dish all night.
3. Barrett stayed patient on the ground: The Buckeyes fed multiple backs and, ultimately, their leader Barrett to carry the night. He was particularly impressive in his collegiate swan song (in a career that dates back to the mid-90s, it seems) and didn't try and force the issue through the air. In fact, Ohio State was pretty lousy outside of Barrett's legs. Say what you want about Barrett's career, and literally all of you have said something, but he won a lot of football games in the Scarlet and Gray. Friday's performance was a microcosm of what has made Ohio State great for the past few years. He finished with 16 carries for 66 yards and two touchdowns, simply making it look way too easy at times.