emfizz.com January 20, 2018

Denzel Ward Sits Out Cotton Bowl, Declares for 2018 NFL Draft

14 January 2018, 12:35 | Andy Ferguson

Top-ranked tight end Jeremy Ruckert joins Ohio State in 2018

Top-ranked tight end Jeremy Ruckert joins Ohio State in 2018

Per ESPN, the Big Ten's 1-6 record is the worst bowl performance by a Power 5 conference with a minimum of five games played. After opening as 7-point favorites on December 4, the Buckeyes are now 9.5-point favorites, according to Westgate Superbook.

The USC Trojans march into the House that Jerry Built sporting an impressive 11-2 overall record and 8-1 in the Pac-12 Conference. They are also expected to be the three most-viewed games across the day when all final numbers are reported early next week.

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.

If OSU takes care of all three of those, or even two out of three, it can win tonight.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 champions would usually play New Year's Day in Pasadena instead of Texas, but the Rose Bowl is a CFP semifinal game on Monday between Oklahoma and Georgia. 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).

"I'm not even close to where I could be", Nick Bosa said. Ohio State has put up 40-plus points seven times, and the Trojans have hit that threshold on four occasions. Time and again, the Buckeye defensive line was invading the USC backfield and getting oodles of pressure on ballyhooed Trojan quarterback Sam Darnold, who tossed a pick and lost two fumbles because of the heat. The lone Trojan TD came after a muffed Ohio State punt in the second quarter set them up at the Buckeye 15-yard line. He will need to play mistake-free ball if USC hopes to upset the Buckeyes in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Neither did Ronald Jones.

Darnold completed 63.7% of his passes for 3,787 yards and 26 touchdown passes this season. Teammate Stephen Carr also pitched in with nearly 400 yards and three more scores.

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The Bears also have two former Ducks, Hroniss Grasu and Kyle Long, on the offensive line. The Bears hired Notre Dame's Harry Hiestand as offensive line coach.

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The offenses then stalled, including two more turnovers by the Trojans' offense. Often considered just a prototypical drop-back passer, he has also run for 350 yards and seven scores.

As good as the offense has been, the defense has been dominating all season, allowing opponents holding opponents under 20 points and 300 yards per game. The secondary is vulnerable, surrendering nearly 247 yards a contest (98th).

The Ohio State Buckeyes have had a sour taste in their mouth since Ohio State wasn't picked to make the College Football Playoffs.

Best player: J.T. Barrett.

With 114 passing yards, 66 rush yards and two rush touchdowns, Barrett was named the J. Curtis Stanford Offensive MVP award. Individual players may also feel that this is an opportunity to showcase their skills one last time. They recovered from their most-lopsided loss in a half-century to finish last season as Rose Bowl champs. He was asked to be the bell cow for Urban Myers offense. That's the formula for success with this team, the dual-threat capability of J.T. Barrett mixed with a heavy dose of freshman back J.K. Dobbins and sophomore Mike Weber. Hill brought in 55 passes for 546 yards and three touchdowns.

Up 17-0, the Buckeye defense wasn't done yet. The USC quarterback finished 26-of-44 for 356 yards and an interception. The secondary wasn't far behind, limiting opposing quarterbacks to only 183 yards a game (20th). This was exacerbated on Friday by where Ohio State got the ball when USC gave it away.

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