1. Ohio State beat Southern Cal 24 to 7, the Buckeyes first win over the Trojans since the 1974 Rose Bowl. Southern Cal had won seven straight games in the series, including three straight in bowl games (1975, 1980, 1985 Rose Bowls).
2. After the first 27 minutes, Ohio State had a 24-0 lead and it seemed like Buckeyes were on their way to a "name your score" blow out. Then K.J. Hill muffed a punt deep in Buckeye territory. The Trojans recovered and quickly scored on a 3-play, 15-yard drive to cut the lead to 24-7. From that point on, the game seemed like something from the 2002 season, with the defense playing lights out and the offense trying to whittle away the clock while not turning the ball over. Neither team scored in the second half, a half that must have been one of the most boring of the entire 2017 college football season.
3. Between the muffed punt and the final kneel down, Ohio State had six drives, five of which ended in punts and one where the Buckeyes were stuffed on 4th-and-short. During those six drives, Ohio State ran just 27 plays (4.5 plays per drive) for 112 yards (4.15 yards per play). Tresselball, anyone?
4. The Buckeye defense surrendered 413 yards of total offense (5.1 yards per play), but registered season highs in TFLs (14), sacks (8), and turnovers (4). Southern Cal quarterback Sam Darnold, widely regarded as one of the top picks in the 2018 NFL draft, amassed an impressive 356 yards passing with several throws displaying pinpoint accuracy. However, the Buckeye defense often made Darnold look like a future Cleveland Brown, allowing him to complete only 57.8% of his passes, sacking him 8 times for 47 yards lost, and forcing him into 3 turnovers (a pair of fumbles and a pick six by Damon Webb).
5. Cornerback Kendall Sheffield probably had his best game as a Buckeye, with 4 passes broken up and a forced fumble on Southern Cal's opening drive that set the tone for the entire game.
6. Senior defensive end Jalyn Holmes went out with a bang, with four tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a batted pass.
7. Senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis also finished his career on a high note, with 5 tackles, a sack, a TFL, and a forced fumble.
8. Junior defensive end Sam Hubbard, in likely his final game in scarlet and gray, had 2.5 sacks and another TFL.
9. On the other hand, fifth-year senior quarterback J.T. Barrett did just enough to win the game, with 180 total yards (66 rushing, 114 passing) and a pair of touchdowns (both rushing). Barrett holds every meaningful quarterbacking record at Ohio State, but he will still remain an enigma.
- Barrett's record as a starting QB was 38-6 (.864 winning percentage) ... but Ohio State's overall record with Urban Meyer at the helm is 73-8 (.901 winning percentage) ... which means that all other Buckeye quarterbacks since 2012 have combined for a record of 35-2 (.946 winning percentage).
- Barrett certainly won his share of big games for the Buckeyes (Michigan State 2014; Fiesta Bowl 2015; Oklahoma 2016; Penn State 2017; Cotton Bowl 2017; to name some of the most notable) ... but he was also responsible for two of the worst losses in Ohio State history (31-0 to Clemson in 2016; 55-24 to Iowa in 2017).
- Barrett was an integral part of the 2014 national championship team ... but his play in the loss to Virginia Tech (24 rushes for 70 yards; 9 for 29 passing for 219 yards; 2 total touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 7 sacks) nearly cost the team the opportunity to play for the title ... and Cardale Jones was the quarterback who ultimately cashed in on that opportunity.
10. And now we come to the case of Denzel Ward, the cornerback who sat out the game to avoid injury and protect his top-15 draft status. Plenty of Buckeye fans were mad at Ward for his decision, but it was the correct (or at least "a correct") choice. Fans complained that Ward wasn't being a "team player" ... but football is a team game played by individuals, and Ward was protecting his individual career. Fans whined that Ward was "saving himself for the NFL" ... but the main reason that Ward attended Ohio State in the first place was to prepare himself for his career in the NFL.
- Barrett went 4-0 against Michigan ... but he didn't finish two of those games due to injury, and Ohio State's offense in the 2017 Game certainly looked better with Barrett on the sidelines.
11. Let's face an unpleasant fact - Ohio State is a football factory. That's why Ohio State can attract some of the most talented football players in the country. As a fan of a football factory, you have to expect a certain amount of "disloyalty" from certain players. Not every player is going to bleed scarlet and gray. Not every player is going to fight to the end for O-HI-O! Not every player is going to play in bowl games if it means possibly jeopardizing millions of dollars in the NFL. Football is a big business, and Ohio State does a great job preparing players to succeed in that business. Don't get mad when a player does what's necessary (or at least advisable) to prosper in his chosen profession.
12. And finally, if you're going to have Denzel Ward on your [Mark May] list, then you'd better also add Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker and Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott and Michael Thomas and Cardale Jones and Darron Lee and Chris Gamble and Andy Katzenmoyer and Orlando Pace and every other player who left Ohio State early for the NFL. If those guys were truly "team players", wouldn't they have used up their eligibility instead of jilting Ohio State for the League?
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