Ohio State football: 5 reasons the Buckeyes will beat USC

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Quarterback J.T. Barrett
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Quarterback J.T. Barrett /
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 02: Running back J.K. Dobbins

3. The Trojans will not be able to stop the Buckeyes’ rushing attack.

Offense is easily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the flashy team out west formally known as the USC Trojans. There is good reason for that considering their defense has seen better days. As noted earlier on, the Pac-12 isn’t necessarily known for its defense.

The one team that does know how to play defense in this conference would be the Washington Huskies who are far and away the best of the bunch. The Huskies give up just 14.5 points per game while the next team behind them is Stanford at 21.5 points per game. For reference, the Trojans give up an average of 26.3 points per game which is 55th in the nation.

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Running backs generally take the back seat in the Pac-12 with the quarterbacks dominating the spotlight like Luke Falk, Jake Browning, and the Trojans’ very own Sam Darnold. However, there is one school in the conference that still cherishes a traditional playing style. The Stanford Cardinal has generated some of the best running backs in college football especially as of recent.

Heisman finalist running back Bryce Love led the charge for the Cardinal this season while being second in the nation in rushing yards. He was the heir to the throne following the departure of Christian McCaffrey who broke Barry Sanders‘ NCAA single-season all-purpose yardage record of 3,250 yards.

Love was also a pain in the Trojans’ neck this season as he ran through them like a hot knife through butter. He averaged 142.5 yards rushing and a touchdown in two meetings against the Trojans. There were other rushing based teams who enjoyed the same success against the Trojans in the run game as well.

Notre Dame ran the ball all day against the Trojans en route to a blowout victory. The Irish ran for a whopping 377 yards and five touchdowns in their victory over the Trojans. The Irish are one of the best in the nation in rushing offense led by Josh Adams who was once in Heisman consideration. That’s still no excuse to get scorched that badly on the ground though.

The best part about it all is the fact that the Buckeyes have a rushing offense that could surpass Stanford and Notre Dame. There should be plenty of running room for J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber, and Barrett in this game. The Trojans rank outside the top 50 in the nation in rush defense allowing over 159 yards per game. The Buckeyes are 12th in the nation in rushing offense with 250 rushing yards per game.

This match up looks ideal for the Buckeyes considering it caters directly to their offensive strengths. The Bucks love to run the ball and are effective in doing so while the Trojans have struggled against better rushing offenses all season. Expect the Buckeyes to easily set the tone early on the ground where they can easily bully a weak Trojans rush defense.