The Voice of the Fan is glad to see Ohio State finish their season with a win along with the fact J.T. Barrett ended his collegiate career with a win in his home state.
The question at the beginning of Ohio State’s Cotton Bowl game was which J.T. Barrett would show up? Well, the answer to that was evident quickly and what helped set up his finale was the play by the defense.
The Buckeyes’ defense showed up early causing two fumbles and a pick-six interception by Damon Webb. Denzel Ward was not dressed as he decided not to play in the game likely to protect his draft stock.
He made an announcement prior to the game and while he didn’t specifically state that was the reason, it makes all the sense in the world that was the reason why. Thus, joining a number of other collegiate players with the same approach. Ward was on the sidelines though and rooted his team on.
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With a shutout likely heading into halftime, K.J. Hill fumbled a punt with just over two minutes left in the first half. Due to his mistake, USC had a chance to capitalize via their two-minute drill and that is exactly what happened. At halftime, Ohio State’s shutout was no more but they were still in command 24-7.
Prior to the second half starting, the unknown was whether or not Ohio State could continue to keep their momentum along with their dominating, outstanding defense? The Buckeyes kept pressuring USC’s Sam Darnold and his offensive line on a regular basis.
Also, could Barrett write one last thrilling chapter of his college career cementing his legacy?
The second half started with questionable play-calling by Ohio State. Going on fourth down and almost two yards to go on the Trojans’ 42 yard line. Barrett is a better runner than passer and that was evident once again as the second half progressed.
On the other hand, the Buckeyes’ offensive line struggled at times not opening up holes and was shoved into the backfield. Despite that, pressure continued to be seen by Ohio State’s defense and Barrett’s numbers kept increasing.
Kendall Sheffield also had a fine game. He will be the next really good Buckeye defensive back. As great as it was seeing the way Sheffield play, it was just as equally frustrating watching the Buckeyes not blow USC out. They had their chances but could not find the end zone.
USC had an opportunity to cut into the lead with a short field goal but they failed as the kick hit off the goal post! Despite the momentum from the missed kick, Ohio State was unable to do anything as a result.
The play-calling was too protective and there was not that killer instinct many expected to see. This year’s Cotton Bowl was a true tug of war as neither team took their play to the next level.
Even though Barrett is a great runner, he ran the ball far too many times! The Trojans knew what was coming and the read option needed to stop.
At least the defense didn’t play in preventive packages as they came after Darnold full force till the end of the game. Without Ward, adjustments were made and not enough good things could be said about how the defense played.
Darnold did not show why he is deserving of the first pick in the draft. No scoring occurred in the second half as Ohio State won 24-7 and proved why they were deserving of a playoff ranking.
The Buckeyes wouldn’t have achieved what they have though without Barrett, who did write one last impressive chapter to his collegiate career. Barrett threw for 114 yards and he also ran for 66 yards and two touchdowns. The combined total led him to break another record, the most Big Ten yardage of all-time, surpassing Purdue’s Drew Brees.