Ohio State won the 2017 Cotton Bowl, 24-7, over USC on Friday, Dec. 29.
Find the score and live updates below.
Cotton Bowl 2017 score: Updates on Ohio State-USC
Final: Ohio State 24, USC 7. Buckeyes end the season with a 21-point win.
Ohio State 24, USC 7 (Q4, 2:10): Sam Darnold and USC have tried driving a few times, but it hasn’t worked. Doesn’t look like much else is gonna happen in this one.
Ohio State 24, USC 7 (Q4, 6:50): Jalyn Holmes has all the physical tools to be a great pass rusher and showed it again on a strip sack of Darnold. The whole defensive line has played great tonight for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State 24, USC 7 (Q4, 15:00): This game needs something to happen to break OSU out of its shell, but USC isn’t doing enough to make that happen and the Buckeyes don’t seem willing to do it on their own.
Ohio State 24, USC 7 (Q3, 5:00): It’s been much of the same Buckeyes we’ve seen throughout this year when they get a decent lead against good teams. Hyperconservative play-calling and not great execution, either.
Ohio State 24, USC 7 (Q2, 1:59): Ohio State has had issues for about five years now with catching punts, and it just came back to bite the Buckeyes. In a game they’ve dominated largely because of turnovers, the Buckeyes coughed one up to lead to an easy USC touchdown.
Ohio State 17, USC 0 (Q2, 14:42): Another big play from Damon Webb and the Buckeyes have a commanding lead after an interception returned for a touchdown. He’s really blossomed into a weapon at safety for OSU the last couple of seasons. Darnold has taken some risks that are backfiring.
Ohio State 7, USC 0 (Q1, 5:09): USC quarterback Sam Darnold certainly comes as advertised. He’s made a number of great throws tonight against an OSU secondary missing Denzel Ward. With that being said, the Trojans need to do a better job taking care of the ball if they’re going to benefit from Darnold’s big plays.
Ohio State 7, USC 0 (Q1, 12:25): The Buckeyes couldn’t have asked for a better start than this one. On a USC third down, Damon Webb recovers a fumble and the Buckeyes offense strikes a few plays later for a touchdown. That ability to force and then punish USC turnovers will be huge, as detailed below in the keys to the game.
Ohio State-USC pregame updates
8:35 p.m.: Denzel Ward will not be playing in the Cotton Bowl.
Cotton Bowl 2017 preview, keys
Ohio State and USC will face off in the 2017 Cotton Bowl, pitting two of college football’s most accomplished programs against each other. What follows are three keys for the game that will help determine the outcome.
1. Ohio State’s engagement
There has been some speculation that the Buckeyes might be in for a letdown game after missing out on the College Football Playoff. If the interest wasn’t there, the result probably wouldn’t be either. USC isn’t the type of team that opponents can sleepwalk against. But Ohio State players swiftly shot down those thoughts during Cotton Bowl media interviews.
“I think it’s disrespectful. I really do,” center Billy Price said. “That’s why I got offended when someone asked me that just a second ago. ‘Can you get up for this game?’ Are you kidding me? It’s my final game as a fifth-year senior to cap off the 2013 recruiting class legacy, and if you think I’m not going to be excited, jacked up, juiced up, ready to go on that sideline, then don’t come to the game. It doesn’t matter what game it is. We could play on the sidewalk or we could go play in the grass, and I’m going to be excited for it and ready for it.
“We’re going to go out there and give everything we’ve got and we expect the same from them. This is a top-tier game against a highly, highly respected opponent. Go out there and have some fun and represent your university.”
2. Battle in the trenches
USC is fifth in the country and first in the Pac-12 in sacks per game, taking down the opposing quarterback an average of 3.31 times per game. Ohio State has to find a way to keep the Trojans’ pass rushers at bay if the Buckeyes are going to be effective on offense. During the Urban Meyer era, succumbing to opposing defensive lines has been a common trait in many Buckeyes losses. Based on the numbers and the film, it seems like the Buckeyes will have their work cut out for them.
“They have guys flying all over the place,” Ohio State left tackle Jamarco Jones said. “They’ve got guys in the middle. They bring everything to the table that you want in a defense. I would say they bring some exotic looks. They blitz from all different areas. Sometimes the tail will come in front.
“It’s going to be a challenge going into this game, executing when you don’t really know what’s going to happen, who’s going to be where and things like that. It’s going to definitely be a challenge, but it’s going to be a fun challenge. As an offensive line, we faced quite a few teams this year who have done different things defensively that we hadn’t seen too much before. But throughout the game, good and bad is going to happen. Make sure we focus on the next play and communicate and get focused.”
3. Forcing turnovers
USC doesn’t always take care of the ball. The Trojans rank No. 103 in FBS in turnovers lost, No. 98 in fumbles lost and No. 82 in interceptions thrown. Those are not great numbers. At the same time, Ohio State ranks just 43rd in turnovers gained. In a game between two elite teams, the outcome could be decided by which one forces more turnovers.