USC LB Porter Gustin, CB Jack Jones in doubt for Cotton Bowl


The Texas Bowl is now held at the actual Cotton Bowl - Texas beat Missouri in that Wednesday night. Odds gurus have the Buckeyes as a -7.5 point favorite and the contest's over/under at 65.

Jones, a third-team AP All-American who leads USC with four interceptions, suffered an ankle injury in the Pac-12 championship game on December 1. Here are three takeaways from the Buckeye's victory over the Trojans.

Two teams that fell short of the playoffs square off tonight.

As a result, there will be plenty of pride on the line as the two programs look to show the selection committee that they got it all wrong - especially the Buckeyes, who missed out on the College Football Playoff by one spot despite winning the Big Ten Championship. 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). When all the dust settled, the Buckeyes finished with an 11-2 record and went 8-1 in the mighty Big Ten.

Series record: USC leads 13-9-1. The USC Trojans have had a great season led by their star quarterback Sam Darnold But Darnold isn't the only star QB in this game. He has 17 TDs and four interceptions in the last eight games.

USC had four turnovers - three fumbles and an interception - and its three first-half turnovers all led to OSU touchdowns as the Buckeyes built a 24-0 lead with 5:27 left in the first half. You don't have to be as in sync offensively if you lean on your running game.

Ronald Jones III rushes for over 100 yards. But over the course of the season, they still averaged over 190 yards a game on the ground. Texas A&M's Nick Starkel threw for 499 yards and four touchdowns, completing 42 of 63 passes. I'm playing a more prominent role in offense. Even though the offense produced well, the defense gave a lot of it back.

Best stat: 57, rushing yards allowed by Ohio State, which limited the Trojans to 277 total yards. The secondary is vulnerable, surrendering nearly 247 yards a contest (98th). With his pick-six, fumble recovery and five total tackles, Webb earned the McKnight Trophy as the defensive player of the game. Their 5th-ranked scoring offense will have the Trojans in At&T Stadium instead of the Clemson Tigers.

What J.T. Barrett did early Friday night was nearly the same. Nonetheless, neither Meyer nor his team have said they feel particularly cheated (by their own efforts or the selection committee's decision) for not getting to play for a championship this time around. Joe Burrow, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, will have to decide whether to stick around and challenge Haskins for the job or transfer. He was asked to be the bell cow for Urban Myers offense. This set up a dive to J.K. Dobbins that went for 77 yards because LT Jamarco Jones was able to kick-out that end and part the Red Sea.

Don't be surprised if Mike Weber declares for the NFL. Ohio State can lay claim to being the No. 8 ranked defense in the country. Hill brought in 55 passes for 546 yards and three touchdowns. They had their chances but could not find the end zone.

Past that, Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell and maybe a surprising player like Kendall Sheffield could move on.

On the defense, the Buckeyes will need to find a way to put pressure on Sam Darnold. The secondary wasn't far behind, limiting opposing quarterbacks to only 183 yards a game (20th).

Betting Trend (s) • USC is just 3-8 against the spread (ATS) in its last 11 games.

USC and Ohio State had no common opponents this season.