Cotton Bowl 2017: Five things to look forward to in USC vs Ohio State

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(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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J.T. Barrett will light the Trojans up if they’re not careful

So not only is USC coming into this Cotton Bowl having to deal with an eighth-ranked defense, but they’ll have a number of problems when Sam Darnold and company don’t have the ball. J.T. Barrett has helped lead the Buckeyes to the sixth-best offense in college football.

They are the only team in the top ten in terms of total offense that is anywhere near the college football playoff. Not only that, but they’ve also run a ridiculous amount of plays this season — 974 through 13 games, to be exact — and are averaging seven yards per play.

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Ohio State has also found the end zone 71 times and has put up an astronomical 523.6 yards per game in total offense. Barrett himself is averaging 8.3 yards per attempt, with an overall rating of 162 to go with 35 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.

Barrett is also more experienced than Darnold in this capacity, and could be able to put on an out of this world performance against USC’s defense, which is ranked 76th in the country.

However, shutting Barrett down would give the Trojans a tremendous edge, despite still having to deal with the Buckeyes’ defense. The problem with defending Barrett is that he’s just as lethal running the football as he is throwing it through the air.

So on top of being able to dominant the game when he connects with his receivers, Barrett is also the second best rusher on his entire team. This season, Barrett has 149 carries and has rushed for 732 yards. That comes out to an average of just under five yards per carry, to go with ten touchdowns through the ground, which is tied for most on the team.

The bottom line here is that USC will have to stay on their toes since Barrett can attack well from all aspects of the offensive side of the ball. If they fail to do their homework, it won’t take long to tell.

And they’ll be sorry.