Ohio State vs USC: It’s up to defensive lines to stop the aerial show


Ohio State and USC have two of the best quarterbacks in the country and outstanding receivers as well.

When Ohio State and USC meet in the Cotton Bowl, it could become quite an aerial show with each team putting up big numbers in the passing game. It may be up to the defensive lines to make sure that won’t happen.

USC quarterback Sam Darnold is certain to be a high pick in the NFL draft. JT Barrett has broken most, if not all, of the Ohio State passing records. And each have weapons at their disposal.

The secondary of each team simply won’t stand a chance if their defensive line can’t put pressure on the quarterback.

The Trojans’ top receiver is Deontay Burnett who has 74 receptions for 975 yards and 9 touchdowns. But Darnold has even more guys to throw to.

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Tyler Vaughns has caught 51 passes and Steven Mitchell 41. Tyler Petite and Michael Pittman have 22 and 20 receptions respectively.

Barrett has seven receivers who have caught at least 20 passes this season. They are led by K.J. Hill with 55 receptions, Parris Campbell (38) and Terry McLaurin (28). And don’t forget Johnnie Dixon who has caught 18 passes for 422 yards and 8 touchdowns.

If Barrett and/or Darnold are standing upright in the pocket most of the night, expect big passing numbers in the Cotton Bowl. If these outstanding quarterbacks have time to find their talented receivers breaking open they will.

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It’s hard to believe a bunch of big guys who probably couldn’t hit a wide open receiver in practice, and may not even be able to catch a football, will be the determining factor in the passing game. But that will probably be the case in the Cotton Bowl. The defensive line play of both Ohio State and USC will determine whether we see an aerial display or not.