Home > Uncategorized > Running Blog: (3) USC Trojans vs. (8) Ohio State Buckeyes

Running Blog: (3) USC Trojans vs. (8) Ohio State Buckeyes

It’s been a tremendous day of college football action. With the drama in Ann Arbor and the upsets in Stillwater and Knoxville, it’s hard to imagine another game that could be better than what we’ve seen today.

But, if there is one, this is it. So, I’ve decided to do a running blog for USC @ Ohio State. Thanks for following along. Enjoy and please leave comments if you have any.

4:57 p.m. Here are some things to keep track of tonight: Last week, Navy threw for 159 yards against the Buckeyes. I know that’s not a big total, but for Navy, that’s like Big 12 numbers. Now, USC comes to town with WR Damian Williams and freshman QB Matt Barkley, who looked very poised last week. Granted, it was only San Jose State.

5:00 p.m. Hahaha! The ESPN camera guy gets hit by the Ohio State band member as he dots the “I”! Hahaa! What a Taylor Maysgreat beginning for OSU!

5:06 p.m. Can Ohio State stop USC’s huge rushing attack? Both teams lost a lot of players on defense from last season, but USC still has Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and others. And they will be running behind one of the best offensive lines in all of college football.

5:08 p.m. I initially went with Ohio State to win this game because I thought they could rattle Barkley at home. But I just think USC is too good in so many areas. USC 34, Ohio State 20.

5:10 p.m. Over/under on the number of players that Taylor Mays puts into an unconscious state tonight: 1.5 We don’t want a repeat of this. Or maybe we do.

5:12 p.m. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go!

5:13 p.m. Nice start for OSU. Pryor delivers a great strike. But the kick return may have been more important. OSU must shorten the field if they want a chance to win.

5:14 p.m. And just as Pryor makes a good throw, his next pass hits Chris Galippo right in the stomach and he returns it to the Buckeyes’ 3-yard line.

5:16 p.m. This is not a touchdown. But what does it matter; if USC runs it again, they will get in for 6.

5:19 p.m. Oh, excuse me! I am dead wrong. Stafon Johnson tries to right run and he gets stuffed!!

USC going for it on fourth down at the 2 … Johnson gets another handoff, and goes straight up the middle and falls across the goal line! Touchdown!

I like that choice by Pete Carroll to go for it. In hostile territory, why not go for it? Try to gain that early advantage and demoralize your opponent some. The worst that could happen is that you don’t convert on fourth down and you leave OSU’s offense to start at its own one.

5:21 p.m. Let’s see how Pryor responds. He needs to make sure that he doesn’t feel like he has to do it all by himself … even though he probably will try.

5:23 p.m. There ya go. Pryor gives it to Herron for 8. The run ends as Herron gets popped by Mr. Mays.

5:27 p.m. It’s a little too early to say, but maybe we have a game this year! Pryor finds Sanzenbacher running right in the seam behind the linebackers all the way down to the 2! Two plays later, Herron pounds it into the end zone.

5:28 p.m. Play is under review to see if Herron crossed the plane of the goal line. I think Herron is down a little short of the goal line, but it may not be enough to overturn.

5:31 p.m. The touchdown stands! 7-7 with 8:20 to play.

5:35 p.m. Three-and-out series for USC. Much-needed series for OSU’s defense.

5:36 p.m. We know that USC is going to put points up on the board. But I am not as certain as Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ offense has to be about ball control and short, concise passes. That big-gaining pass on the last drive was just a simple slant over the middle and then about 40 yards after the catch. That has to be the base of OSU’s offense. Clock, clock, clock.

5:40 p.m. OK, so the Buckeyes are going to need to run, but the option is not going to be there. USC’s defenders are too fast and disciplined.

5:41 p.m. Yes, this game doesn’t have a lot to do with the massacre that happened last year in the Coliseum, but Ohio State and college football fans remember what happened and that’s definitely in the back of their mind tonight.

5:45 p.m. Joe McKnight cuts and runs like Reggie Bush. He has been compared to Reggie Bush. But he’s not Reggie Bush and he’ll probably have an NFL career that is lesser than Reggie Bush (read: not good).

5:47 p.m. Taylor Mays is getting closer … waiting for the perfect time to strike his prey.

5:49 p.m. And just as I say that, Mays gets hit in the lower leg by a falling teammate. But he’s fine. He’s not human, so he didn’t feel it. By the way, pretty moves by Pryor on that QB counter.

5:52 p.m. OK, maybe I’m wrong. Mays is down. You know this isn’t good for a guy like that this to hit the turf in pain. No. 36 Josh Pinkard, who fell into Mays, just had his scholarship revoked.

5:55 p.m. USC uses yet another timeout after a 34-yard connection from Pryor to DeVar Posey, right over the hand of USC linebacker Malcolm Smith. Pryor is dominating this short drive.

5:56 p.m. Third and goal at the 1, Herron gets stuffed for a second time in a row. I would go for it. Play action and find a tight end. It always works in the back of the end zone.


5:58 p.m. This will be fourth and goal on the 2. I say roll Pryor out, have him threaten to run, bring the linebackers up and find a tight end open in the back.

5:59 p.m. While we are on a break … what happened to Notre Dame at the end of that game today? The WRs dropped some passes, OK. But with 2:20 left and up by 3, why don’t they try to run the ball and take some more time off of the clock?? No, they throw two incomplete passes instead and then Tate Forcier carved up a conservative ND defense. Game over.

6:01 p.m. Jim Tressel changes his mind and takes a short field goal. 10-7, OSU.

6:02 p.m. I guess I understand that decision because it’s easy to just take the lead, but I would have gone for it. Of course, I’m just a guy sitting on a couch.

6:03 p.m. Matt Barkley is 1-of-4 passing for 2 yards. Solid.


6:06 p.m. For as much as USC’s offense is getting shut down, it’s only a three-point game and the defense is currently off the field. They have to still feel positive in that aspect.

6:08 p.m. Stafon Johnson carries the ball three times to get another USC first down. Bill Plaschke wrote a great piece on him in Friday’s LA Times.

6:10 p.m. Another mistake by Barkley. He rolls out left on the bootleg and tries to find Anthony McCoy coming left across the field. Instead, Adam Homan stepped in front for the interception.

6:12 p.m. Taylor Mays is back. He reportedly has a right knee sprain. Some guys sit out weeks with a knee sprain. He just needs 20 minutes to recharge.

6:13 p.m. OSU can’t take advantage of the turnover with a couple of bad throws from Pryor. USC will get the ball back at its own 11 after the punt.

6:14 p.m. Sam Bradford, who?

6:17 p.m. Barkley makes a throw for a first down to David Ausberry, but it’s behind him. It was a much better catch than throw. The true freshman has just been off tonight.

6:18 p.m. All of USC’s rushes are to the left. I know they have a great line, but after that last play for a loss of 3, USC has run for 31 yards on 15 carries.

6:21 p.m. This is a catch by Williams. His hands are definitely underneath the ball.

6:22 p.m. End around by USC for six yards. I like the play call, but again, it went around the left end.

6:25 p.m. USC takes its final timeout with 3:20 to play in the half before a big third-and-one play at OSU’s 31. What should they run here? Again, I love the play action in these short distances, but something tells me that they will end up running to the left with Stafon Johnson.

6:27 p.m. Johnson gets the handoff, starts left and cuts back toward the middle. He is brought down right at that computer-generated yellow line that marks the first down yardage. The chain gang comes out and shows that Johnson got the first down by the nose of the ball.

6:30 p.m. The referees conference for an hour about that throw to Damian Williams in the end zone and rule he was out of bounds. Correct call, but at least it was probably the best throw by Barkley all night.

6:32 p.m. Well, at least we know the range of USC kicker Jordon Congdon. 43 yards and in? OK. 44 yards away? Ball meets crossbar. The kicking game is one of the Trojans’ weaknesses this year. They are all new.

6:34 p.m. USC put together a nice five-and-a-half-minute, 59-yard drive, but comes away with no points. OSU’s defense has to be feeling pretty good about itself with a minute to play in the first half.

6:37 p.m. Tressel decides not to run the clock out. He tries to get some more points, but it backfires with a couple of overthrown passes. Now USC has the ball back at its own 20 with 48 seconds to play. USC doesn’t have a timeout.

6:38 p.m. And now you see what all those runs to the left have done. USC set up the OSU defense. Johnson started left, then cut back behind center to the right and gained 29. Maybe they should do that some more, hmmmmmmmm?

6:40 p.m. Now that Barkley is hurrying up, he is putting some balls on the money.

6:41 p.m. Barkley hits McCoy down the left side for 17 yards. These last three plays have shown why Barkley was the N0. 1 prospect out of high school.

With 8 seconds left, Barkley tries the fade route left to Ausburry, but it’s just too far. Good call. With 4 seconds left, USC ties it up and ends the half with a field goal.


6:43 p.m. Tressel says that he wanted to be aggressive in that final possession of the half and they just didn’t complete some passes. That’s understandable, but it’s the nature of the result: If those passes are complete, we are talking about what gutsy calls Tressel made. Maybe he is up 13-7 or 17-7 right now. Instead, they fall incomplete and we talk about how questionable that play-calling way and how it cost his team three points at the end of the half.

6:46 p.m. But give Barkley credit. He was 3 of 5 for 41 yards on that final drive, all three completions coming in a row. He looked very good. The OSU defense wasn’t that bad; Barkley just put the ball where only his receivers could literally go up and get them.

6:49 p.m. Barkley has completed 9-of-18 passes for 108 yards and has thrown one interception. Pryor has completed 5 of 11 for 123 yards and a pick. USC has done a nice job of containing Pryor — four carries, three yards.

6:51 p.m. USC couldn’t find much room to run until Johnson broke off that 29-yard gain to the right. It’ll be interesting to see the direction of the Trojans’ run in the second half. Overall, USC has run for 77 yards on 21 carries.

6:53 p.m. I need halftime to hurry along because there is nothing to watch right now. Kansas is crushing (and shutting out) UTEP. Georgia has pulled away from South Carolina. Air Force vs. Minnesota? Um, no.

6:57 p.m. I would like to see how the hell Missouri is tied at 20 with Bowling Green at home with 9 minutes left in the game, but alas, I don’t have that channel.

6:58 p.m. I also don’t have ESPNU, so I can’t see LSU fend off Vanderbilt. It’s 16-9, Tigers, with nine minutes left in the fourth. Dammit!

7:06 p.m. First play of the half is a Barkley throw out left to Ausberry, but it’s being moved back due to holding. Regardless, I’m sure everyone knows that Barkley has to have a bigger impact in this half for USC to win.

7:08 p.m. After a sack, USC is content to punt it away. Buckeyes decline a USC holding penalty.

7:11 p.m. Pryor has his most successful (and probably most well-developed) run of the night, but ends up a yard short on third and 8.

7:12 p.m. OSU punts and will force USC to start deep in its own territory.

7:13 p.m. My alma mater, UCF, lost again tonight. They covered the 14 1/2 point spread against Southern Miss as they lost just 26-19, but that’s not the point. Their offense was pretty pathetic again and head coach George O’Leary just continues to screw with the head of sophomore quarterback Rob Calabrese. My next blog will probably be about that f’d up situation.

7:15 p.m. Ohio State finally gets some good pressure on Barkley and it’s third and long for USC at its own 11.

7:17 p.m. Turning point??? USC gets set to punt out of its own end zone, but the snap goes over the head of the punter and through the end zone for a safety.

12-10, OSU with 9:03 remaining and they should be getting some good field position coming up.

7:21 p.m. Ohio State returns the kick to USC’s 43. What will USC’s defense do to hold the fort?

7:22 p.m. OSU picks up the blitz, Pryor hangs in the pocket in the play action and hits Brandon Saine down the left hash for 20 yards!

7:23 p.m. Wow, on the next play, Saine almost captures the play of the day with a one-handed catch falling away, but he is out of bounds. USC just looks a little stunned right now.

7:24 p.m. As much as what’s being said about USC’s offensive line, the OSU O-line is keeping USC at bay very well.

7:25 p.m. And yet, no matter how talented he is, Pryor is still young. And on that awkward pitch back, he shows it. Second and goal at the 19.

7:27 p.m. Pryor does a great job of staying active under USC’s pressure (which, again, wasn’t much because of Ohio State’s offensive line), but throws it a bit low for his receiver in the end zone. The Buckeyes settle for chip shot field goal. 15-10, OSU, with 4:49 left in the third.

7:31 p.m. McKnight shows his explosiveness, big time. Off a smoke screen, he spins off a tackler and picks up 24 yards for a first down.

And McKnight is hurt after the play. He is currently down on the field. See, he is A LOT like Reggie Bush.

7:35 p.m. USC is a half-yard short of a first down at midfield. And they will go for it!

7:36 p.m. And in an obvious call, Barkley churns ahead for a yard and the first down on the QB sneak. USC is finally in Buckeye territory.

7:38 p.m. Matt Barkley is lucky. He is up after his last incomplete pass, flexing his wrist. The way he landed looked a lot like the way that Sam Bradford hit the turf last week against BYU. But Barkley was back under center a few seconds later.

Timeout, USC. The Trojans’ first.

7:39 p.m. Barkley hands off on an end around on the first play after the injury. Backup Aaron Corp is warming up on the USC sideline.

7:42 p.m. Another short run and USC punts again. This one goes into the end zone. This will be an interesting possession for USC’s defense, but also for Barkley to see how he tries to get healthy before he has to take the field again and how, if at all, this right hand injury will affect him.


7:45 p.m. Pryor and Herron with some nice runs for a first down.

7:47 p.m. A mindlessly stupid delay of game penalty on OSU. Pryor has to keep his head straight. On second and 15, he makes a horrible pass.

7:49 p.m. But Pryor’s athleticism can cover a lot of mistakes. He runs a designed QB draw on 3rd and 15 and picks up 16 yards, dragging a couple of defenders for the last few yards.

7:50 p.m. My update frequency may start to lag as I am trying to eat dinner while doing this. Grilled chicken and sausage with peppers!

7:52 p.m. Apparently I gave up on that South Carolina/Georgia game too soon. It’s 41-37 Georgia, but there 2 minutes left and South Carolina is driving to the Bulldogs’ 26-yard line.

7:55 p.m. Pryor throws and ill-advised ball to a covered WR and it falls incomplete. Buckeyes punt and the Trojans take over at their own 13 with 11:13 to play.

Now … how is Matt Barkley’s wrist???

7:57 p.m. After a short run, Barkley stares down a receiver and throws it to high for him and then has to throw a potential screen into the dirt. That was quick. Time for another punt and this should bring good field position for OSU.

7:59 p.m. OSU will set up shop at USC’s 46.

8:01 p.m. South Carolina made it down to Georgia’s 5-yard line, but on fourth and four, an incomplete pass gives Georgia the victory (barely).

8:03 p.m. The Buckeyes are just running it right at USC and they seem to pick up 3 or 4 yards with every carry.

8:05 p.m. But OSU goes back to the air and it backfires again. An incompletion is followed by a very rare sack of Terrelle Pryor and that pushes OSU out of field goal range. The Buckeyes will punt.

8:07 p.m. The Trojans start yet another drive inside their own 15. This one is at the 13. They have gained 28 yards this half!

8:09 p.m. On first down, Devon Torrence beats Joe McKnight around the right end and sacks Barkley and now false start has them back at the 5.

8:11 p.m. First, McKnight gets a lot of the 19 yards back with a 10-yard run and then Barkley finds him open over the middle and on the run up to the 37.

The next play finds McCoy down the left hash and all of a sudden, the Trojans have gone from dead on their feet to very much in this game! First and 10 at OSU’s 37.

8:14 p.m. Back to third and long again — third and nine: Barkley out of the shotgun hits Williams over the middle. He runs left across the field, but I don’t think he knew exactly where the marker was. He ends up about a half-yard short.

8:16 p.m. And again, Barkley follows his offensive line on a QB sneak for a couple of yards and a first down. 3:10 left.

8:18 p.m. McKnight is really showing up on this drive. First down, he takes it off left tackle for four. Second down, he gains 7. First and 10, USC on OSU’s 15. 1:46 left.

8:20 p.m. Joe McKnight running with power! He gains 9 on second and 10, bullying his way through defenders for the last 4-5 yards. Matt Barkley will get a lot of cred if USC scores here, but Joe McKnight is literally carrying this game in his hands and answering the call.

Timeout, OSU.

8:22 p.m. Barkley with another QB sneak picks up the first down. And you can see that great USC O-line just wearing down Ohio State on this drive. First and goal at the 3. 1:11 left.

Timeout, OSU. That is the Buckeyes’ last!

8:23 p.m. Stafon Johnson waltzes up to the right and into the end zone for a touchdown!! USC goes for two and on a quick screen left to McKnight, they pick it up.

USC 18, OSU 15 with just 1:05 left and Ohio State has no timeouts left.

14 plays, 81 yards, 6:04 off the clock. Ohio State back-breaker?

8:25 p.m. Mr. Pryor, your response?

8:25 p.m. USC doesn’t kick it deep. They kind of just pop it up into the air and so the Buckeyes start on the 36.

8:26 p.m. USC brings a huge blitz on first down. Pryor scrambles to his right and throws it away, but they call him for intentional grounding!

Pryor picks up 5 yards back on a run, but the clock is still running!!

8:27 p.m. The next play is another short pass, which would have kept the clock running, if the Buckeyes weren’t called for illegal formation. USC will call timeout on fourth and 10. There are 28 seconds left and the Buckeyes are at their own 36.

8:28 p.m. That intentional grounding call has really flustered Pryor. On those next two plays, Pryor looked like he has no idea what he was doing.

8:31 p.m. On fourth and 10, Pryor heaves up a prayer into triple coverage, and it falls harmlessly incomplete.

8:32 p.m. Pryor was put in a tough position, but on the final drive for each team, you could see A BIG DIFFERENCE  in the quarterbacks.

8:34 p.m. Mark Barkley said he “jacked up” his shoulder and that it hurts, but he fought threw it.

8:35 p.m. Well, what a game. Whew! I’m glad, given the history of this matchup that this lived up to the hype finally. Matt Barkley will be analyzed for his poise and leadership, and Terrelle Pryor will be talked about for his decision-making, but this game came down to two things: Joe McKnight and the domination of USC’s offensive line against Ohio State.

8:38 p.m. Maybe this gives USC some added confidence as it heads into Pac-10 play. I still think the Trojans will lose a game (probably against Cal on Oct. 3), but for now, they stay alive in the battle to see who will be demolished by the Florida Gators in the BCS National Championship game early next year.

Fight on!

8:40 p.m. That’s it for me tonight. Thanks so much for checking out the site tonight. It’s been an absolutely unbelievable day of college football. This is why we love sports, for days like Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009.

And tomorrow, it gets even better. Best of luck to your fantasy teams and good night!

  1. September 13, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Taylor Mays man-fucked Pryor on that tackle.

    It was awesome.

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