The Buckeyes will be playing in their 48th bowl game and for the first time in the Cotton Bowl since Jan. 1, 1987, a 28-12 victory over Texas A&M. Ohio State and USC also have a good deal of bowl history: the Buckeyes and Trojans have played seven times previously, all in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. USC has won four of those seven games. The last time the two teams met was in 2009, an 18-15 win for the Trojans at Ohio Stadium.
“We’re excited and I just really want to do right by our guys because our guys have been fantastic,” said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. “There’s been very little issues. Every day we had some tough injuries that we fought through. And I want to do right by these players.”
Ohio State is 22-25 all-time in bowl games and has won three of its last four contests. Meyer is 10-3 in his career in bowl games, including a 3-2 mark at Ohio State. This will mark the fourth consecutive year the Buckeyes will be playing in a New Year’s 6 game, posting previous wins in the Sugar Bowl, CFP National Championship Game and Fiesta Bowl.
At 11-2 overall, the Buckeyes boast wins over No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 9 Penn State and No. 16 Michigan State. Ohio State is the only team nationally to rank in the top 10 in both total offense (523.6 yards/game) and total defense (292.3 yards/game). They’re also the only team to average at least 250 yards per game both passing and rushing.
Like Ohio State, USC also finished 11-2 overall and has won five consecutive games, including a 31-28 victory against Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game last Friday. The Trojans are No. 15 nationally in total offense (489.5 yards/game) and No. 24 in scoring offense (34.5 points/game).