Ohio State Prove Themselves an Elite Team, Even In Defeat

Ryan NelsonCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to pass in the third quarter of the game against the USC Trojans at Ohio Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

18-15. That's it, done.

But behind the "L" against the always-elite USC Trojans, the Ohio State Buckeyes proved themselves worthy of a true contest. Yes, it's not fun to see Jim Tressel lose yet again to a PAC-10 school, (unless you're a Trojans' fan.)

The point is, OSU proved that they can compete with the big dogs. While they didn't win, they came close. For a young team, that means a lot.

Think about some major points:

Pryor has taken major strides as a leader and as a quarterback. Terrelle Pryor showed tonight why he can, and will, take control of his team, the game, and the season. This guy is only a sophomore. Yes, he made monumental mistakes against USC, but who doesn't? They're a very, very good football team. You can't not make mistakes against the Trojans because they force them.

Ohio State's D is back as a major threat to any offense. The linebackers read Barkley all night, and while they buckled late, they're young and will learn from this game. The secondary could use work, but that's the excuse for anyone who plays USC.

The Ohio State fan base is stronger than expected. They gave USC hell all night, and caused many, many mistakes. Not the least of which was the safety in the 3rd quarter, giving OSU a 15-10 lead.

Am I by any means saying Ohio State was the better team? No.

Am I saying USC didn't deserve it? No way!

I'm saying that there's more than a Win-Loss to put to this. Ohio State is very much still a strong team. They're young and inexperienced. But they kept USC on their heels for much of this game. Would the result have been different in Los Angeles? Yes, but the game was in Columbus. Tressel knows that his team can still ball. Let's give him that.