Instant Analysis: USC Takes Ohio State's Heart with 18-15 Victory

Chip MinnichCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Running back Joe McKnight #4 of  the USC Trojans carries the ball against the San Jose State Spartans on September 5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. USC won 56-3.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Hats off to USC, Pete Carroll, and the entire fan community on a well-fought and well-earned victory in Ohio Stadium.  I was not there in attendance, but for people like Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musberger to continually comment on the volume from the crowd makes me feel somewhat validated that the crowd was definitely a factor in this one.

Quick comments

Matt Barkley - You did not play especially well statistically.  But you played well when it counted.  I have a feeling we will see more and more of these fourth-quarter comebacks as your career progresses.

Joe McKnight - Without your contributions, USC does not win this game.  Stafon Johnson may have scored the winning touchdown, but it was Joe McKnight's clutch plays on the final drive that enabled USC to win this one.

Terrelle Pryor - You had some moments, but Matt Barkley had more when they counted.  I have no doubt you would love to have that interception back from Chris Galippo, but the same could be said for Matt Barkley's interception to Ross Homan. 

Jim Tressel - You will be under fire from critics, despite coming within a minute of victory.  Some of your play calls were smart and aggressive, while some, especially at the end of the first half, were perplexing. 

The Ohio Stadium Crowd - Outstanding effort.  As Kirk Herbstreit stated during the telecast, at times it seemed as though the crowd was trying to will Ohio State to the victory.

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Did Ohio State gain or earn a measure of respect from people even in defeat?  Difficult to say.  I did predict USC to win this game 17-13, but whether Ohio State is still the whipping boy for critics across the country remains to be seen. 

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